REVIEW: The Invisible War


The Invisible War is a documentary about the epidemic of rape and sexual assault in the US Military. It was the worthy winner of the Sundance Documentary award in 2012 and was nominated for an Oscar this year. This is a documentary that you need to see. It’s vital that we become more aware of the appalling acts of violence and assault that both men and women alike are experiencing not only in the military but around the world. This eye-opening film directed by Kirby Dick, who also directed films such as ‘This Film is Not Yet Rated’, is a crucial message and slap in the face about the reality of the situation and the sickening lack of action that is being taken to stop it.

The documentary includes numerous personal stories from victims and statistics from the Governments’ Department of Defence reports. The figures are outrageous and highlight the severity and scale of this tragedy that exists right under our noses. 20% of woman in the military have been sexually assaulted and that’s without taking into account any unreported cases which estimates suggest would add thousands to this figure. Military women are more likely to be raped by a fellow soldier than killed by enemy fire. Why is nothing being done? The interviews with survivors, both men and women, of sexual attack in the military are particularly powerful. Kori Cioca’s story of how she was attacked, raped and mentally and physically affected for the rest of her life is just one example of what devastating effects an attack like these can have on someone’s life.

This film gives us an insight into how extreme and unacceptable rape culture is in our society. Through the microcosm of rape in the US military – although it’s hard to define using any word containing ‘micro’ as this issue is in no way small – the ideology of rape and sexual assault being expected and accepted, telling the victims that it is their fault and the attackers that it is in their nature is clearly presented as a devastating reality in our society. The film informs us of the appalling depiction of rape culture even throughout the juridical system. Almost laughable is the anti-rape campaign posters used in the military, one of which is entitled: ‘Don’t risk it — wait until she sobers up’. In December 2011 the Courts dismissed survivor’s lawsuits ruling that ‘rape is an occupational hazard of working in the military’. How can this ever be justified? Another hearing suggested that the victim was ‘dressed provocatively’ despite the fact she was in her official uniform. Regardless of this absurd statement, why is the victim’s clothing even being taken into account? How we dress does not mean yes.

This film is deeply shocking and emotional. It will leave you screaming at the screen and the corrupt and unjust system that is allowing such disgusting acts to be overlooked. When does this ever end?

Watch the trailer below:

Visit and take action.

By Eloise

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