“The Invisible War” to Screen at AAUW Convention

May 01

The Department of Defense estimates that in 2010, as many as 19,000 women in the military were victims of sexual assault. Overall, more than 20 percent of women veterans report being assaulted by their co-workers either as recruits or as active-duty members. The same was true for about 1 in 100 men serving in the armed forces.

No film better addresses this epidemic than The Invisible War, a compelling documentary about military sexual assault. Featuring several AAUW Legal Advocacy Fund plaintiffs, the film was nominated for an Academy Award and won the Sundance Film Festival’s Audience Award in 2012. It received outstanding reviews following a limited release in a dozen theaters nationwide and screenings by community-based organizations, including AAUW.

Every survivor in the film — including a few men — describes feeling betrayed because the assailant was a “brother–in-arms.” Those who reported their abuse talked about how traumatizing it was to describe their experience and then face retaliation from the military. Frustrations over inadequate health care, therapy, and support are common themes, as is the difficulty of having to report the crime through the chain of command. Often the person to whom they were supposed to report was either the perpetrator or friends with the perpetrator.

Given our unique connection to this film and the incredible passion that our members have shown for the issue of sexual assault in the military, we’ve chosen to screen The Invisible War at the 2013 AAUW National Convention in New Orleans on Monday evening, June 10. The screening is free for convention registrants, with showings at 6 p.m. and 08:15 p.m.

Powerful and gripping, the film is not anti-military. Every survivor has expressed their love for the military and now they are speaking out — at great personal cost — to ensure that service members no longer have to fear for their safety in their own barracks. This film balances a deep respect for the military with a compelling case for better policies to prevent sexual assault and to prosecute perpetrators when abuse happens.

The Invisible War PosterBetween showings, we’ll be joined by Andrea Neutzling, an AAUW Legal Advocacy Fund-supported plaintiff and U.S. Army veteran who filed a joint lawsuit against the Department of Defense in 2011 for failing to prosecute offenders and blaming victims. Andrea will speak briefly to her own experiences and answer questions.

Join us this June as we look to the next generation of women leaders and grapple with today’s challenges. Our 2013 convention, Leading across Generations, will offer an opportunity to discuss the achievements we’ve made in advocating for women and girls across the globe and to consider the progress that still needs to be made.

Register today for what will be a convention like no other!

This post was co-written by Director of Marketing and Business Development Cordy Galligan and Ryan Burwinkel.

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