Sen. Gillibrand Credits The Invisible War with Shaping New Bill

Kori Cioca, US Coast Guard, and husband Rob in an emotional interview.

Kori Cioca, US Coast Guard, and husband Rob in an emotional interview in The Invisible War.

The Invisible War has received big love and recognition from Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell. The New York Senator, who serves as the chair of the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Personnel, plans to reveal a newly drafted bill next week that will address the issue of sexual assault in the military. She credited The Invisible War (premiering May 13 on Independent Lens) with shaping her approach.

“One of the reasons why The Invisible War was so effective: It put a face on this issue,” Sen. Gillibrand said on The Last Word With Lawrence O’Donnell. “Those were real victims telling their stories. And that’s why, as Chairwoman of the Personnel Subcommittee on the Armed Services Committee, my first hearing was on sexual assault and rape in the military, and I had the victims testify first to tell their stories.”

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At the top of the segment, O’Donnell credited the documentary with drawing his and Sen. Gillibrand’s attention to the issue.

“This story has just mushroomed over time, starting with both of us seeing that amazing documentary, The Invisible War, Kirby Dick made that really opened my eyes to this issue,” O’Donnell said. “You’re on the Armed Services Committee, you’ve been studying it, and it’s come to this point where we found this week Colonel Jeffrey Krusinski, who’s in charge of the Air Force’s control of sexual assault cases, ends up charged with it himself. Hence the frustration you exhibited this week, a greater level of frustration than we’ve had before.”

Sen. Gillibrand will introduce a bill that enables victims of sexual assault in the military to file their case with a JAG prosecutor, instead of their commanding officers. It would also prevent commanders from changing a verdict, which they currently have the power to do.

The Invisible War premieres Monday, May 13, 2013 at 10pm (check local listings).

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  • Johnvet

    MILITARY TRAINING SHOWED DISRESPECT FOR WOMEN. In the fall of 1966 my drill sergeants told us to always call a female officer ma’am, as in the phrase “wham bam, thank you ma’am.” They said men who are soldiers suffer from a Hawaiian disease, “Lacka nookie” and the cure for it is “WAC a laya.” Does basic training and other military training still have many phrases that cause disrespect for military women?

  • Shelley Minturn

    patting themselves on the back NOW for an issue decades old? as a victim myself, the scarring and shame never really were addressed…. nothings going to change…

  • nburns

    Eye-opening program. I think the message that may be getting lost on the public is that the perpetrators are not good soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines whose judgment is temporarily impaired by the stresses of military service, but a small number of determined, calculating serial offenders, exploiting the military command structure in order to commit violent crimes with impunity. At least, the message seems to have been lost on SAPRO.

    • John Troy

      Just saw a rebroadcast of the program. “A small number of …serial offenders,”–and the military’s failure to decisively deal with them–may largely be true, but scandals such as the Tailhook conference and the Air Force Academy epidemic suggest the problem is a lot broader. We don’t rape our enemies, just our service personnel! I think we the public need to take action, as the military and Congress seem unable stop the abuse. Maybe it’s time for a “Military Rights Movement;” I suggest the slogan, “Dishonorable Service–Stop Military Sexual Abuse.”

  • Lynda Dokken

    I was raped in Marine Corps in 1967; and did a short inventory of women veterans conference I attended in 1992; more than fifty percent of women admitted they experienced rape or assault at that time. We have gone through this time and time again and still no resolution. The only way we can stop this is take control from commanding officers as that is where the system gets tied up; such as in my caee. Also the Va is not the greatest help either as have been put into all male groups for PTSD and some of them were perpretators. How do we stop it? good question but needs to be stopped;….now. It took me over ten years after I filed for a VA claim that I was finally granted full and complete 100% for assault/rape in the military. I have not been able to work since breakdown in 1995.

  • sock puppet

    The issue of sexual assault in the military arises entirely from
    politically inspired attempts to force the military to pay no attention
    to gender and sexual preference in selecting and assigning personnel.

    failure of simple reason is a decisive factor in the decline of US
    power. While the US military is able to stand off and blow up almost
    anything, its capability for anything more has been severely weakened.

    If you want a citation, consider the course of US military actions since the Vietnam war.

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