Not Invisible Staff

published Policy in Policy 2012-06-26 13:46:00 -0400

Policy

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Congressman Michael R. Turner Third District of OhioTurner.House.Gov

For Immediate Release: June 26, 2012 Contact: Tom Crosson Cell: (202) 450-7398


Turner Requests Immediate Briefing from General on Widespread Sexual Assault Issues at Lackland AFB

Current Investigation Suggests Severe Breakdown in Chain of Command


 
Washington D.C. – Today, Congressman Mike Turner wrote to General Edward A. Rice Jr., Commander of Air Education and Training Command, to request an immediate briefing regarding widespread sexual assault allegations at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, TX. This is particularly alarming because it was perpetrated by military training instructors (MTIs) on recruits.  

“The nature of their position grants MTIs a great deal of authority over young and impressionable recruits,” wrote Turner. “During this process recruits should be learning the leadership values requisite to build the finest Air Force in the world. Instead, it appears that a systemic breakdown led to the creation of an environment that harbored the basest level of criminal activity at an unimaginable scale.”

Turner is a Co-Chairman of the Sexual Assault Prevention Caucus in Congress. As a senior member of the House Armed Services Committee he has focused this important issue which impacts our servicemembers. This Congress, he introduced the Defense Sexual Trauma Response and Good Governance (STRONG) Act. Many of this bill’s provisions were included in the FY 2012 National Defense Authorization Act and have become law.  
 
“Sexual assault has tremendous detrimental effects on both the victim and the unit.  Its presence impacts readiness and morale while degrading the reputation of the Servicemembers that defend our nation.  Over the past several years I have worked diligently with my colleagues in the House Armed Services Committee to implement laws to prevent sexual assault and protect the Servicemembers victimized by this violent crime,” added Turner.
 

NOTE: The letter to General Edward A. Rice Jr. follows below.
 
June 26, 2012

 

 

General Edward A. Rice Jr.  

Air Education and Training Command

HQ AETC
100 H Street, Ste. 4
Randolph AFB, TX 78150-4331

 

 Dear General Rice:

In April of this year during a congressional staff delegation to Air Force installations in San Antonio, a member of my staff learned of ongoing issues concerning the sexual assault of Air Force trainees.  Recent Air Force disclosures, however, have demonstrated that the problems were far more widespread and severe than originally anticipated.

 
Sexual assault has tremendous detrimental effects on both the victim and the unit.  Its presence impacts readiness and morale while degrading the reputation of the Servicemembers that defend our nation.  Over the past several years I have worked diligently with my colleagues in the House Armed Services Committee to implement laws to prevent sexual assault and protect the Servicemembers victimized by this violent crime.
 
The recent criminal activity is particularly alarming because it was perpetrated by military training instructors (MTI) on recruits.  The nature of their position grants MTIs a great deal of authority over young and impressionable recruits.  During this process recruits should be learning the leadership values requisite to build the finest Air Force in the world.  Instead, it appears that a systemic breakdown led to the creation of an environment that harbored the basest level of criminal activity at an unimaginable scale.
 
While I understand that the Air Force is actively investigating this matter, it is important for Congress to understand the conditions that allowed it to happen.  Consequently, I request an immediate briefing on the matter.
 
I appreciate your attention to these concerns and look forward to discussing the matter in person.

Sincerely,

           

Michael R. Turner                                                        
Member of Congress   


The Invisible War: There is strength in numbers

 

I’m on the email list for the folks who made the outstanding documentary, “The Invisible War,” a film about the crisis of sexual assaults within the U.S. military. I’m interviewed in the film because of my work covering the issue, primarily the series I coauthored at the Denver Post called “Betrayal in the Ranks.”

And right now, I’m hopeful, because it seems like this time, real change is going to happen, not just the empty promises we heard after our series ran. So please, read the email below from Invisible War director Kirby Dick and producer Amy Ziering, and take a moment to be a part of this movement. There’s real momentum now–so don’t let it die.

Thanks,

Amy Herdy, Diary of a Predator


published Healing in Resources 2012-05-31 17:40:46 -0400

Healing

Give an Hour

Developing national networks of volunteers capable of responding to both acute and chronic conditions that arise within our society.

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Operation Warrior Wellness

The David Lynch Foundation’s Women’s Initiative provides women veterans with the stress-reducing Transcendental Meditation technique to help them heal from traumatic stress and find inner peace, creativity and strength within themselves.  

Boston Area Rape Crisis Center

The only rape crisis center in the Greater Boston area, serving 29 cities and towns, and our service area includes USCG District 1 Boston and Hanscom AFB. We provide free and confidential services to survivors of sexual violence of any gender, their families, friends, and communities, and welcome active duty, reserve, and veteran service members.

