"Invisible War" exposes widespread rape in U.S. military
PARK CITY, Utah, Jan 22 (TheWrap.com) - Rape in the American armed forces is an issue that has quietly been gathering attention over the past decade. But it exploded with the power of suppressed fury at the Sundance festival's Friday afternoon screening of the documentary "The Invisible War," a devastating indictment of the government's inaction on the issue.
Director Kirby Dick brought a powerful weapon to his film: victim after eloquent victim, Navy, Marine, Coast Guard, Army and Air Force veterans who were assaulted by fellow officers, supervisors or recruits.
They tell their stories in courageous detail, and it quickly becomes clear that these are not isolated incidents but a pattern reflective of a widespread rot within America's military institution, one that betrays its essential values.
The individuals Dick chose as the principal characters in his film -- there were so many to choose from -- were among the best of their class. They were women (and in some cases, men) who joined the military out of devotion to country and a desire to serve.
One Marine, Ariana Klay, was raped by a fellow officer in the elite Marine Barracks in Washington, D.C.
A Navy officer, Trina McDonald, was drugged and raped repeatedly by fellow officers on a remote base in Alaska.
Coast Guard recruit Kori Cioca was raped and then assaulted -- smacked so hard in the face that it dislocated her jaw, causing her permanent damage and pain for which the Veterans Administration declines to provide medical coverage.
One woman who was assaulted had previously been a military investigator of crimes. Rape investigations were always steered away from the women, she recounted, because they would be "too sympathetic."
Every woman in the film has had her life shattered by this event -- not necessarily because of the rape, but because of the response by the military establishment.
After lodging complaints, the women were met with indifference or targeted retaliation. They have had to leave the military. Some were threatened with violence.
Sundance: 'The Invisible War' sheds light on rape in the military
Stunning, muckraking documentaries are a staple at Sundance, but even by the film festival's impressive standards, Kirby Dick’s “The Invisible War” is exceptional — both for its scandalous nature as well as its emotional impact.
Having its world premiere in Park City, Utah, on Friday night, this investigation of the epidemic of rape in the U.S. military (against both women and men) is such a tragically moving story that even Dick, a veteran Oscar-nominated director (“Twist of Faith”), said the stories he heard were “the most intense series of interviews I have ever been involved with.”
It's not only the number of rapes that take place in the military that is staggering — the film estimates, based on extrapolation of military statistics, that 30% of servicewomen are sexually assaulted during their enlistment and that they are more likely to be raped by a fellow soldier in Iraq or Afghanistan than killed by the enemy.
“I was kicking myself, thinking, 'Why didn't I think of this 10 or 15 years ago?"
When he realized no such film had been done, he said, “I was astounded. What's shocking is how few people are aware of this. It's one of the most under-reported stories of this generation.”
I can think of a few other under-reported stories that would span all the generations since the inception of the US.
Now the slaughter or 3,000 people just this month?
JTT - where's your outrage?
I think if you went to any city of, say, 40,000, people, most of whom are between the ages of 18-35, you'd see the exact same problem. Look at college campuses, sexual assault is a real problem but they manage to keep it pretty quiet.
I've seen statistics that say 1 in 5 women have been assaulted. Maybe only half of those report it and of that half I doubt that half of the perpetrators are punished.
Marine pleads guilty, ending final Haditha trial
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The U.S. Marine sergeant accused of leading a massacre of 24 Iraqi civilians in Haditha pleaded guilty on Monday to dereliction of duty, ending the final prosecution stemming from a 2005 incident that brought international condemnation of U.S. troops.
Staff Sergeant Frank Wuterich, 31, entered his plea at Camp Pendleton Marine Corps base north of San Diego as part of a deal with military prosecutors in which more serious charges of involuntary manslaughter and aggravated assault were dismissed.
As part of his guilty plea, Wuterich accepted responsibility for providing negligent verbal instructions to the Marines under his command when he told them to "shoot first and ask questions later," resulting in the death of innocent civilians.
He faces a maximum sentence of three months of confinement, forfeiture of two-thirds of his pay for three months and a reduction in rank when he is sentenced on Tuesday, a Camp Pendleton spokesman said.
"By pleading guilty to this charge, Staff Sergeant Wuterich has accepted responsibility for his actions," base spokesman Lieutentant Colonel Joseph Kloppel said.
Any discharge process Wuterich may face will be separate from the plea and sentencing, Kloppel added.
Wuterich, 31, was accused of being the ringleader in a series of November 19, 2005, shooting and grenade attacks that left two dozen civilians dead in Haditha, a city west of Baghdad that was a hotbed of insurgent activity.