The Invisible War is a 2011 documentary that sheds light on the rampant problem of rape in the United States military. 20 percent of military women and 1 percent of men (about 500,000 troops) have been victims of sexual attacks. Yet fewer than 8% of military sex offenders are prosecuted, and this persistent lack of accountability is fueled by a massive series of cover-ups that keep women second-class citizens in the armed forces. These women face the usual victim blaming that is so pervasive in our culture, but are also perceived as “prepared for anything” and therefore strong enough to fight attackers back, a misperception that leaves many of them professionally disgraced, emotionally ravaged, and seen as liars.

This powerful work premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and really has people talking about the trauma of rape and how to heal from it, how to hold the U.S. Military accountable for these atrocities, and above all else how to reform the rape culture that we live in so this kind of thing doesn’t have to happen at all.

Are you surprised at the frequency of sexual abuse in the military? What’s the solution?

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  • I’m not surprised at all. And I’m not sure what the solution is.

    This documentary is not the first time the issue of rape in the military has been addressed.

    Female members of the armed forces have testified on Congress with little recourse to protect them by the DOD. There have been news reports before the emergence of this documentary and I’m sure there will be report after.

    The first way to a solution is for the military to stop ignoring this issue like it doesn’t exist. Furthermore it is an issue that needs to be made part of the national discourse.

    The First Lady has been a champion of military families, why not she take on this issue. It would give prominence to it and allow for it to not be ignored as much as it is.

    It can’t be solved if we don’t even acknowledge it exists.

    This documentary is a start but it will be a false-start if the conversation it begin is not continued.

  • DivineBrown

    Who’s surprised by this? I learned about this years ago. They go to other countries and rape and leave babies everywhere. The US is a THUG govt. Period.

  • Sandy

    I spent 20 years in the US Air Force and fortunately I was never subjected to any kind of assault however I am a big girl 5′ 8″ so that may have contributed to my safety. Of all the cases of sexual assault I’ve seen court martials over, they ALWAYS involved excessive use of alcohol.

  • I didn’t know it was this bad. I’m not surprised, but I really didn’t know it was this bad. I’ve had relatives join the army, something like this could have happened to them.