“Ask her when she’s sober.” This is the slogan that can be found on posters and informational videos throughout the United States military. The purpose of the slogan is to curb the wide spread occurrences of rape that is currently running rampant in the military. The infuriating thing is not the silly slogan but the fact that this is military’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office’s best solution. A few posters and a video that is shown once a year, is how the military attempts to protect soldiers, who have given years of service to their country, from being raped by their peers. This is one of the reasons it is hard not to get angry while watching The Invisible War.
Talking to women, and men, from the various facets of the military, director Kirby Dick documents the horrific stories of rape that many of the individuals endure while serving. Not only are the rapists their peers, but also their military superiors. Though rape is fairly common, many are not reported for fear of further reprisal. The ones that are reported end up either being stuck in military red tape or, as is often the case, the victim ends up being the one who is punished in some form. Worst of all, many of the victims are having their medical claims for rape related injuries denied thanks to more red tape.
Dick’s film highlights that the current structure of the military needs to change in regards to the way rape cases are dealt with. Currently all rape claims are being funneled through a hierarchal structure which gives the commanding officers all the power. If the victims decide to bypass their commanding officer, especially if the officer is good friends with the accused, then the victim would have to bring their case to their local Senator. The idea of contacting a Senator to report a rape is simply ridiculous. The Invisible War is a powerfully moving film that will evoke both emotions of sadness and anger. Although the film’s subject matter is far from cheerful, The Invisible War is an important film that is a must-see.