The prevalence of sexual assault in the U.S. Military has been receiving some increased scrutiny
following the nomination of the film The Invisible War, which features interviews with veterans from multiple branches of the military recounting their assaults, for Best Documentary Feature at this year’s Academy Awards.
While this conversation about this crisis may be entering a new phase, the issue of sexual violence in the military is not new, as noted by New York U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand during an Armed Services Subcommittee hearing examining the issue earlier this year.
"It has been allowed to go on on the shadows for far too long," Gillibrand said.
"The scourge of sexual violence in the military should be intolerable, and infuriating, to all of us."
One journalist who has been working for years to expose the problem of rape and sexual assault in the military Helen Benedict, professor at Columbia Journalism School and the author of several works on the subject, including her 2009 book The Lonely Soldier: The Private War of Women Serving in Iraq, which tells the stories of the alienation, degradation, and imminent danger female soldiers are subjected to, not by their wartime enemies, but by their fellow soldiers.
Helen Benedict will be appearing tomorrow night at Hampshire College in Amherst, Massachusetts for a lecture on her work exposing this epidemic followed by a screening of The Invisible War on Tuesday, and she will also be speaking at The Carey Center for Global Good in Rensselaerville, New York, following a screening of the film on Saturday, April 20.
WAMC's Patrick Donges spoke with her recently and asked what prompted her to take on this issue.