Aaaaah Leur patriotisme à la con...
Every four hours a sexual assault or rape is reported in the United States Military.
A female soldier in Iraq is more likely to be attacked by a fellow soldier than killed by enemy fire.
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.
Since the lawsuit became public in February, 400 more have come forward, contacting attorney Susan Burke who is leading the case. These are likely to be future lawsuits. Right now they are anxiously awaiting a court ruling to find out if the lawsuit will go to trial. The defence team for the department of defence has filed a motion to dismiss the case, citing a court ruling, dating back to 1950, which states that the government is not liable for injury sustained by active duty personnel. To date, military personnel have been unable to sue their employer.
Whether or not the case goes to trial, it is still set to blow the lid on what has come to be regarded as the American military's dirty little secret. Last year 3,158 sexual crimes were reported within the US military. Of those cases, only 529 reached a court room, and only 104 convictions were made, according to a 2010 report from SAPRO (sexual assault prevention and response office, a division of the department of defence). But these figures are only a fraction of the reality. Sexual assaults are notoriously under-reported. The same report estimated that there were a further 19,000 unreported cases of sexual assault last year. The department of veterans affairs, meanwhile, released an independent study estimating that one in three women had experience of military sexual trauma while on active service. That is double the rate for civilians, which is one in six, according to the US department of justice.
On mydutytospeak.com, where victims of military rape can share their experiences, there are breathtaking tales of brutality and mistreatment. Only 21 years old, and weeks into her military training, Maricella Guzman says she ran to tell her supervisor in the hours after her rape at a military boot camp in Great Lakes, Illinois. "I burst into his office and said, 'I need to speak to you,' " explains Guzman, now 34, and a student at a college in Los Angeles studying psychology, who talks about many lost years when she couldn't function as a result. "One of the procedures if you want to speak to someone in the navy is you have to knock three times on the door and request permission to speak. But I didn't do that. I was too upset. So my supervisor said 'Drop', which means push-ups. So I did the push-ups. But I was still in tears. I said, 'I need to talk to you.' He said 'Drop' again. Every time I tried to say anything, he made me do push-ups. By the time I was composed in the way he wanted me to be, I couldn't say anything any more. I just couldn't." After that, Guzman didn't try to tell anyone for another eight years.
Michelle Jones says she did not want to report her rape for fear of losing her job.