Moving Words in association with the Veterans Education Project presents:

The Lonely Soldier Project: testimony from women at war in Iraq

by Helen Benedict

Performances will be on Veteran’s Day Weekend:  Friday 8th & Saturday 9th November at 6pm & 8pm

First Churches, 129 Main Street, Northampton

Helen Benedict is a professor of journalism at Columbia University and the author of six novels and five books of nonfiction. In 2009, she published The Lonely Soldier:The Private War of Women serving in Iraq that contains fuller stories of many of the women also featured in this non-fiction play. Benedict created most of the monologues from taped interviews, but some are combined with letters the soldiers wrote by email. None are fictionalized. The names of the soldier and their families and friends, along with some identifying details have been changed to protest their privacy.  Benedict has testified twice to Congress on behalf of the women soldiers. Her work on women soldiers inspired a class action lawsuit in 2011 against the Pentagon and Defense Secretaries Rumsfeld and Gates on behalf of members of the military who were sexually assaulted while serving. Her work has also inspired the Oscar-nominated 2012 film The Invisible War.

Specialist Maria Sanchez                                    Tiahna Harris

Sergeant Terris Dewalt-Johnson                        Trenda Leftin

Specialist Anna Peterford                                    Robyn Spateholts

Sergeant Miriam Ruffolo                                    Brianna Sloane

Sergeant First Class Santiaga Flores                   Hala Lord

 Partial listing of past events:

April 2013 Public events to document and explore an ongoing epidemic of military sexual assault

 When Survivors Tell Their Stories: The untold story about sexual assault in the military:  Monday, April 8, 7:30 p.m., Main Lecture Hall, Franklin Patterson Building, Hampshire College, Amherst MA.  Author Helen Benedict discusses her research and writing about what was, until recently, one of America’s most shameful and best kept secrets: an epidemic of sexual assault within the U.S. military. Her book, The Lonely Soldier, along with her articles, play and her novel, Sand Queen, publicly exposed the high incidence of rape in the military and documented how traditional military culture enables assault. Benedict’s work also revealed the untold stories of veterans who still struggle with the emotional aftermath abuse of their military experience, inspiring the 2013 Academy Award-nominated documentary “The Invisible War,” which will be screened at Hampshire Tuesday, April 9, at 7:30 p.m. Marianne Winters, the Executive Director of Safe Passage, a Northampton domestic violence intervention and prevention organization, and Beverly Prestwood Taylor, director of the Brookfield Inst., a group that works with women veterans, will make brief comments after Benedict’s Monday presentation.  Helen Benedict Poster

The Invisible War: Tuesday, April 9, 7:30 p.m., East Lecture Hall, Franklin Patterson Building, Hampshire College, Amherst MA.  The first public Pioneer Valley screening of the 2013 Oscar-nominated documentary “The Invisible War,” a groundbreaking piece of investigative film making that paints a startling picture of the extent of rape in the military and offers a powerful indictment of the systemic cover-up of military sex crimes. Today, female soldiers serving in combat zones are more likely to be raped by a fellow soldier than killed by enemy fire. At the heart of “The Invisible War” are moving interviews that chronicle the struggles of rape survivors struggling to rebuild their lives and fight for justice, both for themselves and for women in the military. The New York Times called the 2013 Oscar-nominated work “one of the ten best films of the year.” Filmmakers Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering credit the writing and research of Helen Benedict as the inspiration for their documentary. Benedict, who is speaking at Hampshire College on Monday evening, April 8, will comment on the film and answer questions following the Hampshire screening. Army veteran Judy Atwood Bell, who was sexually assaulted while in the military, will participate in the discussion. Bell has been diagnosed and treated for Military Sexual Trauma and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. She now is an advocate for policy changes in the military to help protect women from harassment and assault. Invisible War Poster

These events are co-sponsored by the Veterans Education Project, Hampshire College Humanities Faculty, Hampshire College Spiritual Life, Safe Passage, NELCWIT, the Brookfield Institute, The Office of the District Attorney/Northwestern District, the Veterans Justice Partnership, Central Hampshire Veterans Services, the Center for Women and Community, GCC Peace, Justice and Environmental Studies, Traprock Center for Peace and Justice, and Voice Male Magazine.  For more information call VEP at 413-253-4947, or email

Helen Benedict will be interviewed on the Bill Newman Morning Show, 9 a.m. to 10 a.m., on Tuesday morning, April 9, WHMP, 1400 on your AM dial.

Deerfield Academy: Theater of War   This acclaimed production, which has played to over 200 audiences internationally, will combine readings from Classical Greek theater by professionals with a panel of war veterans and military family members sharing their first-person insights about the realities of going to war, homecoming, and the human costs of war. (May 2012)

Eric Carle Museum: Double Victory: Negro League Baseball, the segregated Army and the struggle to integrate America   Award winning art work and veterans’ oral histories are the vehicles we will use to explore the legacies of segregation and celebrate the achievements that set the stage for the civil rights victories of the 50s and 60s. (May 2012)


 Local Fall Events 2011Northampton Community Read Events with On The Same Page, Tim O’Brien’s The Things They Carried

  Forbes Library  www.forbeslibrary/OTSP 

At UMASS Amherst:    WAR VETERANS – A Commemoration through Art, Theater, Literature, and Film  The VEP is proud to be participating in this exciting collaboration with the UMass Fine Arts Center, the Springfield Vet Center, the UMass Student Center Art Gallery, and UMass Veteran Services.  We will be co-sponsoring a series of public events at UMass in November, 2011, that respond to the war experience through media such as visual art, theater, photography, and poetry. Many of the featured artists will be veterans.

View newsletter articles on past VEP events


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