Sunday, December 2, 2012
The Invisible War (2012)Documentary Film Reviews Films 2012
Director: Kirby Dick
Cast: Helen Benedict, Kori Cioca, Elle Helmer
Country of Origin: U.S.
Time: 93 mins.
The Invisible War is an engrossingly potent film about America's most shameful and best kept secret about the widespread of rape within the military. Kirby Dick, the prolific documentarian behind This Film is Not Yet Rated (2006) and Outrage (2009) strings the pieces of this cryptic puzzle with sherlock holmes keenness to reveal the gruesomely fractured military system when dealing with rapes cases. With sickening nonchalance, the military dismisses raped victims by stating that in agreeing to be part of the military, rape is simply an "occupational hazard" of the job and cannot be used against them in court. Dick shows testimonies from women and men from all ages and ethnicities from the military who entered the army with the mentality that as citizens they would be honored to give back to their country, only to be mentally, physically, emotionally brutalized. Rape in the military is twice as common than in civilian life which appalingly suggest that almost every woman who has ever been in the military has been raped.
The act of rape in civilian life is traumatizing enough but changing the scenario to an military base that promotes nationalism, group bonding, and protection of their soldiers, that idealism of the "army" is broken when an incident of betrayal such as rape is taken place. The recruitment motto of the army has been "army strong" that radiates the perception of an honorary breed of soliders that serves and protect it's citizens and with that in mind, reporting a rape is considered to show weakness or worse, deem the victim as a traitor which jeopardizes their position in the company. Most of the occurrences go unreported due to the backlash and to the fact that 25 percent of women do not report the incident because their commander was their rapist. The first half of the film will leave the audience in harrowing grief that soon ignites into uninhibited rage by the second half. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta saw this film in April and two days later, he quickly changed the reporting policy in hopes of saving face. But will that really help change the military culture? I doubt it.