Documentary about U.S. military rape epidemic gets Oscar nod

“The Invisible War” is a documentary that exposes rape in the US military. It’s looking to uncover what it says is an epidemic of sexual assault that has been ignored for too long.

Not anymore, though.  Yesterday the film was nominated for an Academy Award.

It’s been four years since Jessica Hinves says she was raped while serving in the Air Force.  Her story is featured in the film.

“This will be a connection point for people to understand and then we can change from there,” Hinves says.  “During the investigation he was awarded senior airman of the quarter at military profession of the year award. I was discharged having PTSD from rape.”

What happened to Jessica is all too common, according to the film.

The Department of Defense estimates there were 19,000 sexual assaults in 2010 alone.

After decades, the film says, there’s been little to no change in how the military deals with rape and its victims. Jessica hopes people will finally open their eyes.

“People believe in the military,” she says. “They believe in the system and they feel like it’s going to be handled, but I lived it. I can tell you it’s not being handled properly, in so many facets, almost too much to talk about.”

Jessica is still dealing with what happened that night on base, but finds comfort and strength from others like her. She is now out of the Air Force and lives in Hampton with her husband and two children.

With the documentary’s success, she believes change is on the forefront, but there is still a long way to go.

“I would love to tell my daughter to enlist in the military, but not the way it is now,” she says. “There’s no way I would put her in a climate where rape is acceptable and covered up.”

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