SD Legislator In A Film That Could Win An Oscar In 2013

I’m going to go out on a limb and guess there is only one current South Dakota legislator who is in a film with a shot to win an Oscar next year.

StaceNelsonThat legislator is Rep. Stace Nelson of Fulton.

He took part in the heartbreaking documentary “The Invisible War” directed by Kirby Dick. The film delves into the high rate of sexual assault in the U.S. military – a reality that some have called an “occupational hazard.”

“The Invisible War” is on the shortlist of 15 films from which five final entries will be selected for Oscar consideration.

Nelson was a NCIS investigator who took part in rape and sexual assault investigations. He is consulted as an expert in the film. I want to personally express my gratitude to Nelson for talking about an issue that many would rather ignore – or cover up.

As you will see in the film, sexual assaults destroy lives. It makes people suicidal. It becomes a disease that its victims never seem to entirely overcome.

“The Invisible War” reminds us that we must go beyond patriotic platitudes and demand that our service members be protected from not only foreign enemies, but from those within the military who are predators.

The focus is largely on women victims, but don’t think this is a problem restricted to women. Rapists also target men and, not surprisingly, they are even less likely to report being assaulted than women because of the shame involved.

Here are some shocking stats from Invisible No More, a non-partisan coalition working to end sexual assault within the U.S. military and to help survivors of Military Sexual Assault heal:

Today, a woman serving in Iraq or Afghanistan is more likely to be raped by a fellow service member than to be killed in the line of fire.

The Invisible No More coalition seeks to ensure that the theatrical release of the film The Invisible War serves as a catalyst in creating a movement to cause lasting change in how the military handles sexual assault.  We engage with advocacy organizations, key policymakers, military leaders, and other stakeholders to raise public awarenesscoordinate policy, and energize the grassroots to change military policy and behavior.

While the Department of Defense claims to have a “Zero Tolerance Policy,” the numbers of sexual assault occurrences within the U.S. military have continued to rise.

• Since 2006, more than 95,000 service members have been sexually assaulted in the U.S. military

• More than 86% of service members do not report their assault

• Less than five percent of all sexual assaults are put forward for prosecution, and less than a third of those cases result in imprisonment

Watch the trailer for “The Invisible War” below. This important movie is streaming on Netflix Instant.

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