Ariana Klay Invisible War
Lauren Brown | Jun. 18, 2012,

A new documentary by Oscar-nominated filmmaker Kirby Dick attempts to shed light on what's becoming known as America's best kept secret: the epidemic of rape in the military.
Inspired by a 2007 Salon story by journalist Helen Benedict, "The Invisible War" tells the stories of both female and male servicemembers who were raped by their peers and commanders. In most cases the military did nothing to prosecute the perpetrators and in some cases actually punished the victims. 
These are some of the staggering statistics revealed in the film (all sources come from U.S. government studies):
  • An estimated 500,000 men and women in the military have been sexually assaulted since WWII
  • In 2009, an estimated 20,000 men were victims of military sexual assault
  • Prosecution rates are extremely low: in 2011, officials received more than 3,000 reports of sexual assault and less than 200 military members were convicted
  • An estimated 15 percent of recruits attempted or committed rape before entering service—which is double the rate in civilian society
  • Twenty-five percent of women didn't report an incident because their commander was their rapist
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta watched the film on April 14. Two days later he ordered that sexual assault investigations be moved to a higher ranking colonel. He also announced that each branch of the armed forces would establish a Special Victims Unit.