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Tue August 21, 2012
The Invisible War
Moving documentary about rape in the military.
The Invisible War <?xml:namespace prefix = o />
Director: Kirby Dick (Outrage)
Runtime: 93 min.
by John DeSando
Rape in the military is about as thorny and intractable a problem as deciding whether to go to mid-east war or not. The Invisible War solidly makes the argument that the military judicial process for rape is deeply flawed, if only because commanders are given the absolute right and power to determine how the accusations are handled.
Think about it: the commander could be the assailant or a friend and can dismiss a case with little recourse for the aggrieved soldier. This documentary hammers home both statistically and in practice how frustrating the process can be, sometimes leading to suicide. A recent court decision that rape is an “occupational hazard” doesn’t help anything.
At the least, husbands and wives become tense or split; rarely is a marriage unaffected by the rape. For singles, the sympathy is not overwhelming, and without a support group, it is lonely out there to take on the chain of command. In a macho world where team attitude is high priority, rape allegations are not welcomed, especially if the rapist is the commanding officer.
As I find in many documentaries, only one side is examined (Michael Moore being the leading exponent of the lopsided argument). In the case of The Invisible War, we are well served with victims who get no satisfaction, but we don't experience fully the case where the accused is found to have been wronged by the accuser. However, the doc does an effective job with the stories of women who accused but rarely gained a conviction.
The percentage of adjudicated cases where the accused is found guilty is small. Given the thousands of allegations, that number seems too small. At any rate, after seeing this documentary, Secretary of Defense made a bold decision that confirms the efficacy of a well-made documentary.
John DeSando co-hosts WCBE 90.5’s It’s Movie Time and Cinema Classics, which can be heard streaming and on-demand at WCBE.org. He also appears on Fox 28’s Man Panel.
Contact him at JDeSando@Columbus.rr.com