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Sexual Assault in the Military: A DoD Cover-Up?

Posted on Aug 1, 2008
Maria Lauterbach

Marine Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbach, who reported being raped in May 2007, was found dead, along with her unborn child, in January 2008 in the backyard of the suspect in the case, Marine Cpl. Cesar Laurean.

By Col. Ann Wright

There was quite a struggle in Congress this week. The Department of Defense refused to allow the senior civilian in charge of its Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office (SAPRO) to testify in Thursday’s hearing on sexual assault in the military. Rep. John Tierney, chair of the House Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs, angrily dismissed Principal Deputy Undersecretary of Defense Michael Dominguez from the hearing when Dominguez said that he, the DoD chief of legislative affairs and the chief of public affairs, had ordered Dr. Kaye Whitley, chief of SAPRO, to refuse to honor the subpoena issued by the subcommittee for her appearance. 

Full committee Chairman Henry Waxman called the DoD’s decision to prevent Whitley from testifying “ridiculous and indicating DoD is covering something up.” It could also place Whitley in contempt of Congress. Rep. Christopher Shays said the DoD’s decision was “foolish.”

One of the questions that would have been put to Whitley was why DoD had taken three years to name a 15-person civilian task force to look into allegations of sexual assault of military personnel. The panel was finally named early in 2008 but has yet to meet. She would have also been queried on the SAPRO program’s failure to require key information from the military in order to evaluate the effectiveness of sexual assault prevention and response programs.

I spoke with Dr. Whitley in April 2007 and had asked for an appointment to bring to her office four military women who had been sexually assaulted and wanted to tell her in what ways the DoD programs to prevent sexual assault were not working. Whitley declined, saying she worked at the policy level, and steered me to the chief of the Army sexual assault program. I called the Army program’s chief, who initially said she would talk to our group. However, when I mentioned that the mother of Army Spc. Suzanne Swift, who had been raped in Iraq, would be with us, she said she could not meet with anyone involved with an ongoing case. I replied that Swift’s case was closed as far as the Army was concerned. Her rapist had not been prosecuted, and Swift ended up with a court-martial and 30 days of jail time because she had gone AWOL for her own protection when the Army would not move her out of the unit to which both she and her rapist were still assigned. In view of the fact that the Army chief of prevention of sexual assault refused to meet with any of the four women who had suggestions on how to improve prevention and reporting of sexual assault and rape, I’m not surprised that the DoD snubbed Congress over the same issue.

Rep. Elijah Cummings joined Rep. Waxman in speaking of cover-ups. Cummings raised the cases of military women who had been sexually assaulted before dying in “non-combat incidents.” He spoke specifically about Army Pfc. LaVena Johnson, who was found beaten and dead of a gunshot wound at Balad Air Base, Iraq, in a burning tent owned by the contractor KBR. Her parents suspected that Johnson had been murdered and that the homicide was being covered up by the Army, which deemed the death a suicide. Cummings also spoke of Army Pfc. Tina Priest, who was raped at Taji, Iraq, and found dead 10 days later of a gunshot wound. After her family had measurements taken of her arms and of the angle of the bullet and found that she could not have pulled the trigger of her M-16 with her finger, the Army said she had pulled the trigger by using her toe. Cummings asked Lt. Gen. Michael Rochelle, chief of U.S. Army personnel, for assistance in getting all the documents the Army had on Johnson’s death. Additionally, four House members have asked for congressional hearings on the deaths of military personnel who have been classified as suicides, among them LaVena Johnson.


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The fireworks with DoD followed the dramatic testimony of Mary Lauterbach, the mother of murdered pregnant Marine Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbach, who had been raped in May 2007 at Camp Lejeune, N.C. Accused in the case is Marine Cpl. Cesar Laurean. After the rape, several protective orders were issued to keep Laurean away from his victim. The burned body of Lauterbach and her unborn baby were found in a shallow grave in the backyard of Laurean’s home in January 2008. Laurean fled to Mexico, where he was subsequently apprehended, and he now is awaiting extradition to the United States to stand trial. Lauterbach’s mother explained in great detail the warning signs that Laurean was a danger to her daughter and claimed that all these signs were ignored by the Marine Corps.

