Today at work we watched the movie “The Invisible War” which is a 90-minute documentary about some of the horrific cases of violence, assault, and harassment women and men have endured while serving in the military.
What could be just as horrible, if not more disgusting, than that? The facts that victims of such criminal acts are not assisted and in fact are all too often degraded further by people higher up in their command, people who say things like they “deserved it” or they “should have known better”. Gender of the commanding officers did not matter, both men and women made awful comments like that to victims of rape, violence, and other atrocities.
The movie is incredibly tough to watch. It’s not that it’s visually graphic, but to hear the men and women discuss the various forms of physical sexual assault, awful verbal abuse, and the consequential backlash that they dealt with from various military personnel as well as the pain they have to carry with them for the rest of their lives…it’s heartbreaking.
To think that these women and men volunteered to serve and protect their country, and were completely violated and victimized not only by their perpetrator(s) but also by the supposed judicial system the military uses is absolutely sickening.
I can’t imagine how trapped they felt, how they had orders to fulfill, and how many people who were harmed were exceptional human beings. Some of the scumbags who brutalized people have actually been promoted within the military, and most of the people who partake in these violent acts are not charged even though their offenses are criminal.
Here are some hard facts:
“A female U.S. soldier in a combat zone is more likely to be raped by a fellow soldier than killed by enemy fire.”
“Since 2006, more than 95,000 service members have been sexually assaulted in the U.S. military.”
“More than 86% of service members do not report their assault.”
“Less than five percent of all sexual assaults are put forward for prosecution, and less than a third of those cases result in imprisonment.”
This short list of facts is astounding and appalling, yet not altogether surprising to an extent. Even in the civilian world sexual harassment/assault is played down, joked about relentlessly, and covered up on a regular basis.
Perpetrators often go without punishment, sometimes due to the fears of the victim for making a report because they are worried about losing their job, being talked about, being accused of lying, and several other concerns that shouldn’t even be an issue BUT ARE.
I cannot begin to tell you how many times I’ve heard about, been witness to, or been the victim of harassment, especially of a sexual nature. This “war” is actually highly visible, yet it is easily ignored.
We have to do something to assist our military service-members who have become victims not only of horrific violence but of a corrupt justice system. They deserve that, at the very least.
If you’re like me, you probably want to do something to help the women and men in the U.S. military who have dealt with such horrible atrocities. A very simple thing you can do is to sign a petition to Congress.
Thank you to the brave women and men who were courageous enough to share their story. My prayers are with you as you strive to continue to live and fight the demons that haunt you, I hope and pray that you will have justice but also know that nothing can ever make the pains that you have gone through disappear.