The invisible war. Our country has a long history of wars; however, most don’t know about the invisible one. At this point, some may be scratching their heads, wondering what I’m talking about. I mean, an invisible war…how is that so? Well, in all branches of the armed forces, there is an invisible war-taking place, whether they take place in the high or low ranks. The war that I’m talking about is the war of sexual violence within the armed forces that is invisible in the sense that no one wants to admit that it’s taking place. Rather, people turn their heads the other way; include high-ranking colonels, generals, etc.
If you want to know more about what I’m talking about, go onto Netflix, to the Monmouth public library, or even to our campus library, because you can check out the award-winning documentary The Invisible War, which depicts first-hand experience of women and men who have been victims to this atrocious war. They re-tell their stories, with tears in their eyes, evidence of their suffering.
While I don’t want to spoil the documentary too much, I do want to share with all of you some bits and pieces that really stood out and affected me. For one, I want to point out that sexual violence occurs in many, if not all branches of the armed forces, whether it be the army, navy, marines, air force, etc. Just as the documentary stated, “rape in the military is an epidemic.” When a person is ready to joined the armed forces and fight for their country, they believe that they will receive a rewarding experience, attached with prestige. However, many are soon disappointed when they realize that they are caught in between the invisible war of sexual violence that affects many.
Next, I want to talk about what frustrated me the most. Throughout the documentary, I had many burning questions. Where is the government? Why aren’t they intervening? Why is there so much injustice for all of the victims of sexual violence/rape/assault within the armed forces? And when issues are brought forth to high commanding officers, why do they play the whole ‘run around’ game? It is apparent that the Department of Defense is not valuing victims, much less offering them protection. I mean, doesn’t our own Pledge of Allegiance state, “…with liberty and justice for all”? So where is this justice?!
Lastly, I want to point out the fact that when victims do come forth and file a report against their accusers the victim is the one who loses. How can this be so? As many victims in the video admitted, when they filed a report, they were the ones charged with offenses such as adultery, when they weren’t married in the first place! Apparently, there is no effective system of accountability in place. As the documentary presented, “the military judicial system is broken.”
And if you’re willing to contribute your ‘two-cents’ on this issue, be sure to check out www.notinvisible.org Here you can see what is being done about the invisible war within the armed forces and you can even donate funds. In addition, I would like to add that if you have been a victim of any sexual violence, or know of someone who has, you can go to the counseling center on campus, right across from WUC, and behind Todd Hall.
By Antonia Rojas