Documentary about military sexual assault gets Oscar nod

**Trigger warning**

If you haven’t seen The Invisible War yet, you really should. It’s about the staggering number of women who have been sexually assaulted by their comrades while serving in the United States Armed Forces. It’s about how those sexual assaults are denied and ignored and explained away and how the women who report them are punished rather than the men who perpetrate them. It’s about what that experience will do to a woman: post traumatic stress disorder, suicidal tendencies, an overwhelmingly sense of betrayal.

Yesterday, the Academy Award nominations were announced, and I’m so pleased to say that The Invisible War is in the running for Best Documentary. It’s a crucial piece of film making, so powerful that within two days of watching it, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta decided to change the military’s policy for investigating sexual assault. And it’s really hard to watch. It’s brutal, at times. But if you can watch it, you should. It’s available on Netflix and for purchase on Youtube.

New York, NY

Chloe Angyal is a journalist and scholar of popular culture from Sydney, Australia. She joined the Feministing team in 2009. Her writing about politics and popular culture has been published in The Atlantic, The Guardian, New York magazine, Reuters, The LA Times and many other outlets in the US, Australia, UK, and France. She makes regular appearances on radio and television in the US and Australia. She has an AB in Sociology from Princeton University and a PhD in Arts and Media from the University of New South Wales. Her academic work focuses on Hollywood romantic comedies; her doctoral thesis was about how the genre depicts gender, sex, and power, and grew out of a series she wrote for Feministing, the Feministing Rom Com Review. Chloe is a Senior Facilitator at The OpEd Project and a Senior Advisor to The Harry Potter Alliance. You can read more of her writing at

Chloe Angyal is a journalist and scholar of popular culture from Sydney, Australia.

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Join the Conversation

  • Anjana

    I had the opportunity to view this with my college’s National Organization for Women. It’s heart-wrenching, moving, and very real. Our women in uniform deserve better treatment; after seeing this film, let’s hope that officials in Defense give that to them.

  • Kristin

    I am going to go watch this now. I was in the military for 6 years. Harassed but never assaulted. I feel extremely lucky after seeing this clip and hearing some of the stories I have heard. The DoD needs to do a better job of protecting the right assets and punishing criminals.

  • Dan C

    Sadly, this continues to be extremely underreported. I can only hope that the nomination garners more attention to it.

    These women put their lives on the line in the name of our country. Then they get raped. Then it gets covered up. By all rights, it ought to be front page news.

  • John

    This is so depressing. If someone can rape a person they count on to stay alive, what chance is there to stop rape?