Feminist Philosophers

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The Invisible War June 30, 2012

Filed under: human rights,rape — Jender @ 7:51 am

From Salon.

This is a movie that intends to reform the entire United States military. And it stands a very good chance of succeeding.

Inspired by Helen Benedict’s 2007 Salon story “The Private War of Women Soldiers,” “The Invisible War” is a gut-wrenching condemnation of the way the military has, across the board and in every branch, failed to protect its members from sexual assault – and then failed them again and again afterward. In a series of harrowing personal accounts, victims – mostly women but a sampling of men as well – recount the trauma of their rapes while in uniform and the sickening personal consequences they experienced for reporting them. It’s estimated that over 20 percent of female veterans have been sexually assaulted during their service – and some believe the real figure is even higher. It’s an epidemic….

Though it’s still making its way to theaters – it rolls out across the country slowly throughout the summer — it has already become a bona fide movement unto itself. In April, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta saw the film, and two days later he moved the authority to investigate sexual assaults higher in the chain of command, so victims no longer need to report incidents to their commander.

 

2 Responses to “The Invisible War”

  1. Also, a related news story is linked here:

    http://feministphilosophers.wordpress.com/2012/04/14/diagnosis-personality-disorder-not-sexual-assault/

    Excerpt:

    “Panayiota Bertzikis received an adjustment disorder diagnosis and was forced out of the Coast Guard in 2006 — after reporting to her superiors that she had been punched in the face and raped by a shipmate during an off-duty hike.

    When she reported the attack, Bertzikis says the chief of her Coast Guard station ordered her and her attacker to clean out an attic on base together and told to work out their differences.

    “I am the victim of this crime, and then you report it, and then I felt like I was the one on trial — I was the one who did something wrong,” Bertzikis says. “He got a free pass. I was the one fighting to stay in.”

    Bhagwati, who runs the Service Women’s Action Network, says the sense of betrayal is profound for sexual assault victims whose allegations are not taken seriously.

    “Very commonly victims will hear that they’re lying whores. It’s very common,” Bhagwati says. “That kind of betrayal deepens the trauma so, so much, and it’s hard to recover from that. I mean, it’s akin to incest where you grow up with a family, with someone you trust, admire and in many cases, salute, is your perpetrator. It’s a huge betrayal that often entails guilt, embarrassment, shame. You’re made to feel that you did something wrong and you could have prevented it from happening.”


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