The Harsh Truth
Rape is a hard subject to discuss. The problem worsens when a victim cannot seek justice for being violated in the most brutal way.
“The Invisible War,” a new documentary from Oscar nominated director Kirby Dick, sheds light on this problem.
The United States military operates under the “uniform code of military justice,” which is different from civilian law to reinforce discipline. However, “The Invisible War” makes a bold claim, supported by evidence, to suggest that the reinforcement of these disciplines is ignored at times.
Old Dominion University’s Women’s Center hosted the screening of the documentary, followed by a Q&A session with one of the victims featured in the film to kick off Sexual Awareness Month. The statistics in the film were provided by U.S. government studies and featured a small group of female soldiers, ready to tell their harsh stories, and the effort by some of them to join with other victims to sue former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld for violating their Constitutional rights.
The beginning of the film showed all of the women supporting the military. But, it quickly became apparent that their love was only for what the military represented when they first enlisted. Within the first few minutes of the movie, stories of violent rape were recounted with little hesitation.
Male investigators within the military were blamed for not having enough drive to see the cases through. A common belief in the military is a man is set up when being accused of rape. Rape victims often face harsh repercussions for reporting an attack, such as being discharged with little benefits.
Most of the victims featured in the documentary walked away from their attacks with a strong sense of distrust for the rest of the world. As one of the victims, Kori Cioca, said as she packed an army knife in her bag, “You always have protection with Jesus. But sometimes you need a little more.” Cioca had been severely beaten before she was raped, resulting in a broken jaw.
Another victim of the film, Jessica Hinves, was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder and kicked out of the military. “I got in touch with the filmmakers and they sent me on a retreat to talk with me about the documentary,” said Hinves. She said since the release of “The Invisible War,” the military has been trying to get in contact with the victims for “re-evaluation.”
In regards to the lawsuit filed by the victims, the courts dismissed it. But, a petition has been started on the documentary’s website, www.invisiblewarmovie.com, to bring the case back into the spotlight.
By: R Jay Molina