The Invisible War
An investigative documentary about the epidemic of rape of soldiers within the US military.
Release Year: 2012
Rating: 6.5/10 (185 voted)
Critic's Score: 77/100
Stars: Helen Benedict, Anu Bhagwati, Susan Burke
An investigative and powerfully emotional documentary about the epidemic of rape of soldiers within the US military, the institutions that perpetuate and cover up its existence, and its profound personal and social consequences.
Mary Kay Hertog
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Release Date: 3 Jan 2012 User Review
Do You Support Your Troops? Really? Really???
"The Invisible War" is Oscar-nominated documentarian Kirby Dick's
latest exploration of something terribly wrong with a venerable
institution. Previous targets of Dick's camera have been the Catholic
Church and its handling of child abuse cases ("Twist of Faith,")
closeted politicians undermining advances in gay rights ("Outrage,")
and Hollywood's incomprehensible ratings system ("This Film is Not Yet
Rated.") This time he takes on the U.S. Military and its abominable
record in the handling of sexual assaults on and by active duty service
The film consists of interviews of victims of sexual assault with cases
going back to the 1960's up to the present day. The victims (both male
and female) relate the horror inflicted upon them not just by their
perpetrators, but by a military justice system that fails them. Many of
the victims state that the pain the went through with the assault was
nothing compared to the hell that they went through in their attempts
to seek justice, proper medical and psychological care for their
trauma, and to return to some sort of normalcy in their lives.
Filled with damning statistics (20% of all female military personnel
have dealt with sexual assault does that not bother you?) and
interviews with bureaucrats (both military and political,) it's the
personal stories of those who tried to serve their country that get to
you. These men and women entered to honorably serve and were driven out
by a system that believes it's more important to protect one's own
(usually meaning an officer) rather than support their troops.
The film is a call to action to make one simple change to the current
military system. The decision whether to prosecute a case is made by
the site commander. Often, this commander knows or has a relationship
with the accused. Does this not seem like a conflict of interest? The
film highlights a group that is seeking to change that and encourages
the viewer to express their outrage to those who might be able to
change things. They want you to do more than slap an "I Support Our
Troops" bumper sticker on your car. Will you really support your
troops? Really? The facts, figures, and stories in "The Invisible War"
should turn the stomach of every citizen of our nation, regardless of
political affiliation. This is not a political issue. This is a
criminal justice issue. This is a human rights issue.
This is activist filmmaking at its best.