Raped in the Military, Then Raped by the House of Representatives
House Republicans pile on the betrayal of friendly-fire rape
Anyone who served in the military during the last decade has heard about a woman service member who was raped by another American. Military rape is far more common than anyone would like to admit. Writing in 2008, Representative Jane Harmon opined that a serving woman was “more likely to be raped by a fellow soldier than killed by enemy fire in Iraq.”
According to the Pentagon’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office, in 2011, 3,192 sexual assaults were reported, a comparable number to the year before. Of those, 490 were court martialed, and just slightly over 100 were discharged or jailed. That’s three percent (although you’ll have to work your way through some obfuscatory math to get to that number.)
But the same Pentagon office also estimates that friendly-fire rape is vastly under reported. They estimate the real number of friendly-fire rapes at around 19,000 every year – over six times the reported number. Do the math and a service member-rapist is likely to be convicted in only one-half of one percent of estimated rapes. Only about one-quarter of 1 percent (.0025%) went to a military prison. The other quarter percent were simply separated from service, free to prey on civilian women. In fairness, leaders are now trying, but rape still mostly gets a free pass in the services.
Feeling sick yet?
Well stay near the bucket, because House Republicans are poised to again deny abortion services to service members who were raped and then became rape-pregnant. Even if they are raped by an enemy combatant they can’t get emergency abortion services.
Of the three major groups living with Post Traumatic Stress, the biggest – by far – isn’t combat veterans. It is victims of sexual assault, especially those raped by someone they trusted. The other large group is victims of violent crime. For each group, the psychological damage likely lasts for the rest of their lives.
Now imagine what it is like to be a member of all three big trauma groups: combat vets, victim of a violent crime and victim of a sexual assault by a trusted person. That’s what happens when a soldier is raped – trauma’s unimaginably horrible triple-play.
Many relive their trauma frequently, requiring continuing treatment or medication in order to work, live and even sleep. They revisit the experience whenever common triggers occur. Some will relive the experience simply by reading this. Some are triggered by seeing a rape in a movie or hearing of one on the news. Some, sadly, are forced by enlistment contract to live near and work with their rapist, revisiting the rape experience every single day.Continued on the next page