Sunday May 5, 2013 AT 10:00 PM ET/PT on CBC News Network
Saturday May 11 at 10 pm ET on CBC News Network
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The Invisible War is a groundbreaking Oscar-nominated 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. The U.S. Department of Defense estimates there were a staggering 22,800 violent sex crimes in the military in 2011. The Invisible War exposes the epidemic, breaking open one of the most under-reported stories of our generation, to the nation and the world.
Focusing on the powerfully emotional stories of rape victims, The Invisible War is a moving indictment of the systemic cover-up of military sex crimes, chronicling the women’s struggles to rebuild their lives and fight for justice. It also features hard-hitting interviews with high-ranking military officials and members of Congress that reveal the perfect storm of conditions that exist for rape in the military, its long-hidden history, and what can be done to bring about much-needed change.
At the core of the film are often heart-rending interviews with the rape survivors themselves—people like Kori Cioca, who was beaten and raped by her supervisor in the U.S. Coast Guard; Ariana Klay, a Marine who served in Iraq before being raped by a senior officer and his friend, then threatened with death; and Trina McDonald who was drugged and raped repeatedly by military policemen on her remote Naval station in Alaska.
And while rape victims in the civilian world can turn to an impartial police force and judicial system for justice, rape victims in the military must turn to their commanders. Many women find themselves forced to choose between speaking up and keeping their careers. Little wonder that only 8% of military sexual assault cases are prosecuted.
Since it premiered at the Sundance Film Festival last year, the film has circulated through the highest levels of the Pentagon and the administration. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta watched the film and two days later, directed military commanders to hand over all sexual assault investigations to a higher-ranking colonel. Panetta also announced that each branch of the armed forces would establish a Special Victims Unit. While these are promising first steps, much more needs to be done. The Invisible War is a call for civilian and military leadership to listen. And to act.
Directed & written by Oscar and Emmy®-nominated filmmaker Kirby Dick (This Film Is Not Yet Rated; Twist of Fait).