Film about Epidemic of Rape of U.S. Soldiers to Premiere at Trinity

Panel of Experts will include U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal

What: The Invisible War, an investigative and powerfully emotional documentary about the epidemic of rape of soldiers in the U.S. military, will have its Hartford-area premiere at Trinity College. The documentary, directed by the award-winning filmmaker Kirby Dick, will look at the institutions that perpetuate and cover up the existence of sexual abuse in the military, as well as its profound personal and social consequences. Dick will be on hand to answer questions and a panel discussion will accompany the screening. Among the panelists will be U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal. The event is free and open to the public. 

When: Thursday, October 18 at 7:30 p.m.

Where: Cinestudio on the Trinity campus, 300 Summit Street.

Background: Kirby Dick is an American film director, producer, screenwriter and editor who is best known for directing documentaries. He received an Academy Award nomination for Best Documentary Feature for Twist of Faith (2005) and he’s been honored by the Sundance Film Festival and Los Angeles Film Festival. Much of his work has focused on issues of secrecy, hypocrisy and human sexuality.

According to U.S. News, The Invisible War includes testimony from dozens of women and a few men whose experiences in the armed forces included not just rape, but institutional retaliation; former judge advocate general officers; investigators who speak of being instructed to treat victims like criminals; and lawmakers frustrated with decades of Pentagon stonewalling.

The U.S. News story goes on to say, “Dick wisely lets the institution hang itself. He shows a top Department of Defense official getting booted out of a 2008 House subcommittee hearing on military sexual assault for openly defying a congressional directive. In an excruciating display of ineptitude, Dr. Kaye Whitley, the civilian who until last year ran the military’s office on rape prevention and response, sits for an interview with Dick and responds to one question after another—easy ones, no hardballs here—with a vapid smile and ‘that’s out of my area of expertise’. The Department of Defense comes off looking at best oblivious and at worst vengeful, misogynistic, cruel.”

The movie’s Web site calls 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 19,000 violent sex crimes in the military in 2010. The Invisible War exposes the epidemic, breaking open one of the most under-reported stories of our generation, to the nation and the world.”

For more on the documentary, visit: http://invisiblewarmovie.com. 

In addition to Dick, a panel will offer comments and take questions from the audience. The panelists include Blumenthal; Yolande Goodman, former sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps and a survivor; Maureen Gard, a corporal in the U.S. Marine Corps; and Laura Cordes, executive director of the Connecticut Sexual Assault Crisis Services (CONNSACS).

Blumenthal, a Democrat from Greenwich, was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2010 and sits on the Armed Services Committee. Prior to his election to the Senate, he served an unprecedented five terms as Connecticut’s attorney general. Before that, he was a state senator and state representative. Blumenthal also held the post of U.S. Attorney and was an administrative assistant to the late Sen. Abraham Ribicoff and an aide to the late Sen. Daniel Moynihan.

He graduated from Harvard College and Yale Law School.

The event is sponsored by Trinity’s Women & Gender Resource Action Center (WGRAC); CONNSACS; Trinity’s Students Against Sexual Assault (SART); Sexual Assault Response Team (SART); Encouraging Respect of Sexualities (EROS); Office of Community Services & Civic Engagement, and Office of Multicultural Affairs; the departments of of Women, Gender & Sexuality (WMGS); international studies; history; sociology; human rights; and political science; YMCA of New Britain & Sexual Assault Crises Services; and the State of Connecticut Office of the Victim Advocate.

For more information, contact Laura Lockwood at Laura.Lockwood@trincoll.edu, or (860) 297-2408/4131. For directions and a map, visit www.trincoll.edu.  

Photo courtesy of CINEDIGM/DOCURAMA FILMS.