8 Women Sue Military for 'High Tolerance' of Rape

They say they were raped, sexually harassed

By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 6, 2012 12:18 PM CST

(Newser) – Eight current and former servicewomen have filed a lawsuit against the US military, saying that they suffered rape, sexual harassment, and other abuse, and that reporting it to their superiors brought retaliation. The suit, which names past and current leaders up to and including Leon Panetta, says the military has a "high tolerance for sexual predators in their ranks," according to the AP. Of the eight women, seven say a comrade raped or attempted to sexually assault them. One is a current active-duty Marine, the rest are veterans.

One of the plaintiffs, Ariana Klay, says that when she complained to a supervisor that her comrades were calling her a "slut" and a "whore" she was told to "deal with it." Later, a senior officer allegedly raped Klay in her home. When she reported that, superiors said her clothing must have invited the attack. Her assailant was ultimately court-martialed, but convicted only of indecent language and adultery. The Defense Department wouldn't comment on the suit, but says it has zero tolerance for sexual assault. Sexual assault is a longstanding issue for the military, and this isn't the first time women have sued over it.

In this photo taken March 5, 2012, former Marine Corps officer Ariana Klay is photographed in Washington. Klay is one of the eight plaintiffs in the suit.
In this photo taken March 5, 2012, former Marine Corps officer Ariana Klay is photographed in Washington. Klay is one of the eight plaintiffs in the suit.   (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
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