Brought to CSUN by the Veteran’s Resource Center, “The Invisible War,” which screened in the USU Theater on Thursday, is an investigative documentary film that dives deeply into the unspoken war sexual assault and rape victims are fighting in the armed forces.
Following the screening, both the director and producer of the film and former victims and veterans spoke out in a paneled discussion.
Director Kirby Dick and producer Amy Ziering set out to tell the stories of the women and men who have been forced into living their lives with a dark cloud over their heads and hearts.
“This is something that has been submerged in our culture. We needed to talk to as many people as possible,” said Dick.
The thousands of sexual assault cases reported by military victims often see no justice, and the same goes for the other thousands that go unreported.
The film showcased the brave women who tried to take action against their sexual assaulters and ends with a shocking and upsetting truth. Not a single victim’s perpetrator saw any real repercussion, and in many of the cases, the victim was punished and discharged for falsifying claims.
“We want to disseminate this as much as possible,” said Ziering.
The film debuted at the Sundance Film Festival but has been shown on a wide variety of platforms, including college campuses and even as a training video for many military basic training camps.
Both Dick and Ziering have become advocates for the victims. Hoping their film will help raise awareness, the two have campaigned to get their film shown all the way at the top.
Just two days after Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta saw the film, he took away the prosecution rights that the legally untrained Commanders in Chief of each branch had previously had and been exercising in sexual assault cases.
“It is sad that it took a film to make a difference,” said Maricela Guzman, veteran and rape victim.
“I want to know, what happens ten years from now when this is no longer a hot topic,” said Guzman.
Sati Tonoyan, senior social work major, heard about this screening from fellow classmates at CSUN.
“I felt the film was very educational, especially to see how little is done in so many of these cases, it’s disheartening,” said Tonoyan.
Riley Anderson, junior art history major, said it is great that the film is being used by some military branches as a training video.
“It is a travesty that almost none of the offenders have been brought to justice,” said Anderson.
Monteigne Staats Long, coordinator for the Veterans Resource Center on campus at CSUN, said it is shocking.
“The lack of disregard for what these women and men have experienced is absolutely shocking,” said Long.
The VRC is planning on continuing to bring awareness of female veterans to CSUN by spotlighting them and their experiences coming next semester.