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Rape in The Military

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.

Image by Gage Skidmore via Flickr

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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  1. writergirl77

    On February 16, 2011 at 8:16 pm

    well written :)

  2. N. Sun

    On February 16, 2011 at 8:21 pm

    Very informative, well done!

  3. MaxBuceo

    On February 16, 2011 at 8:21 pm

    Nice post, i like it

  4. lxdollarsxl

    On February 16, 2011 at 8:24 pm

    The military do need to act in these cases, if they dont there will be more.

  5. nocrej

    On February 16, 2011 at 8:36 pm

    They need to take these kinds of attacks seriously.

  6. Purnomosidhi

    On February 16, 2011 at 8:37 pm

    Military must take action about it.

  7. Khairul Azwan

    On February 16, 2011 at 8:43 pm

    thanx for sharing

  8. Jamie Myles

    On February 16, 2011 at 8:48 pm

    This is unconscionable and Perpetrators need to be dealt with swift and harsh.

  9. Larry Fish

    On February 16, 2011 at 8:50 pm

    Good article, and one that needs to be taken seriously.
    Commanders can’t continue to ignore that it happens.

  10. Ukrainian

    On February 16, 2011 at 9:02 pm

    Being a victim and seeing your offender day be day knowing that there is no protection for you is just awful.

  11. webseowriters

    On February 16, 2011 at 9:18 pm

    Very thanks


    On February 16, 2011 at 9:37 pm

    well the military is largely androcentric and because of that women tolerate sexual abuse. they are afraid to come forward and report them for fear that they may loose their positions and create conditions that may prevent future women from joining the military or being apart of it. sometimes reported abuse is swept under the rugs by superiors and women feel helpless to report assaults for fear it will be pointless.

  13. Armywriter

    On February 16, 2011 at 9:46 pm

    No this is not true. Though there can be circumstances in which a commander does not follow protocol, there are multiple victim advocates on every sinlge military installation. Those advocates advise all service members in regular madatory briefings of their rights as a victim, who to contact and how to go about it. They brief on the difference between restricted and unrestricted reporting. Also, ALL military and civilian hospitals have services to immediately see to it that the victim is taken care of and reports are filed and counseling is offered/recieved.

    I like your articles normally Ruby but I hate this one. This lawsuit will not go through. A commander has NO real authority in the investigation of a rape; the Military Police and special investigations units (i.e. CID for Army, NCIS for Navy and Marines and OSI for Air Force) will and do conduct investigations while presenting facts and working with Jag offices. Commanders are briefed by Unit and Installation legal advisors on how to specifically handle each and every single situation. Also, in all cases every single time there is a reported rape of a service member that report is sent directly up to the Installation Commander which is usually a middle ranking General (i.e. Major General.)

    The National Guard and Reserves have a long standing of soldiers claiming such things. Part-time soldiers don’t understand how to act with integrity.

    Like I said Ruby, you are an amazing writer and I think you are just trying to report something that is controversial but it really stains the image of the service member. The things people say about commanders and service members, the image it leaves, without them knowing the full truth or USMJ processes… it does not help people like me who have dedicated their lives to the military.

  14. Noisy Cricket

    On February 16, 2011 at 10:01 pm

    Great post. No abuse should be tolerated anywhere. Thanks for the article.

  15. trruk1

    On February 16, 2011 at 10:20 pm

    Is this why so many people in leadership positions wanted to spend so much time and energy talking about “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”? We certainly mustn’t have anybody looking at the real problem involving sex in the military.

  16. Ima Vee

    On February 16, 2011 at 10:26 pm

    Where’s the justice? THey should do something about it…

  17. Mike Davis

    On February 16, 2011 at 10:57 pm

    Both DADT and rape are serious problems in the military. To me, it is the whole macho run over anything in your path mentality that might work at killing enemies, but not at occupying a country when you need locals to cooperate. Or maintain a safe environment for soldiers of all sexes, races, persuasions, etc. Great article, great discussion.

