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The Invisible War and the enemy within

Kirby Dick exposes the U.S. military's epidemic of sexual assault



From the dubious exercise of outing gay conservatives (Outrage), veteran muckraker Kirby Dick turns to a more worthy crusade: exposing the epidemic of rape in the U.S. military. Dick focuses on a handful of women who were sexually assaulted while on active duty, but they're only the tip of the iceberg; according to the film, which draws all its statistics from government reports, more than 20 percent of female veterans have been assaulted. This travesty has been encouraged by a military culture that blames the victim and a policy directing soldiers to refer complaints to their commanding officer, which typically results in no action or even reprisals against those speaking out. Two days after seeing the film, defense secretary Leon Panetta announced a raft of initiatives to combat the problem, including the establishment of a special victims unit. His reforms couldn't be more desperately needed: in 2010 alone, an estimated 19,000 assaults resulted in only 244 convictions.

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