SD lawmaker participates Oscar Nominated Documentary - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

South Dakota lawmaker participates in Oscar Nominated Documentary

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A South Dakota legislator has his eye on the Oscars. 

Representative Stace Nelson from Fulton, South Dakota, participated in the Oscar-nominated documentary, "The Invisible War."  

In the feature-length film, Nelson shared his story of dealing with rape in the U.S. Military. 

"This idiot chewed her out for crying told her to stop crying over spilled milk," said Nelson in one clip from the documentary. 

The documentary confronts the growing problem of rape within the U.S. military, saying close to half a million women have been raped while serving in the military. 

Nelson shared his stories from more than 20 years of investigating rape as a naval criminal investigator. 

"You cannot help but feel the pain of those victims and they were the faces of hundreds I dealt with over my career that you know we're traumatized for life," said Nelson. 

Nelson investigated an average of 14 rapes a year while serving in Asia. 

"It is not a trivial crime in the military, it's just one of the problems was that they weren't being prosecuted to the utmost extent of the law; and that was the problem we saw quite a bit," said Nelson. 

Reliving those memories of anger and frustration for the documentary was a challenge, but Nelson says the film's growing popularity is bringing real change. 

"As a direct result of the movie, then Secretary of Defense at the time Leon Panetta made major changes within the Department of Defense that took away that immediate authority to decide on rapists, whether they were going to prosecute them or not," said Nelson. 

He says the movie is making the military a safer place and hopes it is also a tribute to the victims who have suffered in the past. 

"It gives me satisfaction knowing that in some small fashion I was able to help some of those victims get even a little more justice....a lot of those rapists that got off with a slap on their hand are squirming in their seats because of this movie," said Nelson. 

"The Invisible War" is one of five Oscar nominees for best feature length documentary.  Tune into ABC on Sunday night to see if the film will take home the Oscar.

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