Tag Archives: U.S. military

Documentary Exposing Military Rape Scandal Premieres on PBS Tonight

Note from Amy: This email was from the filmmakers who made “The Invisible War,” a groundbreaking film that dives into the difficult issue of military sexual assault. I’m on their email list as someone who cares about the issue and because they interviewed me as a journalist for the film. I hope you take their plea to heart and tune in to watch this very worthy documentary:

Tonight, our award-winning investigative documentary – the film that sparked this movement to expose the epidemic of rape within the military – premieres nationally on PBS.


You’ve been with us through this long fight, and tonight is a moment we can all share as a community. But not everyone knows the importance of this issue. In addition to tuning in, will you help spread our message once more and find a friend to watch with? CLICK HERE to get details and find your local TV listing.


Having THE INVISIBLE WAR broadcast on national television, providing public access to stories like Trina and Kori’s, couldn’t come at a more critical time.

As you may have heard, last week, the Department of Defense released the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office (SAPRO) annual report, and it showed a significant spike in assaults – an increase of 35% over the last year. Over 26,000 service members were sexually assaulted in 2012 alone. Moreover, the report came out two days after an Air Force officer in charge of sexual assault prevention was himself arrested for sexual battery. It’s clear as ever: the military does not understand the plague within its ranks.

One of our champions in Congress, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand said it best:
“If the man in charge for the Air Force – in preventing sexual assault – is being alleged to have committed a sexual assault this weekend, obviously there’s a failing in training and understanding of what sexual assault is and how corrosive and damaging it is to good order and discipline.”

Military sexual assault isn’t just making headlines on Capitol Hill. Over the past week, President Obama also spoke out, saying that he has “no tolerance” for sexual assault. Adding, “they’ve got to be held accountable – prosecuted, stripped of their positions, court-martialed, fired, dishonorably discharged, period.”

For those 26,000 servicemen and women who survived assault last year, and the thousands more survivors, the news is promising but the fight is far from over. We must keep up the momentum and continue to take action until change is realized and “Zero Tolerance” becomes “Zero Occurrence.”

So tonight, as you tune in to PBS, share why this fight means so much to you – enlist one friend to help ensure military rape is #NotInvisible.

Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering


1 Comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Because Thoroughly Tackling the Topic of Military Sexual Assault is No Small Feat: The Invisible War is Nominated for an Oscar

If you had told me ten years ago that rape in the U.S. military would become a mainstream topic, I’d have laughed at you.

Decade after decade, after each sexual assault scandal such as Tailhook or the Air Force Academy, politicians would trumpet their outrage and military officials would swear they’d muster reform, like a hardened criminal making desperate, insincere promises to a parole board.

In 2003, while Miles Moffeit and I were researching for,  “Betrayal in the Ranks,” our three-part series about military sexual assault and domestic violence, reporters in Kentucky called us with a cautionary tale of how their publisher pulled a similar story of theirs, axing it because the U.S. had invaded Iraq and it seemed unpatriotic to call the military to task.

Thankfully, that love affair is over.

invisible warLast January, a film premiered at Sundance called “The Invisible War.” It tackled the crisis of sexual assaults within the U.S. military and dissected it with a painstaking, surgical attention to detail.

The filmmakers invited me to attend the premier because I’m interviewed in the film about my work covering the issue of military sexual assault, primarily the series I coauthored with Miles called “Betrayal in the Ranks.”

Afterward, I listened to all the talk from the politicians and the military officials, inwardly rolled my eyes, and waited for the apathy to once again roll in.

Well, halleluiah, my cynicism has been smacked down.

Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta viewed the film on April 14, 2012.  Two days later, Panetta ordered that all military sexual assault cases were to be handled by senior officers, ostensibly taking such cases away from potentially biased commanders who wouldn’t want the notoriety or disruption of a sexual assault investigation in their own unit.

Then over the summer, the Marines put together a new protocol for combating sexual assault. And just this month, President Barack Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act for this fiscal year. This time, it included reforms aimed at the issue of military sexual assault, including policies to prevent retaliation against those who report.

Meanwhile, the public and the media have flung themselves fully into the fray, backing “The Invisible War” with enthusiastic reviews and using social media to propel the issue forward.

Now “The Invisible War” has oh so deservedly been nominated for an Oscar.  As a result, I’m heartened that a whole new audience will now pay attention–and that someday, soldiering in the U.S. will no longer be associated with rape.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

What’s More Important: Rape of Tens of Thousands of Soldiers or Somebody’s Affair?

I wish everyone would calm down about the CIA adulterous scandal and become enraged over a much more important issue: sexual assault, including sexual assault in the U.S. military.

-This is what I’ve been thinking for several days now, and then someone did an excellent job of putting that into words by writing about the stunning documentary, “The Invisible War,” a film about the crisis of sexual assaults within the U.S. military, giving it proper context over the latest salacious story about Paula Broadwell.

I’m on the email list for director Kirby Dick and producer Amy Ziering, the creators of that outstanding Sundance award-winning documentary, “The Invisible War,”, and they sent me the below link to the piece that ran Monday in the Huffington Post.  I’m interviewed in the film because of my work covering the issue, primarily the series I coauthored at the Denver Post called “Betrayal in the Ranks.”

So please, take the time to read the story, and then forward the link to a friend. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta needs to turn his attention to “The Invisible War” and the issues it exposes, not media hype about emails and affairs.

From The Huffington Post: “The real scandal is that this type of behavior — stumbled upon via highly questionable investigative practices — is what garners nonstop media coverage and glaring headlines while a real military sexual scandal, our U.S. military’s horrific rape epidemic, affecting tens of thousands of our service members (annually!!), goes unreported and ignored.” Read more.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

A Mother Who Lost Her Daughter to Rape Searches for Answers

How awful to know that your daughter was raped, and that her attacker was someone she was supposed to trust.

Now imagine being told that after all she had endured, your daughter killed herself, and you’ll know what Suzie is going through.

Suzie contacted me after reading a blog I posted to this website about The Invisible War,  a gripping documentary about the crisis of sexual assaults within the U.S. military. I’m interviewed in the film because of my work covering the issue, primarily the series I coauthored at the Denver Post about sexual assault and domestic violence in the U.S. military called “Betrayal in the Ranks.”

But back to Suzie–here’s part of what she said:

“My daughter was sexually assaulted 3 times in her 3 and a half years in the Army. Twice on American soil, once during her year being deployed in Afghanistan. It culminated in her taking her own life after being told she was bi-polar or borderline personality disorder… She said they wanted to get rid of her and not the rapist. Please help me find truth for all of these men and women whom have had to endure what our own HOMELAND SECURITY could have prevented!!!! God Bless!! I AM NOT FINISHED WITH THIS!”

Her tragic story drives home this point: Whether a rapist is stalking women on the streets of Denver or within his own military unit, we’re enabling him as long as we allow our systems to put victims through hell for reporting their assaults.


Filed under The story