Seeing the Invisible War

Sitting through a Kirby Dick documentary is no easy feat. While viewing a press screening of Outrage, I felt compelled on more than one occasion to yell at the closeted homosexuals using their political clout to damn other gays and lesbians to death.

His latest documentary, The Invisible War, evoked within me the same visceral reaction, as he brought to the screen the nameless faces behind an epidemic where 20% of all active-duty female soldiers, and an estimated one percent of men in the military are sexually assaulted. Dick gets behind the stats to tell the stories of these soldiers’ battles to rebuild their lives and fight the systematic cover-up of military sex crimes. (And see what Time magazine had to say last December.)

As reported on The Invisible War website, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta watched The Invisible War on April 14. Two days later, he directed military commanders to hand over all sexual assault investigations to a higher-ranking colonel. At the same time, Panetta announced that each branch of the armed forces would establish a Special Victims Unit.  But watch the film when it comes to select theaters nationwide and you’ll see there’s a helluva lot more we need to do for those who served and then got screwed.

Becky Garrison is a satirist/storyteller whose most recent book is Roger Williams’s Little Book of Virtues (Wipf & Stock, March 2020). Also, she edited Love, Always: Partners of Trans People on Intimacy, Challenge and Resilience (Transgress Press, 2015). Her six books include 2006’s Red and Blue God, Black and Blue Church (PW, starred review).