  18. Chris Stonecipher

    On February 16, 2011 at 11:20 pm

    I have been out of the Marine Corp 16 years ago and it looks like nothing has changed. Any type of suspected abuse usually gets swept under the rug and to not \”tarnish\” the unit. Excellent work Ruby.

  19. Brenda Nelson

    On February 16, 2011 at 11:56 pm

    if you have bruises it indicates you were fighting back but being restrained from doing so more.. but to be fair each person might act differently – some might just freeze as a way for their mind to escape since they know they cannot win a ‘fight’

  20. wonder

    On February 17, 2011 at 12:02 am

    Why should victims suffer in silence? This is abominable.

  21. LCM Linda

    On February 17, 2011 at 12:31 am

    The dark side which needs extra efforts to offers justice to the victims and prevent new rape.


    On February 17, 2011 at 2:45 am

    interesting info

  23. Inna Tysoe

    On February 17, 2011 at 3:12 am

    It is, indeed, a growing problem.

  24. urguide

    On February 17, 2011 at 3:45 am

    I cannot comment just on this basis…but if this is to be believed then some serious steps need to be taken. Genrally, military is considered to be the most honest, disciplined, respected, courageous and patriotic job in the country. So, all measures should be taken to maintain it tht way and guilty should be dealth appropriately.

  25. Christine Ramsay

    On February 17, 2011 at 4:03 am

    This seems to be a very controversial topic. A well written post.


  26. Jewelstar

    On February 17, 2011 at 4:15 am

    This has been happening for decades and I’m amused why no legal action has not been taken so far.

  27. anndavey650

    On February 17, 2011 at 6:01 am

    They do it because they know they can get away with it and it’s high time someone put a stop to these horrific bullies.

  28. SharifaMcFarlane

    On February 17, 2011 at 6:58 am

    These kinds of closed groups always do things like this, not just the military, any closed group that wants to protect its image. Keep things hush hush at the expense of the one who’s been hurt.

  29. yes me

    On February 17, 2011 at 7:34 am

    A good one this Ruby all abuse should be dealt with properly and swiftly too cheers

  30. lapasan

    On February 17, 2011 at 8:36 am

    This problem of rape should be dealt with properly otherwise it will affect the image of the military as an organization. This problem might also affect the morale of the soldiers.

  31. jemialbert

    On February 17, 2011 at 12:23 pm

    good share

  32. Jimmy Shilaho

    On February 17, 2011 at 1:19 pm

    This is very sad.

  33. 1Arjun

    On February 17, 2011 at 2:58 pm

    Stories like these should definitely be an eye opener for military officials to get their act right.. but at the same time i understand the sentiments of people like Armywriter, who have served the army honestly, and incidents such as these which give these brave men a bad name.

  34. Brewed Coffee

    On February 18, 2011 at 1:40 am

    What a terrible thing to happen. The military are considered the protectors of the innocent. Why do something like that to their own people and let those perpetrators get away with it? Not doing something about it damages the image more.

  35. rajaryanme

    On February 18, 2011 at 1:40 am

    A sad concern.

  36. gaby7

    On February 18, 2011 at 5:02 am

    This is probably why there are many friendly fires in battle…I mean, how can you expect a fellow soldier to cover your tormentor in the heat of battle, especially if he is in a trench next to victim?

  37. Betty Carew

    On February 18, 2011 at 9:48 am

    It makes you wonder how much of this goes on and is sweep under the carpet without ever being brought to the surface. it is a sad situation Ruby and until it is brought into the light nothing will be changed. Great article Ruby .

  38. Freethinking

    On February 18, 2011 at 10:31 am

    The military needs to stop turning a blind eye to these hideous and disgusting crimes and take immediate disciplinary action.

  39. PR Mace

    On February 18, 2011 at 9:52 pm

    A sad well written post. You seemed to have opened a can of worms here.

  40. CA Johnson

    On February 19, 2011 at 7:02 pm

    This is terrible news. If the women were attacked, I don’t think they should suffer in silence. They should fight this cause.

  41. Tulan

    On February 20, 2011 at 11:25 pm

    Hooray for these gutsy women who will not take it lying down. I hope they win their case.

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