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Educated Canines Assisting with Disabilities (ECAD)

Providing Services Dogs to our Veterans under its program Project HEAL. We are reaching out to our female veterans.

 

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Canines With A Cause

A non-profit organization with the mission of helping shelter dogs find homes by training them to work as companion, therapy and service dogs for veterans in need.  

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Fatigues Clothesline Project

An awareness and art-based therapy program for military sexual trauma (MST) survivors and their families, a program to create a dialog between survivors and group leaders, counselors as well as family members.

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Healing Combat Trauma

Therapeutic resources for veterans with combat-based Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder ("PTSD"), focused on integrative medicine and hope.

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The Institute for Rapid Resolution Therapy

Providing trauma training and certification for mental health and medical professionals to assist them in eliminating the effects of trauma in the lives of those they serve.

The Soliders Project

The Soldiers Project is a 501(c)(3) organization that provides free, unlimited, confidential psychological counseling to those who have served or expect to serve in the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as to their loved ones. We treat in the private practices of licensed insured therapists with the utmost respect for the privacy and dignity of each individual.

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There and Back Again: Yoga for Veterans and Re-integration Support

A nonprofit organization that supports the well-being of service-members, providing free reintegration support services to combat veterans of all conflicts.

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Yoga for Vets: National Network of Free Yoga Classes for Veterans

A non-profit organization that exists to welcome home war veterans and help them cope with stress of combat through yoga instruction. The Yoga For Vets website lists studios, teachers, and venues throughout the country that offer four or more free classes to war veterans

 


published Helplines in Resources 2012-05-31 17:35:56 -0400

Helplines

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National Sexual Assault Hotline (RAINN) 

Free, confidential, 24/7: Call 1.800.656.HOPE to be connected to your local rape crisis center or chat online with a trained RAINN staff member: online.rainn.org

 

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DoD Safe Helpline — operated by RAINN on behalf of the Department of Defense

Sexual Assault support for the DoD Community: 24/7, confidential, worldwide access. Call 877-995-5247 or visit www.safehelpline.org

Note: RAINN will not share your name or any other personally identifying information with DoD or your chain of command  

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Peace Over Violence
Rape and battering hotlines providing information, support, referrals, accompaniments, advocacy, counseling, and self-defense. This hotline is available 24/7: 626-793-3385 or 310-392-8381 or 213-626-3393

 

(SWAN) Legal and Peer Support Helpline for Veterans

Helping callers navigate advocacy, legislation and MST services. This hotline is available Monday-Friday 10am - 6pm EST: 888-729-2089

 

The Rape Crisis Center

Crisis intervention center that provides crisis counseling and hospital accompaniment services.  This hotline is available 24/7: by phone 210-349-7273

 

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 

Free and confidential, nationwide network of crisis centers. This hotline is available 24/7: 800-273-TALK

 

National Sexual Violence Resource Center 

Online directory highlights the many organizations and projects working to eliminate sexual violence.


published Advocacy in Resources 2012-05-31 17:34:00 -0400

Advocacy

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Protect Out Defenders

Grassroots Organizing, Amplify Survivor's Voices Through Storytelling, Advocacy, Survivor Support Services Network, Lawsuits, MST Forums.

 

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National Veterans Legal Services Program

A not for profit organization dedicated to ensuring that the government delivers to our nation’s veterans the benefits to which they are entitled because of disabilities resulting from their service. NVLSP provides free legal representation to veterans whose disability claims for PTSD resulting from military sexual trauma (MST) have been denied by the VA.

 

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA)

The country's first and largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization for veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

 

 

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Service Women's Action Network (SWAN)

Advocacy, Legislation and Healing programs for Veterans with focus on MST

 

 

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AAUW Legal Fund 

Community and campus outreach programs, a resource library and online advocacy tools, a Legal Referral Network, and various research reports for combating sex discrimination in higher education and the workplace.

 

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Burke PLLC

A civil rights law firm located in Washington, D.C. Attorney Susan Burke and her colleagues are dedicated to ensuring that victims of rape and sexual assault obtain justice. Beginning in February of 2011, Burke began filing a series of lawsuits seeking justice for those who were raped or sexually assaulted during their military service, and endured retaliation and harassment. For information on assisting or participating in the lawsuits, please contact Miranda Petersen (lead paralegal) at 202-386-9631.

 

 

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National Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence

The National Center on Domestic and Sexual Violence (NCDSV) designs, provides, and customizes training and consultation, influences policy, promotes collaboration and enhances diversity with the goal of ending domestic and sexual violence.

NCDSV trains and consults with the Department of Defense, the Military Services and the U.S. Coast Guard. NCDSV also advocates with those same entities as well as with Congress for improved prevention and intervention policies for domestic and sexual violence by co-chairing the Military Committee of the National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence.

