The Unitarian Universalists of Southern Delaware will host a free public screening and discussion of the film “The Invisible War” at 7 p.m., Friday, June 7, at the church, 33738 Marsh Road Unit 2, Lewes.
This groundbreaking documentary is a vital and frank exposé on sexual assault in the U.S. military, shot by master filmmaker Kirby Dick. Young men and women join the armed forces to serve their country, and society expects them to be honored and protected by their fellow soldiers. Instead, a federal court ruled in 2011 that rape is “an occupational hazard of being in the military.” Ginger Livingston, an advocate for Protect Our Defenders, will lead a discussion following the screening.
“The Invisible War” gives voice to soldiers who were sexually assaulted while serving the United States. Men and women share their stories of the physical abuse and the skewed system of justice in the military. After an assault, the victim is to report to his or her commander, who has the choice of investigating or dropping the case. This self-regulating justice system does not work - no one up the chain of command wants to be the officer with a rapist in their group.
The Department of Defense estimates more than 20,000 rapes per year, 54 percent of which were male victims, who rarely report the assault. Of the 3,200 cases reported in 2010, only 157 soldiers were convicted and jailed. Quite often the victim’s reputation is tarnished, and he or she is discharged from service, while the attacker’s career has no setbacks.
“The Invisible War” not only documents these soldiers’ stories, but has become part of the movement toward changing the military system of justice. The movie has opened the public’s eyes to the injustice and is now mandatory training in the Army.
The film is sponsored by UUSD’s Social Justice Committee, whose goals are to inform and educate in areas of social concern in support of the Unitarian principle of justice, equality and compassion in human relations. UUSD is a welcoming congregation that provides a inclusive spiritual home for people of all faiths valuing diversity, and social and environmental justice. For details, contact Kris at 302-537-0705 or firstname.lastname@example.org or go to http://uussd.org.