The documentary The Invisible War is not exactly what you would call easy viewing. Sitting down with my friend on a lazy hungover day, popcorn and daily milk ready- well, we knew we weren’t in for a fun-filled ride exactly. But, I don’t think we quite prepared ourselves for the raw shock of what we were about to see. Firstly, I’d urge everyone to see this if they have half the chance. Screen it, share it, even bloody stream it from the internet… it needs to be seen to be believed.
The Invisible War is the film about how in the US Military today, a woman serving is more likely to be raped by a fellow service member than to be killed in the line of fire. This is the army for the supposed leaders of the free world. I have no other words apart from what. the. actual. fuck.
And here are some more hard facts just to emphasize how bad it really all is, despite the “Zero Tolerance Policy” claimed by the Department of Defense-
- Since 2006, more than 95,000 service members have been sexually assaulted in the U.S. military
- More than 86% of service members do not report their assault
- Less than five percent of all sexual assaults are put forward for prosecution, and less than a third of those cases result in imprisonment
Yet, despite all the numbers and figures what really resonated with me from the film was the stories of the victims. One poor lady was assaulted so bad that her jaw broke. She can’t even go outside and play with her daughter if it’s too cold in case it freezes. One woman thought that hanging herself from a flag point would finally prove a point and make her voice be heard. They all went in to the army which such hope for the future, they all had their lives totally ripped apart.
We became so angry watching this that we were screaming at the screen, enraged. The documentary also included interviews with high-ranking military officials and members of Congress . One of these spoke about the publicity plans for “rape prevention.” This followed a classic victim-blaming approach, urging the women to never be walking alone without a “buddy.” No one single word about how you know, it would be a good idea to teach humanity that raping people and breaking their sense of selves down to a pulp is, you know, a despicably awful unthinkable thing to do? No?
And it isn’t just women , one percent of men in the military— nearly 20,000 men —were reportedly sexually assaulted in 2009.
And while rape victims in the civilian world can turn to an impartial police force and judicial system for help , rape victims in the military must turn to their commanders. Many rape victims find themselves forced to choose between their careers and justice. Just eight percent of military sexual assault cases are prosecuted. Without prosecutions, it will just keep happening again and again and again.
Please, please take the time out to watch this film. It may not be pretty, but it is real and it is happening. Have the popcorn, chocolate and tissues ready and then take action by signing this petition:
Raise awareness, sign and share. This has gone on far too long.