|Lieutenant Elle Helmer in The Invisible War.|
By Miranda Inganni
The Invisible War, the latest feature documentary by Kirby Dick (Outrage, This Film Is Not Yet Rated), exposes the harsh and disturbing reality of what many military women (and men) face – sexual assault and the government’s reluctance to do anything about it. Through honest, heart wrenching and tear-filled interviews, Dick tells the horror stories of victims while shedding light on an overlooked and rampant problem.
The victims interviewed all have one thing in common: they took great pride in their military duty. And they were all greatly debased, in the most horrendous way. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and other long-term effects lay waste to lives of otherwise productive members of society. But where is the justice?
A civilian rape victim has a police force and lawyers who are (supposed to be) impartial when dealing with a crime, but military personnel must turn to their commanders, usually a colleague or friend of the alleged perpetrator or the criminal him/herself. Unfortunately, and unfairly, this, more often than not, leads to retaliation at worst and long, drawn-out response (usually not in the victim’s favor) at best. Careers, marriages and, too often, lives are ended as a tragic result.
Dick is able to capture the pain and trauma the victims have suffered, interview and expose the misogyny and hypocrisy of high-level military personnel and members of the government and document the stories and statistics of a grossly underreported problem.
The LAFF screening of The Invisible War is free.
The Invisible War screens at the Los Angeles Film Festival June 16, 1:30 p.m., Regal Cinemas.