Sexual Assault In The U.S. Military
is the focus of a serious contender for Best Documentary Feature at this year's Academy Awards. The Invisible War
is a groundbreaking investigative doc that sheds light on the under-reported epidemic of sexual abuse against female members of the military
, as well as the lack of punitive action in these crimes: of the 8 percent of sexual assault cases that are prosecuted in the military, only 2 percent result in convictions. A female soldier in a combat zone is more likely to be raped by a fellow soldier than killed by enemy fire.
By official estimates
from The Department of Defense, 19,000 violent sexual crimes occurred in the military in 2011 alone
. Sexual assault is grossly under-reported
in the military. In 2011, 3,191 assaults were reported when its likely that somewhere between 19,000 and 22,000 assaults occurred.
The women in the film speak about the physical and mental abuse they underwent while serving in the military - and about the the lawsuit they joined and the verdict in which their experiences were labeled "occupational hazards".
The film is already garnering much attention, especially as front-running Oscar Nominee - and lawmakers are taking notice.
The Invisible War has played an influential role in helping expose this ongoing epidemic. Shortly after seeing the film early last year, Leon Panetta held a press conference where he announced changes to military policy
. The DoD shifted court martial authority to higher levels last year
Then, the General Jeff Sinclair incident
The former deputy commander of the elite 82nd Airborne Division, a decorated veteran of the Persian Gulf, Iraq and Afghanistan, has been charged with forcible sodomy, wrongful sexual conduct and other violations of military law, the Army said.
-from the NYT Article
The Pentagon doesn't like this so much
, and would much rather this all just go away quietly. Sinclair's wife even dropped a letter to the editor at the Washington Post
As the trial continued last month, with all the details surfacing, Sinclair hired MWW
to come up with his personal website
to perform damage control.
Meanwhile, as the epidemic continues
, victims have begun documenting their experiences via I Am One
. It is estimated that over 500,000 women have been victims of sexual abuse in the U.S. military.
Invisible War director Kirby Dick firmly believes the film can create even greater change:
“This is the film that—if it does get an Academy Award—it will motivate Congress, it will motivate the [Defense Department], it will motivate the military to make even more changes. There will be a direct result from this winning the award and the reduction of rape. That will happen.”
Film Trailer (youtube)