Review: The Invisible War

The Invisible War (2012)
93 minutes
Not Rated
Directed by Kirby Dick


Grade: B+

The facts don’t lie, but what is so powerful in this documentary are the stories told by the women and men who are the victims. According to the Department of Defense, 22,800 rapes occurred in 2011 in the United States Armed Services. The numbers can be broken down like this: out of the 22,800 rapes, only 3,000 were officially reported and less than 200 of the accused were convicted. These are without a doubt some very disturbing and shocking numbers.

Several stories are told and all are as heart-breaking and cruel as the next. There is much time spent with Kori Cioca who was raped while serving in the Coast Guard. During the attack the assailant broke her jaw and she’s been waiting to receive treatment by the VA hospital system since she was a few months shy to qualify for medical care. But she doesn’t receive it. Cioca, like the rest of the victims, have reason to be angry at everything: their rapist, the Armed Services, the government, etc. It’s incredibly sad to see how the lives of these once patriotic and bright-eyed Americans ruined by the horrible acts of people whom they considered family. As shown, you can’t ever get over that kind of betrayal.

The documentary suggests that the military attracts a certain kind of man, one who is macho and believes in teamwork and an order of rule. So if an officer commits rape, his squadron wouldn’t even think about ratting him out. It’s also troubling how these exact officers had the power to bury these rape reports, until Defense Department Secretary Leon Panetta watched The Invisible War and changed that. But that’s just one minor step to the bigger problem. Here is another stunning fact: Rape is twice as common in the military than in civilian life and as estimated 15 percent of recruits attempted to committed rape before entering service.

There obviously is a broken system here and a change needs to be done as soon as possible. This isn’t an easy documentary to watch, but it’s a necessary one to alarm yourself and everyone you know of this immediate problem. You might think twice of joining the Armed Services if you want to serve your country. I bet you didn’t know that rape is considered an “occupational hazard” of the job, did you?



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