18 feb. 2013

My Review: The Invisible War (9/10)

¨There is a right way, a wrong way, and the Army way.¨

Kirby Dick (This Film Is Not Yet Rated and Twist of Faith) directs yet another powerful and instrumental documentary that we hope will serve to change the policies towards the way the military is dealing with its sexual harassment and rape cases. This is something that requires immediate change and Dick does a terrific job of channeling that emotional anger through his interviews. He interviews several male and female ex military members who share their testimony of how they were sexually harassed and in many cases raped during their service. There are some very emotional and horrifying testimonies of what these people had to go through. They didn’t get the battle scars from fighting abroad and protecting their country, they got them from within, from one of their own, and from the very people they considered their brothers and sisters. What is even worse wasn’t that these people were simply raped, but that they were completely ignored by the officials who were in charge of overseeing their cases. The repercussions over rape reports are even worse than the act itself. The testimonies aren’t just emotional; they are completely infuriating because these people still have to undergo through the pain and injuries suffered during that time without receiving any help from the people in charge. It´s like they want to sweep everything under the rug, ignore their complaints, and protect the sexual predators that will (and probably have already) strike again. The testimonies aren’t all recent, we have some that took place several decades ago which proves that no one is really dealing with the situation or taking them seriously. This documentary left me sad, angry, and horrified at the way these people are being treated. This is one of those documentaries that you hope produce immediate change and hopefully the government will begin taking action.    

The documentary begins with footage of some cheesy military propaganda searching for new recruits. We then begin to hear several testimonies from ex military members ranging from the Army, to the Navy, to the Coast Guard, to the Marine Corps. They each share how excited they were to enter the military and serve their country, but what began with such high idealism ended up being a nightmare. Their hard work and high hopes were crashed when they were sexually assaulted and raped by other officers and in some cases officials. These people found it difficult to file a report because the people in charge of prosecuting them were usually friends of the assailant. No action was taken to defend the victims, on the other hand they were encouraged to cover it up and forget anything ever happened. They tried to blame them instead of finding fault in the predator. One of the most powerful testimonies comes from Kori and her husband Rob McDonald whose life we follow over a course of several months. Kori shares her testimony of how she was abused and raped. She was also hit in the face so hard that her jaw was broken. She is denied any military assistance and her sex offender continues to work in the military as if nothing ever happened. Kirby then shares some astonishing statistics by claiming that over 20% of female veterans were sexually assaulted while serving. This represents about half a million female veterans. How is this possible? The answer is pretty simple considering these sex offenders get away with their crime easily working in enclosed and controlled areas. The number of veterans who suffer PTSD due to sexual abuse is even higher than those who suffer that disorder from being in combat. All this information was really eye-opening and astonishing.

This documentary will leave you infuriated at the way these veterans are being treated simply because they have decided to share their experience and are trying to make their voice heard so some change comes in the way the military handles these cases and prosecutions. There are several emotional testimonies and in most cases these people have not found justice as no assistance has been given to them. There seems to be this wall of silence which only protects the guilty. We see several claims of military officials over the years claiming that they will take action and have zero tolerance, but nothing changes and the sexual harassment cases continue to pile up and investigations close. There is just too much compliance and covering up going on. The victims can’t be punished anymore. There seems to be some abuse of power going on from the very people who are supposed to serve and protect. For those interested in more information about this documentary you can visit their website Notinvisible.com. I hope this documentary serves to open our eyes and force a change in the way prosecutions are being handled. This is a documentary we all need to see and share with others, especially if you or a loved one is thinking of joining the military.


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