Two other military women have been murdered near military bases in North Carolina in the past two months.

Red Cross employee Ingrid Torres told the subcommittee of being raped at Kunsan Air Base in South Korea by an Air Force flight doctor. She spoke of the difficulty she had obtaining medical and emotional treatment from the facility where the doctor still worked, and later from military facilities in other parts of the world where she was assigned.

Rep. Jane Harman cited Veterans Administration statistics that one in three women in the military has been sexually assaulted. She said the prosecution rate of those accused of raping fellow military service members is abysmally low. Of the 2,212 reported rapes in the military in 2007, only 8 percent of the cases ended in court-martial of the perpetrator, while the rate of prosecution in civilian courts is 40 percent.

Lt. Gen. Rochelle, the Army chief of personnel, reported the little known statistic that 12 percent of reported rapes in the military are of male military personnel.

Rep. Shays said he had no confidence in DoD or the military services and their policies of prevention of sexual assault, and asked how recruiting will fare when young women learn that one in three women is sexually assaulted and when young men find out that one in 10 men is raped while in the military.

Brenda Farrell, director of the Government Accountability Office, said that getting data on rape from the military services is difficult because there are no common definitions of terms for the services to use in such cases.

Farrell said the GAO believes rates of sexual assault currently used by DoD are low because many military personnel do not want to report what happened and suffer the gossip, harassment and stigma prevalent in units when confidential reporting is compromised. In a survey of 3,757 persons on 14 military installations, 103 said they had been sexually assaulted in the past year and had reported it, while 52 others said they did not report the sexual assault.

Several Congress members spoke of lack of leadership and accountability in stopping sexual assault. The same day as the sexual assault hearing, the Navy relieved two senior officers of the USS George Washington because of the injury to 23 sailors and $70 million in damage to the ship caused by a smoking violation. Imagine if commanders in units where rape occurred were relieved of command for the harmful actions of their subordinates. That would send a signal of zero tolerance of sexual assault, whereas in the current climate victims are intimidated and alleged perpetrators are given administrative punishment instead of court-martial.

Sexual violence against both female and male military personnel must stop. Let Congress know of your concern about sexual assault in our military. Call or e-mail members of the House and Senate Armed Services committees and members of the Oversight and Government Reform committees.

Ann Wright is a retired Army Reserve colonel and a 29-year veteran of the Army and Army Reserves. She was also a diplomat in Nicaragua, Grenada, Somalia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Sierra Leone, Micronesia, Afghanistan and Mongolia. She resigned from the Department of State on March 19, 2003, in opposition to the Iraq war. She is the co-author of “Dissent: Voices of Conscience” (

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By Bruce, March 23, 2010 at 7:51 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I was a male Marine only 19 years old when I was sexually brutalized on Guam back in 1979. My stressor event made the Abugrade prison assaults a cake walk. The USMC tried to cover up the assault by removing all records. Only through a congressional request was a note of the event found on my dental records. The VA administration has been fighting my claim for close to 10 years now with no sigh of an appeal hearing for over 2 years. I was diagnosed with PTSD back in 2003. My whole life has been a day to day survival. I have lost everything and my situation just gets worse as I get older. At this point in time I would consider any help I could recieve.

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By M Henri Day, August 7, 2008 at 6:42 am Link to this comment

The interesting thing is that whereas the pervasive «hazing» in the Russian military (which must certainly have its own «sexual» component) is a not infrequent topic in so-called «Western», not least US, corporate media, the same practices in one’s own military go almost completely unreported. I can’t help but regarding this as on a par with that type of reporting of, e g, torture by the US military and associated agencies which implies this is due to «our guys» being corrupted by the reading of Chinese tests on interrogation methods from the period of the Korean War. As it is unlikely that a knowledge of written Chinese sufficient to make perusal of these documents (in the event they exist) is particularly widespread among US personnel, the question of who orders them translated into English necessarily arises. And yet another : what foreign books had those who issued these orders read that they themselves had become so corrupted ? For obviously «we» are born innocent, until such time as contact with those dastardly foreigners destroys our inherent goodness….


