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Survivor of military sexual trauma to talk

CLU to screen Oscar-nominated documentary she is in

Posted: Friday, February 15, 2013 11:54 am PST

“The Invisible War,” which is nominated for the 2013 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature, will be screened at 7 p.m. Friday, March 8, in the Preus-Brandt Forum.

(THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – Feb. 15, 2013) California Lutheran University will present a documentary on rape in the U.S. military and a discussion with a survivor featured in the film in commemoration of International Women’s Day.

“The Invisible War,” which is nominated for the 2013 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature, will be screened at 7 p.m. Friday, March 8, in the Preus-Brandt Forum. The screening will be followed by a discussion with Allison Gill, a veteran and survivor of military sexual trauma who is featured in the documentary.

Directed by Oscar- and Emmy-nominated filmmaker Kirby Dick, the documentary investigates the epidemic of rape within the U.S. military. Today, a female soldier in combat zones is more likely to be raped by a fellow soldier than killed by enemy fire. The Department of Defense estimates there were a staggering 19,000 violent sex crimes in the military in 2010.

Gill, who served in the Navy as a nuclear reactor machinist’s mate, will speak about her experience and her efforts to stop sexual assaults by male soldiers. She went on to earn a doctorate in health administration and currently works at the Department of Veterans Affairs. She was nominated for San Diego Woman of the Year for her work with female veterans and women’s health at the VA.

“The Invisible War” won the Audience Award at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival and was nominated for Best Feature by the International Documentary Association and as the Independent Spirit Award Best Documentary. For 2012, Time named it one of the Top 10 Best Movies and the National Board of Review included it on its list of the Five Best Documentaries.

After its premiere, the film circulated through the highest levels of the Pentagon and the Obama administration. Two days after Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta watched the film, he directed military commanders to hand over all sexual assault investigations to a higher-ranking colonel. At the same time, he announced that each branch of the armed forces would establish a Special Victims Unit.

International Women’s Day was first celebrated by the United Nations in 1975 and is now celebrated around the world each year.

Preus-Brandt Forum is located south of Olsen Road between Mountclef Boulevard and Campus Drive on the Thousand Oaks campus.

CLU’s Gender and Women’s Studies Program and Center for Equality and Justice and the Thousand Oaks Branch of the American Association of University Women are sponsoring the free event. For more information, contact Akiko Yasuike at 805-493-3565 or ayasuike@callutheran.edu.

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