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When Veterans are Victims: Declaring War on Sexual Assault in the Military

“For everyone who cares about our military and feels it is our duty to stand up and protect the people that give their lives to protect us, The Invisible War is your call to action,” said Alexandra Marie Daniels on TheWip.net.

According to the Department of Defense, over 20 percent of female veterans have been sexually assaulted while serving. The Invisible War tells their stories, and exposes the callousness with which these crimes have been ignored, dismissed, and covered-up.

Still, The Invisible War is not an anti-military film. Filmmaker Amy Ziering explained “Every woman I talked to said they did not want to participate if it was anti-military and we wanted to honor that.” Ziering and her fellow filmmaker Kirby Dick affirmed “that if the arguments were to be heard, we didn’t want the military to feel it was on the defensive or under attack. That was a conscious effort on our part, which we see has really paid off.”

The film is already having an impact. It won the 2012 Sundance Film Festival Audience Award, and strategic “grasstops” screenings for high-ranking government officials are making waves. One general said “You know, [the film] helped me so much more than a briefing paper… I get it now.”

Amazing what happens when people tell their stories.

Amazing what happens when people really listen.

 

What do you think?

How can We The People make change in this area?

And how can we better support our hurting veterans, no matter what caused their trauma?

 

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3 Responses to When Veterans are Victims: Declaring War on Sexual Assault in the Military

  1. Tim June 21, 2012 at 12:00 pm #

    Here’s Doonesbury’s take on it: http://doonesbury.slate.com/strip/archive/2012/06/06

    One of the military’s chief tenet’s is supposed to be that everyone has everyone else’s backs. It’s horrible to think that we can’t see our daughters enter service without questioning their safety from fellow soldiers, sailors, marines, etc.

    Tim

    • Jenny Rae Armstrong June 21, 2012 at 12:15 pm #

      SO sad! One of the things that struck me about this is that the rates of sexual assault reported in the military are not THAT much higher than the general public, where one in six women experience sexual assault, and women in the military are in the highest-risk age range. But still.

      It’s unfortunate that the “Old Boys Club” mentality doesn’t seem as concerned about protecting members who were hurt as members who committed the crimes in the first place. The victim becomes the “bad guy.” This doesn’t only happen in the military, and it doesn’t only happen to women. Sickening. This mindset needs to be eradicated, wherever it’s found.

  2. Lisa June 21, 2012 at 9:30 pm #

    It is sickening. And as someone in the movie promo said, it happens to men too. Probably the percentage of unreported rape by men is much higher because of the stigma. But both men and women are made twice victim – first in the crime and secondly in the aftermath of how their superiors mishandle the situation.

    When the commanding officers are held to higher standards of accountability in regards to rapes being reported, and when they provide a safer environment for victims to report rape, and when military courts are held responsible for how they sentence soldiers found guilty of rape, then it will begin to change.

    Thankfully, our military is subject to civilian rule and therefore Congress can mandate new procedures if the military won’t enact their own.

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