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By Hesperion, August 5, 2008 at 12:19 pm Link to this comment

““harry hanmar

You are trying to make females into men.

Feminising the defence force.

Women should be in the home.”“

...And just when we thought all the dinosaurs were extinct…

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By Paul_GA, August 5, 2008 at 7:16 am Link to this comment

The best thing young women can do about this is to just not join up, period. Don’t listen to the recruiters, and don’t take the candy they profer as bait (college money, jobs, travel, etc.).

There are better, more honorable things to do than be a part of the Imperial Military (Ave, Caesar! Morituri te salutant!).

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By harry hanmar, August 5, 2008 at 12:55 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

It is amazing the political correctness in these western countries.

You are trying to make females into men.

Feminising the defence force.

Women should be in the home.

enemies would love to fight 50% female army.  It would make the job easy.

The corrupt west.

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By Hesperion, August 4, 2008 at 12:37 pm Link to this comment

I assume you all are aware that this is far from the only instance of this type of thing. There is military personnel and then add the Blackwater rapists into that mix. They work for Condolessa’s State Dept. so are not under the military’s control. Seemingly not under ANY control actually. Here is the link to DemocracyNow! and a recent discussion of this matter and an interview with the bereft parents of another female soldier who was brutalized to death.

It’s beyond suspicious in my mind that SO MANY of the rape victims under the DoD’s care end up dead of “suicide”! I guess they still reason, like fabled pirates of old, that “the dead tell no tales.”

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By Ivan Hentschel, August 4, 2008 at 8:19 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

This story just gets bigger and bigger everyday and yet it never shows in the MSM. I find the facts appalling and the reality disgusting. I don’t like sounding like a conspiracy theorist, but the way this is being swept under the rug certainly smacks of something like a dreadful collusion. This is not just an elephant in the room, it is more like a T-Rex. I know the likes of MCain and Cheney will deny it, but it would be nice of someone like Obama or Hegel or Pelosi would speak up.

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By Paolo, August 4, 2008 at 5:50 am Link to this comment

Another case that has had little publicity is that of LaVena Johnson, who the army to this day insists committed suicide. How did she commit suicide? Well, the army claims, with a straight face, that she punched herself in the face, giving herself to black eyes, then punched herself in the mouth, splitting her lip and loosening her front teeth.

After that, she gave herself an acid douche. Then, she set herself on fire to destroy the evidence of her crime against herself. No, I’m not making this up.

Read the story at

One thing that really makes me sick about right wing radio is the assumption that everyone who serves in the military is a “hero.” No, they’re not.

Military training nowadays puts a special emphasis on dehumanizing the enemy. It is only natural that some new recruits, having been desensitized to the suffering of others, go on a rampage of rape and murder.

War is a profoundly unnatural act. To get people to take part in it takes brainwashing of the highest (or is it lowest?) order. You see the side effects of that brainwashing in stories like this.

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By samosamo, August 3, 2008 at 4:11 pm Link to this comment

By Paracelsus, August 2 at 11:15 pm #


“Just another example of the less than 1% of the rotten apples in the military getting their jollies? Has to be because that is how the chicken hawks put it when it is forced on their attention.”

I find it grim that chicken hawk is also a term for a pedophile looking for his prey. Those at the very top are recruited for their cruelty and perversity. It is how they are jumped in.
I think you totally misunderstood my comment though the idea you put it to wasn’t illogical. I hate having to explain things but my use of ‘chickenhawk’(one who has not served or never saw combat) is in reference of the high % of elected officals that pretend to run our government especially the military and our civilian military leaders of which the highest ranked ones appear immune from disciplary measures for incompetence or criminal behaviour that in the past would get them court marshalled and imprisoned if not kicked out of the military. And when something as terrible as sexual assaults are brought to the attention of the public AND the chickenhawks or the conservative public, their pat answer is always ‘that 1% of soldiers that make up the bad apples’. Nothing whatever to do by degrading the true chicken hawk, a cooper’s hawk, in the role of a sexual predator.

