As a survivor of sexual abuse, I have always pondered why most people think rapists and sexual abusers are “the boogey man,” a scary, terrifying, stranger who lurks in alleys and dark parking lots stalking their next victim, the unwitting stranger.
Statistics show that most sexual abuse victims know their abuser and most abusers appear to be just like everybody else. No one would ever suspect the abuser because of what he looks like, his type of job, the amount of money he makes, or having what many consider to be the picture-perfect family.
Sexual abuse is not a sexual act. Rape is a heinous act of aggression for reasons other than sex, often out of jealousy or a control freak need to prove something — the worst kind of power-trip. Women have been on the receiving end of systematic sexual abuse since the rise of patriarchal religion and governments and have often been powerless to get justice due to the religion or regime’s indifference to the victims’ plight. The victims had no rights.
In fact, rape and sexual aggression have long been viewed as the right of the male, “punishing” his wife as he saw fit, just as he could beat, whip, or kill any other piece of property he owned. Or worse, after defeating an enemy on the battlefield, raping the enemy’s women was just a part of the victor’s spoils of war.
In the 21st century, 40 years past the women’s movement, continued outrage over the Catholic Church’s pedophile priests, and the outing of bullying against LGBT youth, one area of awareness that has yet to see the light of day is the widespread sexual abuse within the United States military. The cover-up of the abuse is pervasive, and the victims have been shamed while their rapists received promotions and medals of honor.
The women who join the military do so to contribute their skills to protecting our country and to provide for their families. Our military is supposed to be the defender of the United States’ Constitution, our Bill of Rights, our laws, and our ideals of freedom, justice, and liberty. These women did not join the military to be abused or ridiculed when they reported the abuse. No one ever suspects that the “boogey man” is the man working beside you, or your boss, or a respected member of society, such as a “war hero.”
The new independent film, The Invisible War, has lifted the veil off the United States military’s cover-up of sexual abuse within the U.S. military branches — a true “War on Women.” With a country that is tired of war and suspicious of government officials, The Invisible War exposes the extent of sexual abuse in the United States’ military with video testimonies from the victims juxtaposed with the abusers’ being awarded accolades and promotions — jobs and pay raises all paid for by our tax-dollars.
Having won the 2012 Audience Award at the prestigious Sundance Film Festival, this film should win the Academy Award for “Best Documentary.” If you get the chance to see this film, DO IT. See it. Share the clip below on every social networking platform you are on.
The Invisible War opens in select cities today including New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and most appropriately, in our nation’s capital, Washington, D.C. The film will open around the U.S. throughout the summer. For cities and theater listings, visit The Invisible War’s website.
Raping a woman is not a man’s “right.” Ever.