Senate panel hears about rape in the military

Today the Senate held a panel discussing sexual violence in the military. This is a growing issue primarily because of how the military covers up sexual violence. People who report abuse not only face a wall of silence, but some of them face counter charges and potential discharge. The cover-up, much like that of the Vatican, starts from the top. So many people in power are aware of the problem and yet do nothing.

The Senate heard testimony from three ex-service members — BriGette McCoy, Rebekhah Havrilla, Anu Bhagwati, and Brian Lewis — concerning the situation:

BriGette McCoy described how she was raped on her first military assignment, two weeks before her 19th birthday. She described how, later that year, she was raped by another soldier in her unit.

Then came sexual harassment by two officers — including one who requested that she be moved to work directly for him, she said Wednesday.

Testifying before lawmakers, the former Army specialist described the “anguish” and “entrapment” she felt, and the horror of the ordeal that followed.

“I no longer have any faith or hope that the military chain of command will consistently prosecute, convict, sentence and carry out the sentencing of sexual predators in uniform without absconding justice somehow,” she told the Senate Armed Services Committee’s subcommittee on personnel.

“It even starts at recruitment,” she said. “We have quite a few of our men and women that are being raped and sexually harassed during the recruitment process.”

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