Movie shows injustices must end in military sexual assault cases

Recent headlines about sexual assaults in the military have garnered attention from the military and civilians alike. The Invisible War, a 2012 documentary, focuses on the imbalance of power in the military system regarding sexual harassment and assault. Directed by Kirby Dick, the film opened to great reviews and astonishment coming from viewers who didn’t know about military dealings.

Countless interviews from survivors of sexual assault weave a factual web of questions: How can we prevent rape in the military? Why aren’t the perpetrators being brought to justice? Why has the government ignored the issue? Why does the military operate on a completely different judicial system than the public?

Kori Ciocia is a former U.S. Coast Guard service member. Now 27 years old, she lives in Ohio with her husband and two kids. One night in December 2005 changed her life forever. Her supervisor forced himself upon her at the Coast Guard station she resided at. She tried to fight off the attacker, but he became more physically violent, dislocating her jaw. Before the rape, she reported repeated sexual harassment from her supervisor, the future attacker, to her commander on multiple occasions, but nothing was done.

After the rape, Ciocia was threatened with jail for lying if she reported it. Then she was ordered to sign a waiver saying that the sex was consensual, therefore freeing the rapist from any legal implications. After she refused to sign, she was transferred to a different station to prevent her from receiving the proper medical care for her dislocated jaw.

It took five years for the U.S. Coast Guard to recognize her claim. She endured extreme jaw pain, severe depression, anxiety and PTSD. She attempted suicide and woke up in the middle of the night screaming. Ciocia ended up receiving medical treatment thanks to donors who watched the completed film.

The Invisible War is an eye-opening journey into the lives of women and men who were the victims of sexual assault and harassment during their time in the military. Viewers will most likely end up with a pit of anger in the bottom their stomachs, infuriated with the military’s handling on the issue of sexual assault. It’s a must see film, and definitely worth your time.

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