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).