Network Media

The Invisible War

Funded by: The Fledgling Fund, Women’s Donors Network, Sundance, BRITDOC

The Invisible War is 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 — 1 in 4 women will be sexually assaulted during military service. Focusing on the powerfully emotional stories of rape victims, the film is a moving indictment of the systemic cover-up of military sex crimes, chronicling the women’s struggles to rebuild their lives and fight for justice.

The major impact of this campaign can be seen in the top level of political buy-in on the issue as well as the way that the military has begun to address Military Sexual Assault head-on in a public sphere as well as behind the scenes. A total of 5 Senate hearings on the issue of sexual assault in the military have been held, and 35 legislative reforms have been passed. These include measures to bar criminal felons with assault histories from enlisting, a whistleblower protection act, and more. Secretary of Defense Panetta publicly credited the film for influencing his decision to revise military policy on sexual assault within two days of seeing The Invisible War.

The issue has also gained traction in popular entertainment. Executive Producers and writers on shows such as House of Cards, Law and Order: SVU, Scandal, and others have publicly credited the film with bringing the issue of military rape to their attention, which has subsequently been included in these shows’ storylines.

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This film received the Henry Hampton Award at the 2014 Media Impact Festival. Find out more about the film’s funding and impact in its full festival case study.