Rape in the US military: A female soldier in Iraq is more likely to be attacked by a fellow soldier than killed by enemy fire

13/12/2011 20:30

"It was eight years before I was able to say the word that describes what happened to me," says Maricella Guzman. "I hadn't even been in the Navy a month. I was so young. I tried to report it. But instead of being taken seriously, I was forced to do push-ups."

"I can't sleep without drugs," says Kate Weber. "But even then, I often wake up in the middle of the night, crying, my mind racing. And I lie there awake in the dark, reliving the rape, looking for a second chance for it to end with a different outcome, but he always wins."

Rape within the US military has become so widespread that it is estimated that a female soldier in Iraq is more likely to be attacked by a fellow soldier than killed by enemy fire. So great is the issue that a group of veterans are suing the Pentagon to force reform. The lawsuit, which includes three men and 25 women (the suit initially involved 17 plaintiffs but grew to 28) who claim to have been subjected to sexual assaults while serving in the armed forces, blames former defence secretaries Donald Rumsfeld and Robert Gates for a culture of punishment against the women and men who report sex crimes and a failure to prosecute the offenders.

 

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