"According to the Department of Defense's own estimates, more than 19,000 men and women were sexually assaulted last year in the US military." That numbing statistic was uttered on Thursday's edition of The Last Word by Kirby Dick, director of a new film about the many victims of sexual assault within America's armed forces.
The Invisible War, which host Lawrence O'Donnell previewed during the episode, is intended to bring to light a long-standing pattern of sexual abuse within the military.
"We hope that the military will see this film, own this problem, and really take it on with the same vigor and purpose that they take on all the other things that they try and do," said film producer Amy Ziering, who also appeared in the interview.
"The military has done a very good job of keeping this under wraps," Dick said. "And it's really time to get out and have people know about this. And that's why we made the film."
Both Dick and Ziering were quick to note that The Invisible War was not intended as an anti-military polemic. Nor did they intend to suggest that sexual assault perpetrators were more than a small minority within the overall service member population.
"Actually, most men in the military are horrified by this," said Dick. "They are not sexual perpetrators at all. But there's a small percentage of serial perpetrators that assault again and again. And the military has not done enough to investigate, prosecute, and incarcerate them."