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By sophrosyne, August 3, 2008 at 1:08 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Truth is, Bush has had to lower recruiting standards and wink at questionable educational and criminal credentials.  He wants live bodies to die for Israel and Big Oil adn imperilaism.  he will take anyone who needs the $$$$ and can walk in the door.

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By Inherit The Wind, August 3, 2008 at 4:50 am Link to this comment

I found this to be horribly painful to read.

There is only one solution: For Congress and the President to ENFORCE THE LAW!

It is incredible to think that every 3rd woman will be sexually assaulted and every 10th man will be forcibly sodomized—and that the military, that will expel the openly gay, won’t throw these sexual predators in the brig and then dishonorably discharge them, but protects them and attacks the victim instead.

It’s ironic that the USAF academy has “rape rooms” and at the same time is being dominated by the right-wing-nut brand of fascist “christianity” a la Pat Robertson and Jerry Fallwell.

Is it any surprise that even the Master Sergent of Army lost his job for sexual harassment?

It makes me want to puke.

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By Paracelsus, August 3, 2008 at 2:33 am Link to this comment


“Let Congress know of your concern about sexual assault in our military. Call or e-mail members of the House and Senate Armed Services committees and members of the Oversight and Government Reform committees.”

I find it strange that I should alert Congress of sexual assault in the military, when many in their own ranks are just as evil. But it is better than doing nothing. Still if Nancy Pelosi won’t allow for indictment hearing against an administration for premeditated murder of civilians in Iraq, then what sort of moral authority is there in Congress? We can probably get some lowly minions in the armed forces punished, but the higher circles of criminal officers will continue to wreak their worst. Did you know that there organized groups of officers who traffic in sex slaves? Collin Powell spoke about it briefly, but I hadn’t heard of it spoken of by others in the media.

When there is little in the way of public justice, then perhaps private justice is the only alternative? If there was ever an argument against standing armies, the sexual violence of men stationed in close quarters for long periods of time has to be one of the best of them. The military has to be the best place for one to run a criminal enterprise.

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By Paracelsus, August 3, 2008 at 2:02 am Link to this comment


“I am a religious sort.” That should read I am not a religious sort.

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By cyrena, August 3, 2008 at 1:46 am Link to this comment


Thanks for answering so many of our questions. I appreciate your knowledge and experience in this.

And I agree (broken heatedly) that the public simply does not want to hear these horror stories, which is the case with so much of the dysfunction in our society.

I’m also aware of (from the part time and limited volunteer work that I do with veterans here) that the bureaucracy in filing for and obtaining ANY of the services that are due them, or the ratings for the disability compensation are overwhelming. As one spouse put it, “If the war doesn’t kill them, the VA bureaucracy will.” Now of course in their cases, these are the wounds of an illegal war of aggression, but still sustained on the battlefield, as oppose to being inflicted by their fellow troops. The MST goes beyond words.

By Hesperion, August 2 at 8:00 pm

Hesperion, thank you as well, for your very insightful (and helpful) comments. It’s crucial to understand this basic mindset. Susan confirms it from her own experience with these military personnel that have been assaulted. It’s all about the power, and those who are generally the perpetrators, are the weak ones. It’s all about the control, and anyone who does in fact control themselves or their own sexuality becomes the victim until they can be forced to have it taken from them, in a manner of ‘bringing them down’. My is such a sick human thing, and very prevalent in the male species of our society.

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By Paracelsus, August 3, 2008 at 12:15 am Link to this comment


“Just another example of the less than 1% of the rotten apples in the military getting their jollies? Has to be because that is how the chicken hawks put it when it is forced on their attention.”

I find it grim that chicken hawk is also a term for a pedophile looking for his prey. Those at the very top are recruited for their cruelty and perversity. It is how they are jumped in. Outwardly we are given institutions that project the most squeaky clean morality. Mason pledges themselves are given the lecture on the importance of being moral. Churches also project this outward morality, but inwardly there is an inner sanctum beyond the base of the crowd who act as pirates. For your soul you can have the world. That is the promise, but in the end the highest monsters who rule have a deep contempt for their lower henchman. They are liable to sacrifice. How often have you heard in these James Bond type movies that the agents are expendable, and that their deaths will never be known.

