My sister is in the Navy. Ever since she started talking about it when she was seventeen, I was scared that she might get molested in some way. I joked about getting her a chastity belt when she finally did sign on that dotted line. I joked but the fear for me was very real. I feared for her because I knew that women entering the military are twice as likely to get assaulted than a woman in the civilian world. As far as I know, she has not had to experience any of the pain that someone goes through after getting assaulted, but it is still an ever-present danger that she has to face every time she goes to work. This danger is very real and just not made up in a concerned older sister’s mind. This documentary explores the culture that makes molestation a normal thing. And it couldn’t be any more heart breaking.
Kirby Dick is an amazing documentarian that lets his subjects speak for themselves. You barely ever hear him and it is usually just to ask more questions. You don’t see him holding their hands, personally battling against the system for them or anything else that more annoying issue documentarians do. Instead he lets the subjects stand up for themselves, tell their own stories, and just document the events. It is a breath of fresh air after watching South of the Border. There are still real issue documentarians that can keep their egos out of the frame.
I am going to tell you this right away: this film is very hard to watch. The raw emotion and injustice for these women and men can be overwhelming. When Kori Cioca (one of the main subjects of the documentary) details how her story, the sadness and inability to stop it from happening to her was overwhelming for me. In another particularly moving account a father whose daughter had gotten raped burst into tears because he was the one that encouraged her to go into the military. After hearing these stories, I want to yell and scream at the military for not doing more for these victims. Denying them rank, being investigated for adultery when it was the rapist who was married not the victim, denying them health insurance and a due process through the courts of law is just plain inhumane. It makes me mad just thinking about it. There needs to be fundamental changes in the system that makes the fact being a woman be an asset instead of a hinderance. More and more women are joining the ranks everyday. We need the power, the ingenuity and the smarts that only a woman can give to our military in order to make it better than it is. And yet no one seems to care to make the system more hospitable to women. I want to be able to recommend going into the military to women who are struggling with school or a purpose in life. I want to be able to tell them that you are going to be taken care of, if anything were ever to happen to you. But I can’t. Not until something is done.