A new feature film documentary is winning festival awards and garnering national attention for its in-depth focus on the thousands of women raped every year within the U.S. military.
The makers of “The Invisible War” solicited personal stories from victims and interviewed about 70 for hours each.
At one point in the theatrical trailer, one woman, Kori Cioca, who says she was raped by her supervisor in the U.S. Coast Guard, brandished a hand knife with a blade longer than her fingers, explaining how she carries it on her at all times.
“You always have protection with Jesus but sometimes you need just a little bit more,” said Cioca, who was also holding a metal cross.
According to the Defense Department’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response report for 2011, of the 2,617 reported assaults, it is estimated that the figure represents only 14 percent of all actual offenses, making the total number of victims at 19,000 last year.
Of the 2011 sexual assaults, 191 military members were convicted as courts-martial, according to the film’s website.
Cioca’s attacker admitted to breaking her jaw and other physical abuse but not the rape, according to the film. She is now battling with Veterans Affairs to win approval for surgery.
In addition to numerous victims, the documentary interviews military and defense personnel, elected officials, mental health professionals and others.
Besides attempting to chronicle the crimes, the film aims to expose how the threat persists and how wide-spread the damage can be.
“The military is a very effective fighting force when it comes to dealing with the enemy without. It’s really now time for them to start dealing with this enemy within,” said one of the filmmakers Kirby Dick.
Among other awards, “The Invisible War” won the Sundance Film Festival Audience Award and is set to open at select theaters June 22.