Sunday, July 21, 2013

Most sexual abuse in military is covered up because of fear.

NY Times   Among the scores of memories that Tiffany Lucas collected during her years as a Marine gunnery sergeant, she wears most of them with pride.  [...]

But the memory that has haunted her was her failure to push back against a commander who told her not to report a young female recruit who said she was raped by a male Marine, who, Ms. Lucas said, went on to assault two more women. 

“I was too weak to stand up to my commanding officer,” said Ms. Lucas, who served in the Marines for 11 years, including in Falluja, Iraq, in 2006 and 2007. “I really wish I had done something. If I could go back in time, I would stand up for her.” 

In Oceanside, a scrappy beach town 10 miles south of Camp Pendleton, the Marine base that sprawls for 125,000 acres along the Southern California coastline, almost everyone who has served has a story to tell about sexual misconduct in the military. Some were harassed or assaulted themselves, while others worked among men and women who were victims of abuse.
But in more than a dozen long interviews, veterans and active-duty military personnel here sounded a consistent theme: they believe commanders in charge of deciding which cases to prosecute conceal far too much out of fear that the cases will taint their careers. 

“It’s a huge problem, mainly because of the fact it goes unreported,” said Jimmy Coats, who served in the Navy for eight years and was raped, he said, by a man he had been dating.[...]

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