The Invisible War is a 2011 documentary that sheds light on the rampant problem of rape in the United States military. 20 percent of military women and 1 percent of men (about 500,000 troops) have been victims of sexual attacks. Yet fewer than 8% of military sex offenders are prosecuted, and this persistent lack of accountability is fueled by a massive series of cover-ups that keep women second-class citizens in the armed forces. These women face the usual victim blaming that is so pervasive in our culture, but are also perceived as “prepared for anything” and therefore strong enough to fight attackers back, a misperception that leaves many of them professionally disgraced, emotionally ravaged, and seen as liars.

This powerful work premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and really has people talking about the trauma of rape and how to heal from it, how to hold the U.S. Military accountable for these atrocities, and above all else how to reform the rape culture that we live in so this kind of thing doesn’t have to happen at all.

Are you surprised at the frequency of sexual abuse in the military? What’s the solution?

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