I’ve written before about the awful problem of rape in the U.S. military, but I don’t think until you see the powerful movie “The Invisible War” that was released last year, you can really truly appreciate how bad the problem is.
Some of the more incredible stats in the film that chilled me:
— A female soldier in combat zones is more likely to be raped by a fellow soldier than killed by enemy fire.
— More than 20% of female veterans have been sexually assaulted while serving in the US army.
— There were 3,192 sexual-assault reports in 2011, and only 191 members of the military were convicted at court martials.
— Since 2006, more than 95,000 service members have been sexually assaulted in the U.S. military.
— Less than five percent of all sexual assaults are put forward for prosecution, and less than a third of those cases result in imprisonment.
There are more, but you get the idea. This is an enormous problem, and when you hear the stories of the women in the film, all of them sound chillingly alike: A male officer, often their direct superior, rapes them, and they’re either too ashamed to report it right away, or the authorities don’t take them seriously.
Every Defense secretary in the past 20 years has claimed they will “get serious” about this problem, and yet the reality is women in the military are still getting assaulted at a disgustingly high level.
Listen to these stories, from women like Kory Cioca, who was violently assaulted, punched in the face repeatedly, and yet is still unable to get medical coverage from the VA; there’s Andrea Werner, who reported her rape to her army superiors, only to be charged with adultery, even though it was her assailant who was married.
It goes on and on; these women suffering years and years of trauma and pain, while chillingly at the end of the movie we learn that many of the men who raped them have gotten promotions (one was even named “Airman of the Year!”).
Every American who blubbers on and on about how awesome our country and our military are ought to watch this film. It’s available here on YouTube in a few different parts, and in complete form on Netflix here.
This is not an easy film to watch. But it’s an important one, and I urge you to check it out. Here’s a website where you can support victims of sexual assault, and help donate to trauma centers that are sprouting up to help them.
**Next up, something we love but haven’t seen in a while: A Stephen Colbert dancing montage, with celebrities, to that Daft Punk song that suddenly seems to be everywhere.
Jon Stewart with a beard? Yeesh. (If the above video has been taken down, try this link here.) But the Fallon and Matt Damon parts are awesome. God bless Colbert and his craziness.
**Finally, sometimes the simplest ads are the most effective. For decades, those of us who marvel that marijuana has been so criminalized while alcohol, a MUCH more dangerous drug when abused, skates by scot-free in American culture, have wondered what it would take for people to finally see the light.
Well, here’s a 30-second ad that pretty much spells it out perfectly. Bravo the Marijuana Policy Project, for sponsoring this ad that ran at two major NASCAR races last weekend.