The Invisible War documentary film’s riveting account of rape in the ranks should compel Congress to rip every door off its hinges inside the Pentagon. Sadly, rape with impunity is ubiquitous in our military and it’s a national shame
A groundbreaking and award winning documentary film, “The Invisible War” about rape in the military ranks opened nationwide in theaters yesterday. If you care about service members and if you believe that the military is one of our country’s greatest institutions, think again and go see this film.
Just as we pivot from the horrors of the Penn State sexual abuse scandal and the years of denial by the Roman Catholic Church which has witnessed its first conviction of a monsignor who was found guilty for the cover-up of sexual abuse of children by pedophile priests under his supervision, we are yet again confronted with rampant and cruel sexual abuse, but now in the most respected institution in the country–our military.
This documentary, directed by Kirby Dick (also directed “Outrage”) and produced by Amy Ziering, is so heartbreaking that you will catch your breath while watching a damning narrative that convincingly portrays unbelievable crimes and institutional bias directed toward women and men survivors of military sexual trauma. As you sit through “The Invisible War” you begin to understand that rape and sexual violence committed against service women and men is ubiquitous and goes unpunished for the most part. Indeed, rapists are allowed to hunt their victims and rape again and again with impunity.
The film’s release and its damning interview of Air Force Major General Mary Kay Hertog resulted in her being removed from her position as director of the Pentagon’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office (SAPRO) last week. She had held the position for less than a year.
“The Invisible War” will shake your confidence in the moral authority of our military and political leadership. But it will also inspire you by the survivors who tell their stories with courage and authenticity. This film also includes important interviews of Congresswoman Jackie Speier, who has taken on this issue as her raison d’etre, Susan Burke, the litigator who has filed the first class-action law suits against the military and Anu Bhagwati, the executive director of Service Women’s Action Network, an advocacy group who has been successful in lobbying Congress on the issue of military sexual trauma.
Image courtesy of The Invisible War
Tanya L. Domi is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of International and Public Affairs at Columbia University who teaches human rights in East Central Europe and former Yugoslavia. She is a Harriman Institute affiliated faculty member. Prior to teaching at Columbia, Domi was a nationally recognized LGBT civil rights activist who worked for the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force during the campaign to lift the military ban in the early 1990s. Domi has also worked internationally in a dozen countries on issues related to democratic transitional development, including political and media development, human rights, gender issues and media freedom. She is chair of the board of directors for GetEQUAL. She is currently writing a book about the emerging LGBT human rights movement in the Western Balkans.
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