Makers of Groundbreaking New Documentary "The Invisible War," Exposing Epidemic of Rape in the Military, Support "32 Star Mandatory Reading" Letter on Sexual Assault Issued Today by Joint Chiefs
Filmmakers Leading National Dialogue Propose Four Immediate Steps to Curb Sexual Predators in the Military; Hard Hitting Documentary to Hit Theatres June 22nd
LOS ANGELES, CA -- (Marketwire) -- 05/08/12 --
Statement of Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering, director and producer of "The Invisible War" (www.invisiblewarmovie.com):
"The 32-star mandatory reading letter issued today by the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the commandant of the Coast Guard, shows that Washington is finally beginning to wake up to the epidemic of rape in the military.
"We applaud the 'Strategic Direction to the Joint Force on Sexual Assault Prevention and Response' letter which follows the recent statements by Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and President Barack Obama. They are very important first steps but we know, as do the numerous survivors of military sexual assault in our film, that much more needs to be done before the military can really live up to its zero tolerance policy.
"For two years we worked on 'The Invisible War' with the explicit goal of bringing attention to this problem in the military and revealing the damage it causes to our service members and society at large. We know that since our film premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in January and won the Audience Award, it has been quietly circulating with key policymakers in Washington and in the Pentagon. We are honored and humbled that since our film was first shown, President Obama, Secretary Panetta and now the top military leadership have all acknowledged that this is an issue the military must address immediately.
"In the film, we call for many of the reforms that have been announced recently. We believe these reforms, which remove decisions from the hands of lower ranking commanders, are commendable but there is still much more that needs to be done to protect our troops.
"As the film conclusively shows, the vast majority of sexual assaults in the military are committed by a small minority of service members who are serial perpetrators who carefully select, stalk, and assault their victims again and again. The DoD needs to initiate a proactive strategy to go after these 'enemies within.'"
We urge the Department of Defense to:
- Have all sexual assault complaints referred to a command that is outside of the victim's chain of command, so there will be no conflicts of interest.
- Create a sexual assault database within the Department of Defense that is required to share information with the Department of Justice civilian sexual offender database.
- End its practice of diagnosing victims of sexual assault with personality disorders and then discharging them from the military without being eligible for benefits.
- Issue a formal apology to the hundreds of thousands women and men who've been sexually assaulted in the military over the past 75 years.
The film, which will be released in theaters beginning June 22nd, examines these issues in great depth.
"We will continue to work on affecting change after the film leaves the theaters, because rape should not be an occupational hazard. We are gratified to know that our film has already helped to influence our leaders to take some initial first steps towards protecting our service members."
"The Invisible War" is distributed by Cinedigm (www.cinedigm.com) (NASDAQ: CIDM) and Docurama Films.
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