Film: The Invisible War (2012)

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The Invisible War

Director: Kirby Dick
Distributor: New Video Group

From Oscar® and Emmy®-nominated filmmaker Kirby Dick comes The Invisible War, a groundbreaking investigative documentary about one of America’s most shameful and best-kept secrets: the epidemic of rape within the U.S. military. The film paints a startling picture of the extent of the problem—today, a female soldier in combat zones is more likely to be raped by a fellow soldier than killed by enemy fire. Twenty percent of all active-duty female servicewomen are sexually assaulted.

Profoundly moving, the film follows the stories of several idealistic young servicewomen who were raped and then betrayed by their own officers when they courageously came forward to report. Both a rallying cry for the hundreds of thousands of men and women who’ve been assaulted and a hopeful road map for change, The Invisible War is one of those rare films so powerful it has already helped change military policy.


The Invisible War is an engrossing, deeply moving, and disturbing documentary that likely will leave no viewer untouched. The Invisible War, directed by Kirby Dick, shines a light on one of America’s most shocking occurrences—the epidemic of rape and sexual assault in the armed services. And when some victims—men and women—have come forward to report the crimes, the victims often face a second assault: commanding officers who either don’t believe them or who refuse to do anything about the crime. The Invisible War traces the stories of several soldiers who have been subjected to sexual assault or rape, and their stories are just heartbreaking. One feels a sense of little hope, and yet after The Invisible War aired at Sundance in 2012, it won the Audience Award—and press coverage that began a military investigation into the ways each branch of the service handles sexual assaults. One statistic alone is shocking: more than 20 percent of active-duty servicewomen are sexually assaulted. The extras included are moving audio commentaries from the director and from producer Amy Ziering, outtakes from some of the interviews, a riveting Q and A session from Sundance after the film aired, and scenes of posttraumatic stress disorder treatment and a retreat for assault survivors. The Invisible War, though at times difficult to watch, is an important film, and one that anyone with any loved ones in the service—as well as all other Americans—simply must commit to watch. And commit to change the existing reality. —A.T. Hurley

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