WINNER: Invisible War wins 2 Emmys for Best Long Form Investigative Journalism and Best Documentary!

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).

Credits (Click to expand)

Written & Directed By

Kirby Dick


Amy Ziering

Tanner King Barklow

Executive Producers

Regina Kulik Scully

Jennifer Siebel Newsom

Geralyn White Dreyfous

Abigail Disney

Maria Cuomo Cole

Sarah Johnson Redlich

Women Donors Network

Teddy Leifer

Sally Jo Fifer

Nicole Boxer-Keegan


Doug Blush

Derek Boonstra

Design & Animation

Bil White


Thaddeus Wadleigh

Kirsten Johnson

Co-Executive Producer

Kimball Stroud

Associate Producer

Doug Blush


Amy Ziering

Kirby Dick

Additional Camera

Steven Bradford

River Finlay

Scott Jacobson

Ian Kellett

Aaron Kopp

Michael Miller

Marie-Joelle Rizk

Gopi Shastri

Michael JC Wooten

Production Sound

Tom Casetta

Aaron DelGrosso

Marianna LaFollette

Bob Silverthorne

Assistant Editor

Edward Patrick Alva

Additional Writing

Amy Ziering

Doug Blush

Stock Footage Consultant

Kate Coe

Music Supervisor

Dondi Bastone

Gary Calamar/GO

Re-Recording Mixer

Jeremy Grody

“Need Someone” Performed by Mary J. Blige.

Courtesy of Geffen Records under license from Universal Music Enterprises

The Invisible War is a co-production of Chain Camera Pictures, Inc.

and Independent Television Service (ITVS), with funding provided by Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB)

Executive Producer for ITVS

Sally Jo Fifer

This film was supported by the Sundance Institute Documentary Film Program, the Fledgling Fund and the Funding Exchange.

Completion Funding came from a Liberty Grant from Chicken & Egg Pictures, Julie Parker Benello, Judith Helfand and Wendy Ettinger.

Distributed by Cinedigm and Docurama Films

Also on CBC