Everyone is shocked by the shooting in a movie theatre in Colorado. I was just as shocked by what I saw in downtown San Diego at the Gaslamp Reading a few nights ago. It was what I watched unfold on screen.
The Invisible War is the latest documentary by Kirby Dick (Twist of Faith, This Film is Not Yet Rated).
I enjoy a well-made documentary, but this is the second military one I’ve seen this year that’s made me want to shoot the screen.
Maybe I’m naïve, but I remember being a boy and watching actors like Gregory Peck screaming for justice in the court room, and getting it.
I was 21 when I interviewed a cast member of A Few Good Men, and we talked about how bizarre it was that Camp Pendleton made them stop filming there because they didn’t like how Marines were portrayed. We both thought they were shown in a good light. They did what they were told, no matter how dangerous the situation. There were just a bad apple in the bunch (Jack Nicholson), and that resulted in the death of a weaker Marine. And guess what? Justice prevailed.
It doesn’t always.
And that’s one of the reasons this is a hard movie to take. Yet it’s an important one to see. It deals with rape in the military. Now, I always feared female soldiers being captured because of torture and the possibility of rape. I never imagined it would be from our side!
It’s disturbing to think that 22,800 sexual assaults occurred last year in the military. Most of them not reported, and less than 200 of the men convicted of those assaults. It’s approximately 20% that are sexually assaulted at some point during their military career.
When you hear people say that for women in the armed forces this is an “occupational hazard,” you want to yell – It shouldn’t be! Getting shot should be, not this!
You’ll be tempted to walk out of the movie, and into your local recruiting office and slap somebody, when you hear that one victim was “dressed provocatively.”
It reminded me of a date I went on to see The Accused (another naïve thing on my part, thinking that would be a good “date movie”).
The woman I was with was Christian and felt Jodi Foster “deserved” to be raped because she dressed inappropriately and turned the guys on. I refrained from slapping her, or walking out of the restaurant where we had the argument. I kindly explained that that was the whole point of the movie. None of her actions warranted rape.
And what was it that was deemed “ dressed provocative” to the military brass? Her official uniform.
A week before I saw this movie, a friend and talented local comedian named Allison Gill, posted something on her Facebook about comedian Daniel Tosh. He had gotten into hot water because he made a rape joke.
As we all debated whether comedians should have subjects off limits, Gill said “I’m both – a comedian and a rape victim. And I say as long as it’s funny…”
I was shocked. Not about the “funny” part of her statement. That’s what comedians do. I was more shocked when she informed me that she was one of the many women interviewed for this documentary.
We had a chat about the whole thing.
Josh Board: I was surprised with what you had been through, you felt that rape jokes weren’t off limits to comedians. I had a problem with Michael Richards (Kramer) using the n-word, because it wasn’t funny and just sounded angry. Had he made a funny joke that was a bit racist, that would’ve been fine.
Allison Gill: I fully support any comedian that wants to tell a funny joke about any subject. I even have a rape joke; a really good one, too. Tosh wasn't talking about rape just for the shock value. He actually has well-thought-out humor behind his jokes. If you don't like what a comedian says on a particular subject, then deem it unfunny and move on to the next joke. If you don't like any of their jokes, you should have done a little online research before paying Daniel Tosh prices to get into the Laugh Factory.
JB: Can you tell me what actually happened to you?