Rape in the military is a problem and commanders are not taking the abuse seriously. Abusers have found they have little to fear from their actions or their commander. Now a group of U.S. veterans have come forward to say they were abused, more than a dozen females and two males. They want an objective third party to handle these complaints because commanders have too much say in how complaints are handled.
Rape In the Military
Rape in the military is a sad but true fact but that’s not the end if it. It’s also how the military handles the situation. Often the victims are discouraged from reporting rape and when they do report it little is done. A class action was filed Tuesday by a group of U.S. veterans who say they were raped and abused by their comrades then forced to live and work along side of them. They want to force the Pentagon to change how such cases are handled. Named in the federal class-action lawsuit were Defense Secretary Robert Gates and his predecessor, Donald Rumsfield. The group of victimized veterans wants an objective third party to handle complaints because individual commanders have too much to say in how allegations are handled.
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One army reservist said that two male colleagues raped her in Iraq and video taped the attack. She complained to authorities only after the men passed the videos around because she knew how a complaint would be handled. Even though she was bruised from her shoulders to elbows by being held down, no charges were filed because her commander said she didn’t act like a victim, and that she hadn’t struggled hard enough.
Another one of the veterans group, Panayiota Bertzikis said she was raped in 2006, ” The constant verbal abuse, once a victim comes forward the entire unit is known to turn their backs on you, calling you names and ostracizing you.”
Pentagon spokesman,Geoff Morrell said in a statement that sexual assault is a wider social problem than thought and Gates has been working to ensure the military is doing all it can to prevent and respond to it.
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Sarah Albertson, a former Marine corporal who is one of the plaintiffs in the lawsuit said one of the hurdles in getting improvements in the system is that military commanders do not want any marks on their record such as rape in their unit. Albertson says she was raped in 2006 by a fellow Marine, but instead of getting help she was forced to live one floor below him for two years.
Although victims of sexual assault are not usually named, the plaintiffs in this case have publicly discussed the case. The alleged attackers in the lawsuit include an Army criminal investigator and an Army National guard commander. The abuse is anything from obscene verbal abuse to gang rape.
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