A new documentary by Kirby Dick, entitled The Invisible War, discusses sexaul assault in the military.
The 90-minute film begins with vintage military recruitment ads from as early as the 1940s that are aimed at women. They then are followed by clips of military women talking about what made them choose their career.
The interviews then take a quick turn when each woman is revealed to be a survivor of rape at the hands of another military member. All of the women discuss that while they love the military, they would not recommend their choice as a career to other women until changes are made to prevent sexual abuse.
The Department of Defense estimated in 2010 that as many as 19,000 women were raped in the military, that more than twenty percent of women veterans reported being raped by a fellow coworker, and that around one in 100 men test positive for “military sexual trauma.”
All of the survivors in the film, which includes one man, discusses their feelings of betrayal and how traumatizing it was to have their claims rejected by the military. They all also talk about their frustrations over inadequate health care, therapy, and support.
The main subject of the film is Coast Guard recruit Kori Cioca, who is the lead plaintiff in a lawsuit again former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. Cioca’s rapist dislocated her jaw, and Veterans Affairs has yet to provide medical coverage that will allow her to fix it. While she waits, Cioca is in pain every day, can only eat soft foods, and has to avoid going outside if the weather is too cold, as her jaw locks up. Cioca claims that military doctors only provided her with drugs, instead of approving surgery to repair her jaw.
Just because you may not be a survivor or have a loved one who is a survivor, you can still advocate for change. If you’d like to do so, you can sign this petition or contact your Congressional Representative and ask him or her to co-sponsor the Support the Sexual Assault Training Oversight and Prevention (STOP) Act.