The General Board of Church & Society (GBCS) has developed a resource to assist congregations in discussing the shameful situation of military sexual assaults. The resource, “A United Methodist Companion Guide to ‘The Invisible War,’” includes questions for people of faith to discuss.
These questions include:
- Do you see any similarities between the handling of sexual assault by the military and by the Church?
- What connections do you see between homophobia and sexual violence?
- What strength do people of faith have as we stand with survivors of sexual violence to hold perpetrators of violence accountable?
GBCS’s Companion Guide points to the United Methodist Social Principles on sexual assault and the treatment of persons serving in the armed forces. For example, ¶161O) states that sexual assault is wrong. “We affirm the right of all people to live free from such assaults, encourage efforts of law enforcement to prosecute such crimes, and condemn rape in any form,” the Social Principle states.
Recent cases of military sexual assault have drawn attention to this shameful situation. The Pentagon recently reported that the estimated number of military personnel victimized by sexual assault and related offenses has increased by 35% over the past two years alone.
The faith community must do our part to protect the women and men serving in our Armed Forces!
The film “The Invisible War” is a groundbreaking investigative documentary about one of the United States’ most shameful and best-kept secrets: the epidemic of rape within the U.S. military.
GBCS’s Companion Guide to the film encourages congregations to hold screenings of this gripping film, which is available through Amazon or Netflix. The guide suggests steps to take in setting up a screening. The Interfaith Domestic Violence Coalition recently held a screening of “The Invisible War” at the United Methodist Building in Washington, D.C., for example.
The Companion Guide describes the process and emphasizes the importance in preparing for your event, to download and read thoroughly “The Invisible War: Discussion & Resource Guide.” GBCS’s Companion Guide bases several of its questions for people of faith on the resource guide.
The Companion Guide also suggests other resources to help with the discussion, such as Protect Our Defenders, a national organization that honors, supports and gives voice to the brave women and men in uniform who have been raped or sexually assaulted by fellow service members. I suggest you sign Protect Our Defenders’ petition and join its e-mail list.