The issue of rape in U.S. military
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Today, a female soldier in Iraq or Afghanistan is more likely to be raped by a fellow soldier than killed by enemy fire.
To help raise awareness of this issue, the American Legion Post 29 in Washington, Iowa, is hosting a screening of the new, award-winning documentary The Invisible War at The Englert Theatre in Iowa City at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Aug. 10. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.
The 90-minute screening is free and open to the public and will be followed by a Question and Answer period with experts on hand to provide resource referral and support.
A groundbreaking investigative documentary about one of our country’s most shameful and best-kept secrets, The Invisible War reveals the epidemic of rape within the U.S. military, according to John Mikelson, coordinator of the UI Veterans Center.
"It's not enough to be teaching women how not to be attacked," Mikelson says. "It's trying to teach the men 'Don't rape.'"
It's also important to note, Mikelson says, that men as well as women experience sexual assault in the military.
An estimated 20,000 soldiers have been assaulted in 2009 alone. The number of military sexual assaults in the last decade is believed to be in the hundreds of thousands.
Out of the estimated 20,000 sexual assaults, only 3,192 were reported. Of those reports, only 1,518 led to referrals for disciplinary action. Of those, only 191 were courts-martialed. One in 5 women and 1 in 10 men report being sexually assaulted in the military. In 2010, 108,121 new veterans screened positive for Military Sexual Trauma at their local VA Hospital. Forty-five percent of those were men.
—John Mikelson, coordinator of the UI Veteran Center
Tracing the powerfully emotional stories of several young veterans, the film reveals the systemic cover-up of the crimes they have suffered and follows their struggles to rebuild their lives and careers. Featuring hard-hitting interviews with high-ranking military officials and members of Congress, The Invisible War urges everyone—civilian and soldier alike—to fight for a system that no longer forces our military to choose between speaking up and serving our country.
"Military service to America is, and should always be, highly respected and honored," says Barbara Duder, past commander of American Legion Post 29 in Washington and first district women veteran's coordinator. "The men and women who voluntarily join a branch of the military do so with a desire to give their lives to something greater than themselves. However, the unfortunate reality is that there are those in uniform who are predators—they have no honor and they prey upon our young men and women. The desire to bring this film to Iowa City is to facilitate the change that must happen and to show the survivors that they are not alone."
For more information or special accommodations to attend the Aug. 10 screening, contact Duder at 319-461-4518 or The Englert Theatre at 319-688-2653.
Additional support for this free showing comes from the UI Veterans Association, the UI Veterans Center, the Rape Victim Advocacy Program (RVAP) in Iowa City, The Englert Theatre, the City of Riverside, VFW Post 3949 in Iowa City, Kirkwood Community College, Brigid and Joan of Enemy in The Wire ( www.enemyinthewire.wordpress.com), The American Legion Family of The First District, Washington County Veterans Affairs, The English River Outfitters, and individual private donors.
The film will also be shown at the Bijou Cinema on the UI campus Aug. 24-29. To see ticket prices and screening times, visit bijou.uiowa.edu.