The Invisible War Documentary

The “invisible war” documentary is an investigation of the troubling disease of rape in the United States military. The documentary dwells on personal experiences of courageous women and men who have refused to be intimated into silence. The power of the documentary comes from statistical numbers including the military’s statistics. According to the military’s statistics, 20% of the women serving in different military units have been sexually assaulted. In addition, 80% of these cases are never reported (The Invisible War, 2012). It is sad to note these sex predators do not only target women. These are cases where men are also sodomised.

The documentary makers have interviewed many women with different stories. Though the stories are different, they are very similar in outline. The soldiers are often abused by their superiors and discouraged to report the matter by the officers higher up the rank. It is intriguing to note that these victims are required to report the crime to the same people who committed it. When married men rape women, the women are charged with adultery while the men go scot-free.

The movie depicts the intimidation culture and assault in the military. Some of the interviewees were raped at gunpoint and others were drugged. The story linking the others in the documentary is that of Kori Cioca. She worked as a Coast Guard veteran and was attacked while serving in Michigan. The assailant assaulted her and left her with a dislocated jaw and post-traumatic stress. She almost committed suicide due to stress. Years later, she is still trying to follow up with the department of defense for treatment (The Invisible War, 2012). An action suit she had joined was dismissed quoting that rape is an occupational hazard in the military career. All the other stories follow the same plot and these women end up being dismissed with no benefit and other s are even charged with adultery.

In my view, I feel the government need to do something about this issue. These women all join the military with dreams of serving their country. Some even gave up their chances of going to college due to the urge to serve and protect their fellow citizens. The treatment they received at the hands of their superiors is a betrayer of the same laws the constitution guarantees. I do not understand why these cases are never fully investigated. These cases are closed in less than two days. How can a rape case be investigated in two days? Does it mean that the constitution does not serve the veterans?

The superiors perpetrate most of these assaults. The same superiors appoint the investigating committee and are involved in the decision-making. The commander for example is the key figure in the whole investigation process. The commander has no legal knowledge to handle legal cases. All these commanders care about is protecting the reputation of their units at the expense of lives. Reporting such a case is considered as a failure on the side of the commander. The commanders thus choose to dismiss such cases to protect their jobs. In some units, rape is tolerated.

The major problem with this issue is that the commanders are left with all the discretion of the case. The commanders setup the investigating people and are responsible for investigating both the assailant and the victim. The commander in this case is the judge, jury and executioner. The final decision lies with the commander. I think this type of a judicial system is unfair. How can such a grave issue be left at the discretion of one person who does not even have legal knowledge. These cases should be investigated and prosecuted by the judicial system as an independent body from the military. The military judicial system should have no discretion in the cases. This will ensure that there is no favors and protectionalism in the units. I n addition, stern action should be taken towards those found guilty. The federal government should set strict laws and policies to govern the military personnel against rape.

Though the government has set up a sexual prevention and response office, this is not going to make any major changes if those responsible are left at the discretion of the commanders (The Invisible War, 2012). The office has been training the officers on sexual assault prevention. Videos and posters educating the veterans about sexual assault have been relayed. However, this will not do much in preventing the vice. Those perpetrating these assaults will not stop just because they watched a video advert educating against rape. These predators study their prey and then strike. The only solution is to prosecute them and keep them behind bars.

I tend to disagree with the Major General Mary Kay Hertog, the director of sexual prevention and response office. She advises the victims that if the commanders do not take action they should report to the department of defense inspector general (The Invisible War, 2012). This has already been proven not to work. The department of defense inspector general argues that there are other priorities to be handled. What the victims really need is a system that allows them to go to the police and report the cases after which they are handled by the judicial system and not the military system. The military worries much about the reputation instead of the life of the service men and women.

It is good to note that the military commanders citing the loss of credible evidence closes some of the cases. How can evidence disappear in the hands of the military? Most of the victims argue that the act of being raped did not hurt more as the way the whole thing was handled. Instead of the assailants being prosecuted, the victims are prosecuted citing adultery and provocation. Instead of ensuring that the victims undergo a counseling session, the commanders prosecute them and then dismiss them from the service without any benefits. Most of these victims have tried suicide from post-trauma stress.

After watching the documentary, secretary of defense Leon Panetta decided to prosecute away some unit commanders. This was a good step towards realizing a zero rape tolerance in the military but more needs to be done to achieve this. The federal government should handle this issue head on. Our women in the service are protecting us and we can only reciprocate by protecting them from their fellow service men. The secretary of defense should spear head the treatment of the victims for post-trauma stress.



Dick K. (2012). The Invisible War. United States



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