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The Invisible War

By Cliff DuRand

The 2012 documentary film The Invisible War brought to public view the issue of rape in the US military.  This is a too common and long denied problem in the armed forces.  As one reviewer observed, “the fact that this subject has taken so long to achieve full-scale exposure was itself symptomatic of the problem.”  Nominated for an Academy award for best documentary feature, The Invisible War has forced the military and Congress to finally address this painful issue.

The Invisible War
Center for Global Justice
Mon, Mar 25, 2pm
Teatro Santa Ana
La Biblioteca
Reloj 50-A
60 pesos

The Defense Department estimated there were 19,000 sexual assaults in 2010, but only six percent were reported. And there were a mere 244 convictions against perpetrators. Who does a woman report an assault to when the assailant is her commander?  In this we can see how power functions in the absence of accountability, something that new legislation seeks to address.

The Invisible War features interviews with veterans who recount events surrounding their assaults. Their stories show many common themes, such as the lack of recourse to an impartial justice system, reprisals against survivors instead of against perpetrators, the absence of adequate emotional and physical care for survivors, the unhindered advancement of perpetrators’ careers, and the forced expulsion of survivors from service.

Interspersed with these first person-testimonies are interviews with advocates, journalists, mental health professionals, active-duty and retired generals, Department of Defense officials, and members of the military justice system. The film also includes footage, often shot by the veterans themselves, which documents their lives and continuing struggles in the aftermath of their assaults.


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