Norman Lear, Kirby Dick, ‘SEAL Team’ Actors Talk Tackling the Military on TV

Variety | 11/14/2018 | Danielle Turchiano
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A decade ago, director Kirby Dick heard a story about sexual assault in the military that he almost didn’t believe because he found it “so shocking…that the US military was not protecting their service men and women.” But he began researching and found out just how much was being covered up. It led him to create the 2012 documentary “Invisible War,” but it also led, he believes, to the bigger cultural #MeToo movement being experienced today.

“A lot of changes in society start in the military, and I think in some ways the #MeToo movement, which has blossomed, owes a debt to survivors of military sexual assault,” Dick said at the Television Academy’s Television and the Military Experience panel in Los Angeles, Calif. on Tuesday.

Film - People - Assault - Military - Film

When he made the film, there were not many people speaking out against sexual assault at all, let alone in the military, he pointed out. But after the film, “college students started speaking out and we pivoted and made another film…about sexual assault [on] college campuses,” he said. Putting such stories out through the media put them “in front of the public in a broader way,” he added, which leads to more open discussion and change.

Film Review: 'The Bleeding Edge'

Issues - People - Service - Elizabeth - Kristen

“These issues follow people when they leave the service,” said Elizabeth Kristen, founder of Legal Aid at Work’s Veterans and Military Families Project. “Sometimes people are discharged and they don’t get an honorable discharge because of something that happened to them.”

She noted that sexual assault survivors often get “administrative discharges” over “honorable discharges,” which doesn’t allow them to collect full benefits. Others were often labeled with “personality disorders,” which had negative consequences later in life during divorce proceedings, custody battles and job searches.

Paula - Coughlin - Navy - Lieutenant - Duty

Paula Coughlin, a former Navy lieutenant who was assaulted while in active duty and is now...
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