“Be great to see w and dick put up in a maximum security lock up with a couple of big bubba’s in dire need of some sweet pasty white ass.”

W, as I feel in my bones, is deeply perverted. I see him as both masochistic and sadistic. How often is it that many comedians joke that Dick is capable of eating puppies. We associate puppies with children. I don’t want to say anything further. This election year we will elect a new wrecking crew. I don’t exactly know what party it will be or what candidate it will be. But it will be a wrecking crew with some of the same Luciferian sexuality. I am a religious sort. I just feel that most people when they go to church(I include most every faith.) thinking that are upholding something virtuous. For all I know they could be worshiping some space alien. In essence, I think that if a man or a woman wants to remain virtuous then he or she should be a loner, an individual, not a joiner. I cannot make this an absolute though, because groups of virtuous people are more powerful than a lone saint.

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By Paracelsus, August 2, 2008 at 11:09 pm Link to this comment

The military is a potpourri of sexual perversion, some of it very violent.

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By Director, August 2, 2008 at 9:12 pm Link to this comment

You would be surprised at the number of women who are pregnant from the rapes and choose to keep their children.  I was taken aback by the names; Angela, Angelica, Angelina, and in Maria’s case, Gabriel.  All names relating to Angels. 

I attended her funeral in February, and that of Gabriel’s - who’s tiny casket was no bigger than a shoe box.

Why did these women choose to keep the babies?  Why did they name them what they did?  I never asked, because I felt that this was too intrusive.  I do know many of the women who raised sons past puberty would be triggered to look into the faces of their children.  They saw for the first time in 18 years, the face of their rapist…

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By Hesperion, August 2, 2008 at 9:00 pm Link to this comment

This is so appalling that I can not form words. The very most capitol of crimes are those in which the perpetrator kills the victim in order to cover the crime itself. In this type of case the crime is apparent while the murder, presumably to cover it, is superfluous making it doubly heinous. Someone in another thread could not understand the correlation of the opposition to a woman’s right to choose to carry a pregnancy to term stemmed from a foundation of hatred of women and suspicion of their competence. That opposers of abortion (“pro-lifers”) are really just contemptuous of the sexuality of women. Patriarchal control freaks train young men to believe that they MUST “use” women and that too much regard for the feeling and sensibilities of women detracts from “manliness”. This “cult of masculinity”, as I usually refer to it, is a major destructive force in our society. The concept that manliness = domination is the most insecure and “boyish” thing imaginable. I had just come from reading a partial transcript of the hearing that recently took place concerning the ridiculous policy known as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in the military. A witness for the antagonists named Elaine Donnelly, whose qualifications are dubious at best, made some interesting points arguing that gay men and women ought to be barred from service in the armed forces. She recited many long disproved imaginings about what could occur if this were allowed but she also said some most revealing things that might relate to our discussions here. She said that soldiers would be victimized by all sorts of “exotic forms of sexual expression” and that “lesbians would take pictures of women in the showers” blah, blah, blah. What I have always suspected about this, and my correlation to the point is, regardless that this is a woman speaking, she is expressing how her camp feels concerning anything sexual in nature regarding women. “Boys will be boys” but a woman that owns her own sexuality is a menace and must be controlled. By the same token, a gay person is assumed to be wantonly and uncontrollably sexual therefore, they must be suspected of all sorts of motivations and potentialities. Derived from the erroneous assumption that gay people are desirous of “being” members of the opposite sex, this makes gay men women and lesbians men (with the added inconvenience of being sexually expressive women) which MUST me disallowed at all costs? Funny how the shower thing comes up every time. These military tough guys are intensely concerned with who might see them naked! I thought they assumed that women were the “weaker sex”. Who knew they were SO fragile that merely being seen unclothed, by someone who found them attractive, would traumatize them for life. These would be the types of guys that would rape and kill since these imperatives are equal in their minds. Train boys to have respect for women and there would not need to be a huge, government sponsored cover-up when they do what their parents, peers, clergymen, etc. have whether or not tacitly taught them was acceptable. But for now, they should be introduced full-faced to the consequences that what they do.

