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The Invisible War

4.7 out of 5 stars 243 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

From Oscar® and Emmy®-nominated filmmaker Kirby Dick (This Film Is Not Yet Rated; Twist of Faith) comes THE INVISIBLE WAR, a groundbreaking investigative documentary about one of America's most shameful and best-kept secrets: the epidemic of rape within the U.S. military. The film paints a startling picture of the extent of the problem - today, a female soldier in combat zones is more likely to be raped by a fellow soldier than killed by enemy fire. Twenty percent of all active-duty female servicewomen are sexually assaulted.

Profoundly moving, the film follows the stories of several idealistic young servicewomen who were raped and then betrayed by their own officers when they courageously came forward to report. Both a rallying cry for the hundreds of thousands of men and women who've been assaulted and a hopeful road map for change, THE INVISIBLE WAR is one of those rare films so powerful it has already helped change military policy.

Special Features

  • Extended Interviews
  • Sundance Post-screening Speak Out
  • VetWOW Survivor Retreat
  • PTSD Therapy Deleted Scene

The Invisible War is an engrossing, deeply moving, and disturbing documentary that likely will leave no viewer untouched. The Invisible War, directed by Kirby Dick, shines a light on one of America's most shocking occurrences--the epidemic of rape and sexual assault in the armed services. And when some victims--men and women--have come forward to report the crimes, the victims often face a second assault: commanding officers who either don't believe them or who refuse to do anything about the crime. The Invisible War traces the stories of several soldiers who have been subjected to sexual assault or rape, and their stories are just heartbreaking. One feels a sense of little hope, and yet after The Invisible War aired at Sundance in 2012, it won the Audience Award--and press coverage that began a military investigation into the ways each branch of the service handles sexual assaults. One statistic alone is shocking: more than 20 percent of active-duty servicewomen are sexually assaulted. The extras included are moving audio commentaries from the director and from producer Amy Ziering, outtakes from some of the interviews, a riveting Q and A session from Sundance after the film aired, and scenes of posttraumatic stress disorder treatment and a retreat for assault survivors. The Invisible War, though at times difficult to watch, is an important film, and one that anyone with any loved ones in the service--as well as all other Americans--simply must commit to watch. And commit to change the existing reality. --A.T. Hurley

Ariana in Marine dress (click for larger image)

Elle in front of the Vietnam Memorial (click for larger image)

Michael Dominguez's House testimony (click for larger image)

Kori and Rob (click for larger image)

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Kori Cioca, Susan Burke
  • Directors: Kirby Dick
  • Format: NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated:
    Not Rated
  • Studio: Docurama
  • DVD Release Date: October 23, 2012
  • Run Time: 98 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (243 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #50,820 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By K. Harris HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWER on October 6, 2012
Format: DVD
Filmmaker Kirby Dick made, arguably, one of my favorite documentaries with his thrilling expose of the movie ratings board (MPAA) in "This Film Is Not Yet Rated." Clearly, he is not adverse to challenging the status quo and asking the probing and provocative questions that help to define an issue. This unblinking gaze is turned onto the horrific subject of sexual assault and cover-up within the military in the eye-opening, unpleasant, and powerful "The Invisible War." And the result may leave you quite stunned and disturbed. This is certainly not a new topic, I've heard about quite a few individual cases through the years. But the quantity of these events might just surprise you and Dick uses the government's own internal statistics to support his claims. Here's a couple of examples: about 20% of women in the armed services have endured some type of sexual assault (these are just reported numbers as well) and men entering service are 15% more likely to have sexual assault in their background than a similar composition of civilian men. The Department of Defense estimates there were 19,300 service members sexually assaulted in 2010 alone! Tell me that isn't a horrifying figure.

Dick makes things extremely personal in "The Invisible War." The film is populated by a staggering number of women and men who were victimized while serving their country. Obviously, these stories are shocking and uncomfortable. The betrayal (by people they considered brothers or friends) alone has impacted many irreparably and the psychological toll is apparent. Many of the strongest emotional moments are provided by the loved ones of these former soldiers as well. The film also examines the issue from the legal side, with many experts weighing in on the handling of such cases.
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Format: DVD
To realize how timely this documentary is, I watched the DVD last night and on this morning National new on ABC-TV was a story that charges were being brought in San Francisco this week on multiple sexual assaults on women in the armed forces in San Francisco. As you will learn (among many astounding facts in this 97-minute documentary) if you watch it (and you should), no cases of these sexual assaults were brought to conviction until this past Spring (2012) when Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta watched the film and changed the rules as to who had power to make decisions in these cases.

Director Kirby Dick is best known for his Oscar-nominated film on the Motion Picture Rating Board, but this film covers an even more serious topic.

The fact that the Department of Defense estimates that 20% (!) of all females in the Armed Services have been raped will probably astound the average American. But Dick has the proof. Though at least 20 women (and, a few men - yes, men are raped in the service too), the more in depth interviews are with 3 or four women dealing with PRSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder - an anachronism surprisingly never explained in the film). A few times I though the interviews were repetitive, and could have been edited some to tighten up the film, but that's a small gripe.

The film won the Audience Award at the recent 2012 Sundance Festival and, it's good to know that New Video and Docurama are getting it out on DVD so quickly.

I watched the DVD, not the Bluray, but I don't think there is any difference in content.
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6 Comments 46 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: DVD
I'd encourage everyone to go see the film if it plays nearby. I've been reading up about it but the actual film is even more powerful. The systemic injustice suffered by these men and women is horrific. The military seems like a very hostile workplace. And it scares me to realize that the perpetrators, who often go scot-free or even promoted, may one day mix amongst us civilians without our knowing. They could create new victims in workplaces and in our neighborhoods. I am glad that the Secretary of Defense is taking some steps to improve the process, but more needs to be done. Kudos to Kirby Dick and his team for bringing this important issue to our attention.
9 Comments 42 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Amazon Video
"The Invisible War" is a 2012 documentary about rape in the United States Military. The film showcases about a few dozen women (and one man) and their firsthand accounts of the rape they experienced at the hands of trusted fellow officers. Per the film, when these women reported the assault, they were treated disgracefully. Every woman in the documentary was denied justice and in almost all of the cases, not only did the perpetrators walk away completely unscathed, but many of them were promoted to higher ranking positions.

After watching the film, I came away with a few negative perceptions of the way our armed forces are managed based on the actions of the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) in general and the U.S. Military specifically.

First, while the official numbers of rapes of enlisted men and women in the U.S. Military is roughly at 13.5% per the DOD, this is what is being reported. There are estimates that the real numbers are either double or triple that of the official numbers. Considering how poorly and unjustly the victims were treated, I can see why so many might decide not to report their assaults... especially if they want to make the military their career. Many of these women, some of whom were unmarried, were raped by married men and instead of the men being disciplined or charged, the women were demoted or had disciplinary actions taken against them for adultery! I kid you not...

Secondly, actions speak volumes. It is clear that women are not wanted or accepted as full partners/ soldiers/ comrades (whatever you want to call them) in the United States Military. If they were, what's happened would not have happened on the scale that it has.
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