Independent Lens: The Invisible War
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Independent Lens: The Invisible War

Monday, January 6 at 10:00 p.m.

Nominated for an Academy Award® for Best Documentary Feature, "The Invisible War" is a groundbreaking investigative documentary.

It shines a light on one of America’s most shameful and best kept secrets: the epidemic of rape within the U.S. military. The film paints a startling picture of the extent of the problem; today, a female soldier in combat zones is more likely to be raped by a fellow soldier than killed by enemy fire.

The Department of Defense estimates there were a staggering 19,000 sexual assaults in the military in 2011. Veterans Affairs (VA) studies have shown that one third of women seeking assistance from the VA have been sexually assaulted, and that more men than women are assaulted while in service.

At the core of the film are often heart-rending interviews with the rape survivors themselves, people like Kori Cioca, who was beaten and raped by her supervisor in the U.S. Coast Guard; Ariana Klay, a Marine who served in Iraq before being raped and threatened with death by a senior officer and his friend; and Trina McDonald, who was drugged and raped repeatedly by military policemen on her remote Naval station in Adak, Alaska. And it isn’t just women: according to one study's estimate, one percent of men in the military — nearly 20,000 men — were reportedly sexually assaulted in 2009.

A culture of privilege and impunity has resulted in few prosecutions and the systematic isolation of women who dare to report the crimes.

Pictured above: Ariana Klay, US Marine Corps 1st Lieutenant.
At right: Kori Cioca, US Coast Guard, and husband Rob in an emotional interview.