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By Ga, August 2, 2008 at 8:02 pm Link to this comment

Men like to fuck. It is that simple. And some men like to force themselves on women. Which is a condition of of society where boys from an early age are told—by many venues—that they must be strong and arrogant and mean and shouold take what they want.

Our society does not teach boys about love, respect, integrity, justice, equality, etc. etc.

Our society teaches boys that fighting and fucking are what real men do.

It is that simple.

The saving grace is that not all men turn out to be sexually deprived monsters, only those few mentally defective who fall for the false imagery of required male dominance that society provides them.

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By samosamo, August 2, 2008 at 4:14 pm Link to this comment

Just another example of the less than 1% of the rotten apples in the military getting their jollies? Has to be because that is how the chicken hawks put it when it is forced on their attention.
Be great to see w and dick put up in a maximum security lock up with a couple of big bubba’s in dire need of some sweet pasty white ass.

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By moineau, August 2, 2008 at 2:34 pm Link to this comment

i’ve worked as a group facilitator for women who have been raped and abused. the horror spoken of here is beyond measure.

i don’t know about all va regional offices, but the one in portland, oregon where i worked had one woman assigned as a sexual assault facilitator, to help women work through the claims process. at the time i was there, the woman was very good.

sounds like the va could use a male sexual assault facilitator as well.

such an outrage, esp the cover-up. but what is new when it comes to things which might embarass our mighty military. and this has been reported for years, what has taken so long??? how many more?

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By Director, August 2, 2008 at 1:54 pm Link to this comment

I do not see a pattern of escalation with soldiers returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, I do see a pattern of more women and men who after 20-30 years of trying to just get by with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder have finally “hit the wall” and are sliding into the abyss and are FINALLY asking for the help they need in getting their claims with the Veterans Administration taken care of, getting mental health care and medical care they are entitled to (and have been entitled to but didn’t know it) for free.

The returning men and women have not had time to develop symptoms and have their lives fall apart yet.  I do not expect to see them for a number of years.

Men are asking for help, many active duty men are asking – that is new.  I get new clients everyday.  They are mostly veterans.  They have no idea where to turn, and my website is the first contact they may have with MST (military sexual trauma). 

The topic is huge, the public does not want to believe the horror stories.  I tend to keep my head down, in the trenches, day by day attending to these wounded people who do not trust anyone trying to get them through the system that can take anywhere from 1 year (if you are very lucky) to 17 years (if you are not) to have your claim decided, and get service connected compensation for not being able to work again – which is what happens to most people. 

In fact, most of these rape victims are not able to go outside their homes.  One woman saves her money and does a Costco delivery once a year for everything she needs.

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By Director, August 2, 2008 at 1:42 pm Link to this comment

The McDowell Checklist was created to turn the tables on anyone reporting a rape in the military.  Being faced with Conduct Unbecoming, Filing False Charges or the big one in the military “Adultery” (up to a 26 year sentence) that is, if YOU are married at the time you are raped—no, really, I kid you not after reporting stops most dead in their tracks. 

My copy of the McDowell Checklist is unfortunately scanned and I cannot post it here, but I am happy to forward it to anyone who would like to read the 8 pages about questions regarding the rape victim’s financial status, etc.  Please email me at smith715 at

These are the three reasons that women and men recant their stories so that they are not facing time in the Brig where they will be raped (since MP’s, Chaplain’s and MD’s are the top 3 offenders that I have seen in working with my clients).

