Get used to being raped or get out.

After being severely beaten and raped by a fellow Coast Guardsman, the female victim was said to be at fault for choosing a career that was predominately for men, according to official Coast Guard records.

After the victim reported the alleged rape in 2006 to her command at Coast Guard Station Burlington, VT, her command locked the victim up in a janitor closet while members of her command that were not qualified to conduct a rape investigation concluded that it was a misunderstanding and no charges would be filed. The victim said she was ordered to clean out the attic with the alleged rapist, where they were suppose to “work out their differences”. She was forced to continue working with and live on the same floor in military housing as the alleged perpetrator for over a month before she was eventually transferred out.

According to Captain Scott Keene, the victim was ineligible to continue serving in the United States Coast Guard because she had difficulties adjusting to being raped. Is that not the same as telling a woman that is being battered or a child that is being abused to get used to the abuse or else something is wrong with them? The alleged rapist left the service voluntarily with an Honorable Discharge when his contract was up . The victim is now rated at 100% for Military Sexual Trauma through the Department of Veterans’ Affairs and works full time on lobbying congress to pass laws to better protect service members that report a sexual assault.

This story is all too common. According to the Military Rape Crisis Center one in three women in the military will experience a sexual assault or rape. In the same study over 92% of all rape victims are involuntarily discharged from services for reasons of adjustment disorder or personality disorder.

What is being done to help our service women from falling victim of sexual assault and/or rape? Top Brass think that enough is being done and see nothing wrong with less than 10% of all allegations ending up with judicial punishment (as compared to 40% charged with similar crimes under civilian court). We asked Ashley Young, a case manager with the Military Rape Crisis Center and Army veteran on what the military’s response is when a case that was obviously mishandled is brought to the military attention and she says: “the military claims that they have a zero-tolerance policy and that they take all rape allegations very seriously. Is locking a woman in a janitor closet considered taking an allegations seriously? It all depends on who you ask and many top ranking military officials see nothing wrong with it.”

If you do see something wrong with it and want to help protect sexual assault victims in the military. Contact your elected officials to support the Defense Sexual Trauma Response Oversight and Good Governance (STRONG) Act.

For more information on rape in the military or if you been a victim and need help contact the Military Rape Crisis Center at http://www.stopmilitaryrape.org.

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