It's been well over a decade since Carol Fenoglio was raped by her commander in the U.S. Army Reserves, and she's still dealing with the fallout.
Evidence gathered at the time is now lost, Fenoglio told panelists gathered to discuss military sexual trauma Thursday night at the University of Utah. "How can everything disappear? Where is the accountability?" she asks.
About 50 women and men, including some, like Fenoglio, who were victims of sexual assault or harassment in the military, watched the documentary "The Invisible War," and took part in a discussion afterward.
The film, which won the audience award at the Sundance Film Festival in January, tells the stories of women and one man who were raped while in the service.
The Department of Defense's repeated promises and failure to stop the violence are a major theme of the film, as are the victims' experiences of retribution and mistreatment when they reported a comrade in arms.
Breeze Hannaford said more than 400 women and men sought treatment for military sexual trauma at the VA hospital in Salt Lake City in the past year. She's the coordinator of a program to help such victims at the George E. Wahlen Veterans Affairs Medical Center.
Besides the film and panel discussion, Hannaford's program displayed T-shirts that victims decorated as part of The Clothesline Project, a visual display to raise awareness of the abuse.
One victim painted her dark green shirt in bold white letters: "You've taken something from me that I could never get back! Why?" Another painted these words in red on a dark blue shirt: "I've died a 1,000 times from your evil. Now it's time to live."
The VA says that one in five women patients say they've experienced military sexual trauma, which can range from harassment to rape. One in 100 men report they've experienced it, as well.
Col. Dallen Atack, the human resources officer for the Utah National Guard, called the film "a kick in the gut" that he intends to show all leaders in the Guard.
The film makes the case that the military has a conflict when it controls every aspect of the prosecution providing its own police, prosecutors, jury and judge.
Many of the documentary's victims describe commanders who refused to act on rape reports because it would make their units look bad. Often, the commanders themselves were the rapists.
Atack said the military is trying to change that culture to reward commanders for how well they respond when there are problems in their ranks.
"Culture takes awhile to change. You can't just do a document or a poster or a two-hour training block and change things," Atack told the audience.
He was accompanied on the panel by Maj. Aaron Drake, who spent six years as a judge advocate in the Air Force and is now the state judge advocate attorney for the Utah National Guard.
"As a military prosecutor, I can tell you: 'This is real. It does happen,' " Drake said.
Fenoglio recounted her own Army experience, which included three years as a reservist and eight in the active- duty Army.
She was working as a legal specialist in the judge advocate's office when she was raped by a fellow reservist who was her senior, she said.
Military police investigated, she endured a "rape kit" exam and the man was arrested. Soon, however, she was moved to another unit and the man was not prosecuted. Today, he's a practicing attorney in Texas, she said.
Now that she's trying to get the Veterans Administration to rate her as disabled for the military sexual trauma, the Army can find no record of her reported rape, she said.
"How can you go back and find those missing records?" she asked.
Hannaford said she hopes to screen the documentary and have another panel discussion in October.
More about the movie
O Read The Tribune's Sundance coverage of the documentary "The Invisible War."