Female Vets Sue Pentagon Over Sex Abuse

Lawsuit says rape is rampant, but ignored by commanders
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 15, 2011 6:15 PM CST
Female Vets Sue Pentagon Over Sex Abuse
Kori Cioca, 25, of Wilmington, Ohio, speaks about how she was raped while serving in the U.S. Coast Guard, during an interview in her attorney office in Washington, Sunday, Feb. 13, 2011.   (AP Photo/Cliff Owen)

Seventeen current and former service members, all but two of them female, have filed a class-action lawsuit against the military alleging that systemic sexual abuse is rampant among the troops but ignored by commanders. "There are three types of women in the Army,” one of the female victims tells the Daily Beast. “Bitch, dyke, and whore.” The suit names defense chief Robert Gates and predecessor Donald Rumsfeld, accusing them of presiding over an institution that allows everything from verbal abuse to rape to go unpunished. As a result, victims often have to go on serving alongside their assailants.

One example cited: An Army Reservist says two male soldiers raped her in Iraq, videotaped it, and circulated the tape within the unit, reports AP. Her commander took no action because he concluded she "did not struggle enough." The lawsuit "may become a landmark case to force the military to take rape and sexual assault seriously," writes Andrea Stone at Aol News. "Or it could be yet another failed attempt in a decades-long battle by women to be accepted in the armed forces." Click for more. (More Donald Rumsfeld stories.)

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