The Invisible War

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According to the Department of Defense, 1 in 5 women were raped while serving in the US military in 2010. 20,000 men serving were sexually assaulted in the same year. These numbers climb higher considering the number of victims who do not report.

Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering explore this issue in their new documentary, The Invisible War. Every once and a while, a documentary comes around that incites real change and this film is one of them. It sheds light on an issue that people either did not know a lot about or chose to ignore.

Susan Burke, a lawyer for the organization Protect Our Defenders, helped expose the culture of sexual violence at Marine Barracks in Washington DC, a military base showcased in the documentary.  In March 2013 with Burke’s assistance, 8 women, 2 of whom were in the film, filed a lawsuit against senior officers at that base for tolerating an environment of sexual assault and silencing victims.

Two days after viewing the film, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta announced vital changes in the way in which reported rapes are investigated in the military. Panetta even told one of the film’s producers that watching the film was partly responsible for his decision.

The Invisible War is up for an Oscar for best documentary, and has already garnered several awards at various film festivals. Jonathan Hahn of the Los Angeles Review of Books, stated, “There are some works of writing or painting, speech, or film that do more than just stand as great works of art. They change things. They put before us something fundamentally wrong with the world — with the society we take for granted, with the institutions on which we depend and that in turn depend on us — and demand change. The Invisible War belongs in that pantheon, and is easily one of the most important films of the year.”

The Invisible War will be screen in the Tivoli Multicultural Lounge at 5pm on Monday, February 25th as a part of the Women’s Resource Center’s Movie Mondays series.

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Women Fighting on the Front Lines

“We took out the enemy target with the last remaining missile on our aircraft. Several months later, I was talking to a Marine. When he found out I flew Cobras, he started to recount an experience he had in Iraq in which a Cobra shot a missile and saved his squad. Turned out, it was the same mission; the missile came from my aircraft. He stared at me and said, “Ma’am, you saved my life.” Did it matter that the one who fired that missile was a woman, or that she was black and gay? Absolutely not!”

The above is by Captain Vernice “FlyGirl” Armour, America’s first African-American female combat pilot, about the hot-button issue concerning the Pentagon lifting the ban on women fighting on the front lines.

Those who oppose women fighting on the front lines claim that women will greatly interrupt group bonding, cohesion, and that group dynamics will forever be changed. These same arguments have been used in the past to describe why minorities and homosexuals should also be banned from fighting on the front lines. These negative assumptions have proven time and again to be false.

Women should be able to take advantage of these new opportunities if they choose to enlist and those already serving should have the chance to get promoted because “the bottom line is if you can do the job, you should be out there doing it, whether you’re a man or a woman.”

What do you think about women fighting on the front lines? Do you agree with Armour?

Read her full article here: http://www.cnn.com/2013/01/30/opinion/armour-women-in-combat/index.html