Monday, November 7, 2016

Women Veterans’ Military Sexual Assaults (Research, Video 5:07)

Sexual trauma experienced by women serving in the U.S. military is a topic many people avoid. It’s much easier to speak only in positive terms about the military while overlooking the horrendous injustices perpetrated within. Abuse covers a range of negative behaviors, but most of the research, treatment, and outreach are focused on sexual assaults and the experiences of individuals serving in Afghanistan and Iraq. Protect Our Defenders Foundation is a human rights organization that honors, supports, and gives voice to the brave women and men in uniform who have been raped or sexually assaulted by fellow service members.

This research on women veterans’ military sexual trauma is based on reports by women who described, not only their military sexual assaults, but also barriers to reporting incidents of sexual misconduct and sexual assault, and the challenges they faced when seeking care. Research data revealed these results:

1)   Out of 52 female veterans, most (90%) were subjected to at least one form of military sexual trauma.

2)   These included eight (15%) who attempted to report the incident(s).

3)   Over half of the assailants who assaulted them were of a higher rank than the survivors.

4)   The majority of veterans remained silent due to lack of options to report the status of the perpetrators and fear of retaliation.

Nineteen year-old Army PFC LaVena Johnson was found dead on a military base in Balad, Iraq. The U.S. Army ruled Lavena's death a suicide, but an autopsy report and photographs revealed Johnson had a broken nose, black eye, loose teeth, burns from a corrosive chemical on her genitals, and a gunshot wound that seemed inconsistent with suicide. In this video, LaVena's father, John Johnson, shares his family's fight to get answers from the military about his daughter's death.

Frances Shani Parker, Author
Becoming Dead Right: A Hospice Volunteer in Urban Nursing Homes is available in paperback and e-book editions in America and other countries at online and offline booksellers.

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