Sunday, October 25, 2009

Rape in the Ranks: The Enemy Within

This is a synopsis of the 28 minute French film by Pascale Bourgau who interviewed US military women raped on duty. It's been seen on European TV but not in the US. Pascale, a reporter for the Belgian channel RTBF (Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Syria, Lebanon), while six months pregnant, along with Anne Barrier, toured the United States to meet these women and tell of their pain, rebellion and today, their struggle. The documentary was selected for the New York Independent Film Festival and will be shown Monday evening, October 26 at 5:45pm at the City Cinema East, 181 2d Ave, NYC. Following the showing of "Rape in the Ranks", we will have a panel to discuss rape in the US military at the Telephone Bar and Grill, 149 2nd Ave (212-529-5000). See Filmmaker Pascale Bourgaux is available for interviews. Her telephone is 212-982-0684 and 646-2638402.
Raped by their comrades, Tina, Jessica, Suzanne and Stephanie have been ignored by U.S. military officials in seeking justice. Though the Pentagon acknowledged receiving 3,000 reports of sexual assault in 2006 alone, and had launched a rape prevention program in 2004, the number of reported sexual assaults has since skyrocketed, but not the number of convictions. Only 2% of accused rapists are ever brought before a courts martial. Very few women have been willing to speak out, with the exception of these four brace women. Unable to stand the nightmarish daily rapes by her commander in Iraq, 21-year-old Suzanne refused to report back for mission and was brought before a courts martial. 25-year-old Jessica was raped in the U.S. and Korea, yet still dreams of going back to active service and seeing her attackers brought to justice. Stephanie has come to regret never reporting her own rape and perpetuating the law of silence. 20-year-old Tina, who was raped in Iraq, is no longer around to recount her nightmare. She supposedly "killed herself." Her mother claims she was murdered. This report tells the story of their pain, revolt, and uphill battle for justice.
Image captions: Left: Pascale Bourgaux interviewing Ann Wright, a former colonel who resigned before the war in Iraq; now a pacifist and defender of the cause of raped female soldiers (Washington, outside the White House). Right: Jessica and her husband Brendan Brinkman.

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