Military sexual assault must be part of the national security conversation
When President Obama and Governor Romney took to the stage for the final Presidential Debate on foreign policy last week, viewers expected to hear how each candidate plans to keep Americans safe and secure in the global community. The discussion rightfully focused on both threats from abroad and ways to protect our servicemen and women.
Central to that discussion is how we confront a threat that is much closer to home—a matter as critical to national security as Israel and Iran or horses and bayonets: military sexual assault.
According to the Department of Veterans Affairs, as many as one in three women report being the victim of military sexual trauma when leaving the service. All told, an estimated 19,000 service members experience military sexual trauma each year. A woman serving in Iraq or Afghanistan last year was more likely to be sexually harassed or assaulted than killed by enemy fire. The incidence of sexual assault on male service members is equally alarming, especially since men are only half as likely to report their assaults as their female counterparts. Male or female, the Department of Defense estimates that 86% of all sexual harassment or assault in the military goes unreported.
These shocking statistics are explored in The Invisible War, which premiered at the beginning of this year and tells the tales of a chorus of survivors of military sexual assault, many of whom faced personal and professional retaliation if they sought justice.
Blog post written by screening organizer Elizabeth Wolfe
This month, The Invisible War finally came to Columbia, SC, as a diverse crowd from nonprofits, the military, and the University of South Carolina turned out one evening to watch the film and have frank discussions about military sexual assault.
The reception space outside It-oLogy’s 200-seat auditorium allowed for plenty of networking among attendees, many of whom represented organizations that work on preventing military sexual assault and caring for survivors.
I think my recovery really started once I realized that I was not alone. Once I reached out and learned that there were others like me and others who were fighting and advocating for people like me, I was incredibly empowered. I am a military sexual trauma (MST) survivor. And, for years I accepted other's definitions of me, but not any more.
I loved serving in the United States Air Force and it broke my heart when my career was ended sooner then it should have. I felt like I lost my identity and I was a fish out of water after over a decade of service. But at the same time, it was bittersweet. While serving, I felt like I was stifled and couldn't talk but now that I am a civilian, I am free to speak my mind and fight for those after me, who are forced to choose silence for the sake of their career.
Posted by the Alaska Network on Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault · October 16, 2012 2:14 PM
· 4 reactions
Juneau, Alaska is tucked among Alaska’s coastal range, between the mountains and the sea. With a population of 32, 000 people Juneau is the third largest borough in Alaska. The city also serves as Alaska’s capital, and is the home to Coast Guard Base Juneau.
After retweeting a post from The Pixel Project, Rosanne Barr received many tweets from her followers about The Invisible War and Military Sexual Assault. Check out the ones that Barr retweeted to share with all:
Posted by Rachel, Invisible NO More · October 05, 2012 12:00 PM
· 10 reactions
It might be a little early in the year for your average retrospective, but we really can’t help but look back and be amazed by how far we’ve come.
You might remember that, just before our theatrical release in June, the acclaimed cartoonist Garry Trudeau, the artist behind the Doonsebury comic strip, created a series of comics about military sexual trauma. They ran in the Washington Post and many other newspapers across the country.
The Center’s mission is to instill in students through education and experience the moral insight, knowledge, and skills that will enable them to take leadership roles in opposing genocidal conflict, terrorism, and human rights violations.
The Center’s educational program has as its core a sequence of courses designed to enable students to understand the causes and lessons of the Holocaust and contemporary human rights abuses and genocide.
The Center’s human rights internships support students to work as interns in leading human rights, genocide and Holocaust organizations.
Students gain practical experience of the ways in which knowledge, political and economic policies, and leadership must be combined to understand and overcome human rights abuses and genocide in today’s world.
The Center also supports course work and research in these fields by faculty and students and brings leading human rights and Holocaust specialists to the campus to speak with students and the larger community.
Click below to see photos from the screening and to read a student's blog post about the film.
This week, actress and activist Alyssa Milano stood with survivors of military sexual trauma by sharing the digital release of The Invisible War with her twitter followers.
We want to thank Alyssa for stepping up and shedding some much-needed light on thisissue.
Let her know that you appreciate her efforts to make sure that survivors of military sexual assault are #NotInvisible by thanking her on twitter.
You can share The Invisible War, now available on iTunes, with your friends as well.
Or send a tweet like Alyssa’s to share the film on iTunes with your followers.
We’re thankful for all of our amazing supporters, just like you, who have been doing the real necessary work to ensure military sexual assault survivors are never pushed aside again. As the movement grows, we’re glad we’ve got you at the heart of our efforts. Together we are #NotInvisible.