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By Director, August 2, 2008 at 1:33 pm Link to this comment

First of all, it is not SEX, it is POWER over someone.  It is not gay or straight, or bi.  It is bringing down people to a level where they will not be “above” the others.  They are put in their place.  With women, it is mostly the best and the brightest, with men it can be the weakest. 
It is a crime.  This has been “part of the system” for a long time.  (It also exists in Fraternities to some extent as well – part of “hazing” and the big secrets…)  Gang-rapes in the showers, sodomizing men while part of POW exercises, grabbing guys out of their racks on ships and sodomizing them with broom handles are just a couple of the standard stories I get.
So you need to understand that the guy is not having “sex” with the women, but forcing his power (or their power if they have drugged her – or him) and “pulling a train”.  You see, sometimes it is really important for people to “fit” into the group, rather than not rape, and just say no.
There were (and may still be) rape rooms at the Air Force Academy.  Upperclassmen could intimidate any lowerclassmen to have sex, because they WOULD make your life miserable if you did not comply.  Actually, one of the punishments for non-compliance is gang-rape.  So most of these women would just “take it like a man” and only have to “have sex” with one.
Many of the veterans who are experiencing multiple killings overseas also experience orgasm, erection or part of the adrenaline experience.  I was shocked to hear this.  But I have also heard stories of men telling their wives back home, that while the scud missiles were flying overhead, they were having sex with the female in the foxhole with them, not really knowing what they were doing.  Asking a Psych about this many years later, I was told that this is “survival of the species.”  So humankind is a very complex creature, indeed.
I do not have all the answers.  I do know this is not gay.  I do know that is why heteros do not want gays in the military, but gay people do not equal rapists.  More likely heteros are the rapists, because they were raped as children and perpetuating the circle of violence.

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By Dr. Knowitall, PhD, PhD, August 2, 2008 at 12:56 pm Link to this comment

reply to Susan Avila-Smith:

Thanks for your comment.  In a way, I guess, I have to stand corrected.  I’m not challenging you or what you say but I’m trying to understand.  I’m a hetero male and I doubt there are any circumstances under which I could have sex with a man.  I’m not interested, I’m not into sodomy, and the thought of me having sex with a man, while I can accept men having sex with each other, is revolting.

So, these instances of male on male sex which you say are not gay, then what are they, exactly.  I’m open to a broader definition of gay than I’m used to, but I want to understand it.  Does this mean that the perp is not gay, but sets that aside while or in order to do his thing?  Is the perp doing it with his penis?  What is is mind saying to his penis or what is his penis saying to his mind during the act?  Sorry, I’m having a hard time understanding and need your help to do so.  Thanks.

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By cyrena, August 2, 2008 at 12:39 pm Link to this comment

By Susan Avila-Smith, August 2 at 9:24


First, thank you for the work you do, and for this information. I will send it along.

I admit that even I am in shock by the numbers you post here, though I have no doubt that this is the case. It’s just so totally hidden from any awareness of the American public, which seems to be the case in nearly all military conflicts. Unless one is personally related to a member of the military, it’s as if the rest of the country has no idea they even exist.

On this, I’m not shocked, but none-the-less enraged..

“.. As you can see, the major issue is Command Response, as well as “botched” investigations.  Actually, that is “built in” to the system.  That way the military does not have to take responsibility for the victim.  They find it easier to “charge the victim with a crime” rather than to punish the perpetrator…”

This seems to be standard for the justice system in charge the victim with the crime, rather than the perpetrator. But, for this to be PREVALENT in the military speaks to far more than it just being, ‘easier’. No, it’s downright heinous. It’s to cover the asses of the totally incompetent evil doers at the top of the ladder..all the way up the chain of command. It’s to cover-up these assaults upon our own, as much as it’s been to blame a handful for the systematic torture being undertaken as well.

This is so thoroughly despicable that there are no words for it. I’m curious (and I guess in this case somewhat surprised) to learn that you’ve been doing this for 13 years already. Do you see a pattern or any escalation in the numbers in the past 7 years, as a result of the conflicts in both Afghanistan and Iraq, or would you think the trend is the same.

My God, my God…. Surely this is beyond even the banality of evil.

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By Susan Avila-Smith, August 2, 2008 at 10:24 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

If you have Military Sexual Trauma (MST), or know someone who does, please visit our website  We offer information, support and help with VA claims, Active Duty separation and accessing medical and mental health care.  There is no charge (though you are asked to pay it forward), and all work is provided by survivors of MST.

