Those words were written yesterday by boophus in a response to a question I asked her in my diary, It's Not About SEX. It's About POWER. The diary was about Military Sexual Trauma (MST) and the panel who presented at NFTT's invitation at Netroots Nation. Boophus had bravely shared her story with us and I asked if going to see the film would be too difficult, if it would bring back too many unwanted memories. And her response bears repeating:

I will watch and be a witness.
Will you join boophus and I and stand witness for the women and men who are suffering from MST?

Today, The Invisible War opens in 4 cities across the United States: Washington DC, New York, San Francisco, and Santa Monica. This film is about a silent epidemic happening in our Armed Forces. The stories of several women and a few men reveal a fault line in our military, one that runs deep and wide but is hidden from view.

If you can't see the movie today, you can check the schedule for more options coming up later this month and in early July. Or you can schedule a screening in your own home or neighborhood. Please be witness to this atrocity and learn how you can help prevent more sexual assault and sexual harassment from occurring.

I will be the first to admit that I did not want to see this film. It won't give you warm fuzzies. You might even be wondering why you should care about what is going on in our military. Let me tell you whyin the words of the film's producer, Amy Ziering:

We’re getting more losses from [MST] than we are from our combat situation.
This is our US Military we're talking about - we are losing women from our forces faster than we are losing men and women in combat. These are women who are well trained and many of them are the epitome of what we want to see in both the officer and enlisted corps. As members of our Armed Services, they are OUR responsibility. WE need to figure out ways to help them and this film points US in the right direction.

Below the fold, I have another excerpt from a recent Think Progress interview with Amy Ziering (thanks for the lead, bjedward!) and an action item that you can do today (no, it's not going to see the film!).

If you're concerned that Amy Ziering has given us an uber-leftist view of the military, you would be wrong. This film does a great job of showing pride in service - actually, the women shown served with honor and most of them would prefer to still be serving today. The crimes committed against them are two-fold - not only were they sexually assaulted but they were abandoned by their military unit out in the proverbial field of battle. I can't imagine a worse fate for a member of the military.

And there is a solution. From Amy herself:

You start with the commanders. Any time I talk to anybody, and I say tell me about your career in military, the difference has been the commander. Any interview, I can underline the section where they say that. The commanders have to be accountable.
This film could be the push that helps the military chain-of-command see MST in a new light. They are already doing a lot - there are trainings and meetings and new organizations, always signs that the military is aware of a problem but may not know the best way to deal with it. A lot of what they are trying only makes them feel better; it doesn't actually solve the problem.

There are a few ways to place pressure on the military to change and you have direct access to one of them! As civilians, you can call your Congressman. Wait, don't stop reading! I'm serious - TODAY, you can call and ask to speak with the aide for military affairs. He or she might be called the aide for veteran affairs. Either way, that person will know more about military related issues than anyone else on the Congressman's staff. Convince them to go see this film. Call today... after all the film is showing in the middle of Washington DC at the E-Street theaters, a short walk from the Halls of Congress. Who knows, maybe that aide doesn't have plans for tonight and they'll join me and my husband in those darkened theatre seats and learn something that they didn't know before.

Originally posted to Military Community Members of Daily Kos on Fri Jun 22, 2012 at 08:45 AM PDT.

Also republished by DKos Military Veterans and Sluts.

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