The Invisible War

I had avoided this documentary because I knew the content would be wrenching (institutionalized coverup of rape in the military), but one of my readers at Amazon.com urged me to bite the bullet. Despite having a BIG problem from lack of closed captions, I slammed my way through (and I'm sure my neighbors could hear my TV in the hall!) and must say this is every bit as wrenching as I feared.

Some of what I have learned:
  • The military promotes the idea of a male warrior being invincible and entitled to the fruits of war. This supports Alpha behavior and to some men, that includes sexual services from underlings.
  • Women are encouraged to join, but after a lengthy trial, one case was dismissed with, "Rape is a hazard of military duty."
  • Rape victims in the military suffer from PTSD in large part because it is a betrayal of the much-touted military "family."
  • During a rape years ago, one victim had the left side of her face shattered and still can't chew solid foods.The VA ordered X-rays of her BACK!
  • One victim was raped by a married man, so SHE was charged with adultery (not the rapist).
  • One assailant became "Airman of the Year" during the investigation of his crime.
  • Many rape victims are read their rights as though THEY have been accused and arrested.
  • The conviction rate in the military is a version of "Catch and Release." Only a fraction of the rapists are held even mildly accountable.
  • One attorney with the CID  who helped rape victims was "released" after eight years of duty and she was denied any military benefits.
  • One victim was told all of the evidence was lost, so her case was dropped. She went to NCIS in Washington D.C. and they actually have the evidence, but her case is still closed.
  • A "sensitivity" poster says, "Hey Buddy. Don't risk it. Ask her again when she's sober (?!)."
Acclaimed filmmaker Kirby Dick ("This Film is Not Yet Rated") has assembled a compelling collection of interviews, news clips, and segments from Congressional hearings. He concludes with "Where are they now?" at the end. I always appreciate that. I can see why it won the "Audience Award' at Sundance.

By the way, after viewing this documentary, the Secretary of Defense made a significant and much-needed change in how the charge of rape is processed in the military. It's a start....
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Please take a look:
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