The total number of men who are raped exceed the number of women, due to the high numbers of men in the military.  Most of these are hazing incidents and Abu Ghraib “style” rapes.  Men report far less than women, and there is very little support for them.  They are not gay.  The perpetrators are not gay.  This is a crime, not a sex act, and it is happening stateside and overseas at military installations. 

As you can see, the major issue is Command Response, as well as “botched” investigations.  Actually, that is “built in” to the system.  That way the military does not have to take responsibility for the victim.  They find it easier to “charge the victim with a crime” rather than to punish the perpetrator.

For the last 13 years I have worked on over 1500 cases.  I see the pattern.  Hopefully, you will eventually see it too, and we can all DO something to make a change.

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By msgmi, August 2, 2008 at 10:16 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Apparently DoD is in denial. The flick, “The General’s Daughter” released several years ago provides a reasonable assessment of DoD’s mentality and lack of moral fiber to protect its own raped female soldiers. (Inciedentally, it was the General’s daughter that was raped and he, the General, enabled the whitewash). It’s simply mind-boggling. Where does the Commander-In-Chief, congress, and the UCJ stand on this issue?

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By justanotheroldman, August 2, 2008 at 10:02 am Link to this comment

It sounds like “don’t ask - don’t tell” is not the only major overhaul the military needs. It would be interesting to know if the male rape victims were gay! Obviously the female rapes were hetero!
It is no wonder why the US is no longer respected in the world today ... The up-front representatives of the US [the military] are acting like a bunch of animals (my apologies for the insult to the animal kingdom)

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By Dr. Knowitall, PhD, PhD, August 2, 2008 at 7:39 am Link to this comment

Sexual assault may be “a tool to breakdown resistance to authority” but don’t many regard it as a tactic to exercise dominance?  I mean, sexual assualt is everywhere, not just the military.

My stand on this vis a vis the military gay issue is I wonder why the military is so concerned about gays in the military when military sexual assualt, I think, is mostly if not always, a heterosexual event, or, a hate crime against gays.

Perhaps it’s not reasonable for me to expect the military to be rational, especially when it comes to sex.

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By cyrena, August 2, 2008 at 1:10 am Link to this comment

By kath cantarella, August 1 at 3:52 pm #

“Sexual assault is a tool to break down resistance to ‘authority’.”


That’s certainly part of it Kath, at least as I see it. But, it’s far more than that, at least as I see it, because it’s so endemic. Rape is also a terror tool…specifically in the perpetration of genocide. Are these soldiers being ‘trained’ to this? I don’t know. It’s also a crime of rage.

The respect you speak of isn’t evident in the military today, and that could have everything to do with the fact that THEY aren’t respected themselves, not by their own superiors, and certainly not by their commander-in-chief. Certainly they know by now, (and I’ve spoken to so many at this point) that they are being used as cannon fodder, or mercenaries, and there is ZERO discipline being exercised in what has come to be seen as total fanatic destruction in the name of greed.

There is zero accountability up the chain of command, and most service personnel never even heard of the UMCJ, or have a clue of the laws of war, or any terms of engagement. The military now accepts whomever they can collect and ship off, including more and more former felons, and the like. If they’re being ‘trained’ at all, it’s just to become killers.

In the past, we know perfectly well that our military would simply not allow this…not at all. The occasional rotten apple would be dealt with, and swiftly. Now, they are simply a reflection of the people who’ve sent them there, and their so-called commanders-in-chief.

That’s certainly NOT to say that each and every soldier, marine, sailor or airman is of the same ilk, but there are now enough of these, (with the private mercenaries leading the way) to cause untold harm to the better portion of what used to be representative of our military.

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By Blackspeare, August 1, 2008 at 6:47 pm Link to this comment

Oh come on now….boys will be boys!!!——just get over it!

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By kath cantarella, August 1, 2008 at 4:52 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Sexual assault is a tool to break down resistance to ‘authority’. It fits the modus operandi of what the current military mindset aims to do to its recruits, IMO.
Do we really believe people need this kind of treatment to become efficient soldiers? Whatever happened to (genuine) respect for our enlisted personnel?
If this is what soldiers are allowed (trained?) to do to their own, imagine what is happening to civilians in the warzones of the world?

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