Hour 1 - 3
Helen Benedict - Military Sexual Assault Against Female Soldiers - Author of "The Lonely Soldier: The Private War of Women Serving in Iraq"
Benedict said today: "I've interviewed over 40 women who served in Iraq, many of whom told me stories of sexual harassment and rape at the hands of their so-called brothers-in-arms. These women's stories inspired lawyer Susan Burke to put together the class action against the Pentagon being reported today (Wednesday, February 16, 2011) which in turn has encouraged dozens of other women to speak out. The women I talked to came from all areas of the country, were of different ranks and ages, and different ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds. Most were assaulted by their superior officers, men who had control over when they slept, ate, walked, sat, where they worked and what jobs they did. Often, when they tried to report their assaults, the command ignored them or threatened them with punishments to keep them quiet. Even the DoD admits that, for these reasons, 80 to 90 percent of assaults are never reported at all.
* Marti Ribeiro of the Air Force was raped by an American soldier while she
was standing guard at night in Afghanistan. When she tried to report it,
she was threatened with court martial.
* Mickiela Montoya, army specialist, had to carry a knife with her at all
times in Iraq because she was threatened with rape so often by the male
* Abbie Picket, army specialist, was assaulted by an officer whom she was
supposed to obey and trust.
* Jennifer Spranger, army specialist, was harassed so continuously by
fellow soldiers, both during training and at war, that she came home
shaking and traumatized.
* Suzanne Swift was court martialed and sent to military prison for a month
after she refused to redeploy with a sergeant who had repeatedly raped