By Mike Dyer, Staff Writer
On Wednesday, Nov. 6 the Student Veterans Organization (SVO) held a free showing of the 2012 documentary “The Invisible War” in the Social Sciences Building auditorium. About two dozen students of both genders and of various ages showed up for the film, with many citing class credit or extra credit as the reason. The film, directed by Kirby Dick, deals with sexual abuse within the military and calls for further action from both the military and the government to prevent it.
The film holds nothing back as it reveals how often sexual abuse within the military occurs. It is a growing epidemic and one that the SVO wanted to bring to light so that “Soldiers and citizens can be aware of this dark item the military keeps in its closet” said Steven Watson, President of the SVO, as well as Sergeant E5 in the Army National Guard. “The Invisible War” was selected for screening by the Veterans Week Committee, and Watson added there is “a lot about the military that people don’t understand.”
Since its debut, the film has won several awards and last year was even nominated for Best Documentary at the 85th Academy Awards. Since that time, the United States Marine Corps has developed a plan to combat sexual assault, with new procedures when it comes to reporting abuse. The film has also sparked legislation from Washington D.C. In January, President Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013. Inside the military, new methods of investigation were put into action with the creation of special victim units for these kinds of cases.
The popcorn and soda offered by the SVO did not appear to assist viewers with the uneasy nature of the film as a couple of students left during the viewing. Listening to the interviews, from victims of abuse and reading unnerving statistics, such as over twenty percent of female service members have been sexually assaulted while active, are not easy to take. It would be reasonable to say that the SVO did manage to get their message across. The message reminds both citizens and students that war isn’t always fought on the battlefield.