 

 

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Peace Over Violence

Rape and battering hotlines providing information, support, referrals, accompaniments, advocacy, counseling, and self-defense. This hotline is available 24/7: 626-793-3385 or 310-392-8381 or 213-626-3393

 

 

UltraViolet

UltraViolet is a community of women and men, fighting to expand women's rights and combat sexism everywhere - from politics and government to media and pop culture.

 

Futures Without Violence

Futures Without Violence works to prevent and end violence against women and children around the world. From domestic and dating violence, to child abuse and sexual assault, Futures Without Violence works to advance the health, stability, education, and security of women and girls, men and boys worldwide.

 

 

WMC Women Under Siege

WMC Women Under Siege documents how rape and other forms of sexualized violence are used as strategic tools in genocide and conflict from the 20th century onward. In the belief that understanding what happened previously might have helped us prevent or prepare for the mass sexual assaults of other conflicts, from Bosnia to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the project is exploring this linkage to heighten public consciousness of causes and preventions.

 

 

Equality Now

Equality Now works for the protection and promotion of the human rights of women and girls around the world. Working with grassroots women’s and human rights organizations and individual activists since 1992, Equality Now documents violence and discrimination against women and mobilizes international action to support efforts to stop these abuses.

 

 

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NYCLU

The Reproductive Rights program of the New York Civil Liberties Union (RRP) is the only New York State-based legal organization that focuses on reproductive rights. RRP defines reproductive rights broadly to include not only abortion rights and access, but also birth control, reproductive and sexual health, equal treatment of pregnant and parenting women in employment and education, comprehensive and medically accurate sex and HIV/AIDS education, and patient privacy. 


published Host a Screening in Take Action 2012-05-30 22:47:01 -0400

Take Action

Bring "THE INVISIBLE WAR" to your local theater, community, base or campus and spark change.  

 

Already, the film has been embraced at:

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  • Local Theaters

  • Military Bases and Installations

  • University Women's Centers

  • Coalitions Against Domestic and Family Violence 

  • Rape Crisis Centers

  • Veteran Administration Health Care Systems

  • VetCenters

  • Nonprofit Organizations

  • Places of Worship

  • Campus Film Societies

  • ...and many more! 

 

Screening hosts contribute a modest screening fee and in turn receive: 

  • "The Invisible War" DVD

  • "The Invisible War" Public Exhibition Rights, which grant you the copyright permissions to bring the film to a local audience

  • Discussion and resource materials from the film's coalition partners

  • Digital and hard-copy promotional tools

     

Get started today by contacting our community screening coordinator:

 

Kristin Cooney, ro*co films educational

Phone: (415) 332-6471 x204

Email: kristin@rocofilms.com

Go here for more information: http://www.rocoeducational.com/the_invisible_war


published The Movie 2012-05-30 16:39:51 -0400

About

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From Oscar®-and Emmy®-nominated filmmaker Kirby Dick (This Film Is Not Yet Rated; Twist of Faith) comes The Invisible War, a groundbreaking investigative documentary about 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 22,800 violent sex crimes in the military in 2011. 20% of all active-duty female soldiers are sexually assaulted. Female soldiers aged 18 to 21 accounted for more than half of the victims.

Focusing on the powerfully emotional stories of rape victims, The Invisible War is a moving indictment of the systemic cover-up of military sex crimes, chronicling the women’s struggles to rebuild their lives and fight for justice. It also features hard-hitting interviews with high-ranking military officials and
embers of Congress that reveal the perfect storm of conditions that exist for rape in the military, its long-hidden history, and what can be done to bring about much-needed change.

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 by a senior officer and his friend, then threatened with death; 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.

And while rape victims in the civilian world can turn to an impartial police force and judicial system for help and justice, rape victims in the military must turn to their commanders—a move that is all too often met with foot-dragging at best, and reprisals at worst. Many rape victims find themselves forced to choose between speaking up and keeping their careers. Little wonder that only eight percent of military sexual assault cases are prosecuted.

The Invisible War exposes the epidemic of sexual assault in the military – one of the most under-reported stories of our generation, a story the filmmakers are proud to be breaking to the nation and the world. They hope the film will help lead a national dialogue about the crime of rape perpetrated on the very people who have pledged to protect our country and are gratified to see the film is already making an impact. Since it premiered at Sundance, the film has been circulating through the highest levels of the Pentagon and the administration. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta watched The Invisible War on April 14. Two days later, he directed military commanders to hand over all sexual assault investigations to a higher-ranking colonel. At the same time, Panetta announced that each branch of the armed forces would establish a Special Victims Unit. While these are promising first steps, much more needs to be done.

To that end, The Invisible War is a call for our civilian and military leadership to listen. And to act


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