The Invisible War Review


The Invisible War is a military documentary that debuted on January 20, 2012 at the Sundance Film Festival.

When the film opens, we are introduced to women that chose a military career over other options, when they were young. Some of them had college degrees, while others had sports, college scholarship, but they still chose to go to the military.

Officer Kori Cioca was harassed by her superior officer physically and emotionally. The military officials did not want her story to go public so they encouraged her to not file a report. She was hit so hard in her jaw that it dislocated it and she still suffers from it today. The veterans hospital just prescribes her anti-anxiety and anti-depressants drugs, instead of surgically repairing her jaw. She goes to the veterans clinic, but they only order an x-ray.

Officer Jessica Hinves was also raped, but she chose to file a report. Statistics show that eighty precent of rape survivors do not report their rapes. Women are accused of giving sexual favors, just to get their promotions. Female officers are encouraged to go to bars and get drunk with the male officers. Drunken female officers that file rape reports are considered to be the cause of the attack because they were drunk, when they file a report nothing will become of it.

Hannah Sewell was raped in February 2009. She now suffers physically and mentally from the assault. The investigation continued for a year and a half. Women that choose to file a rape complaint against a male officer are treated as if they are lying. The military told her that they had lost her rape kit results and x-rays, which showed the injuries she sustained, during the attack.

Tia Christopher reported her rape to her superior officer and he tells her that she was the third lady to report rape that week. He accused her of playing games, along with the other women.

Officer Trina McDonald was raped several times, but was too scared to report the assault. Her rapist was supposed to be be her friend. She wanted to tell her father, but she was afraid that they would listen to her phone calls. After being released from the military she became homeless and drug addicted. She is now in a lesbian relationship, but still struggles with post traumatic stress disease.

Officer Michael Matthews was going to the chow hall, when he is attacked by two officers and raped. He has struggled with post traumatic stress disease ever since that day. He admitted to being married three times and still continues to struggle maintaining a normal relationship with his current wife.

The military is full of male sexual predators and they do not have a preference of the sex of the victim. Some women are gang raped, but the military does not intervene and charge the rapists with criminal charges. The air force academy and other military branches blame the women. The women that served in the marine barracks in Washington have often been raped by their superior officers. Reports are not taken seriously and they are thrown out, due to lack of evidence even though a rape kit was collected. The military has a zero tolerance to this type of behavior, but they refuse to do anything about the rapes. Many of the survivors are only existing and not living. They have admitted to contemplating suicide, but they knew how their families would feel, after they were gone and decided against it. These women had no way out because they were stuck in active service at the time of their rapes.


The Invisible War is definitely an eye opener to the number of rapes are convicted by military officials, even superior officers. This is a difficult documentary to watch because these women and men were violated by people that were supposed to have their backs. The military, congress, and the president refuse to step in and take action against the perpetrators. These individuals are scarred for life and will never recover.

After watching this documentary, I would never encourage someone to join the military. This is definitely an activist film that hopefully will wake up those people that refuse to believe or admit this is happening in our American military. The characters are definitely believable and not one of them over dramatized their story. It is sad to think that the people we depend on the protect our country from terrorists are the worst of the worst. This is a real film that should be taken seriously by everyone because military rape is an epidemic.

I am truly glad that the writer and producers chose not to use an overzealous psychiatrist to explain the mental disorders that these victims are struggling with in their every day lives. This film deserves an 8.5 out of 10.

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