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Military voices are silenced

by CASEY BENZI Staff Writer

Cases of victims of sexual assault in the military are not being heard, and some of our honored men and women in uniform are not getting the respect they deserve.

   Last year in the U.S., there were 3,191 cases of sexual assault reported in the military, yet it is estimated that there were actually about 19,000 assaults.

   The commander who convenes a court-martial, known as the convening authority, has the discretion to set aside guilty verdicts. This atrocious rule has allowed thousands of military sex offenders to walk free.

   A recent devastating incident involved Former Army Sgt. Rebekah Havrilla who was sexually assaulted by a military colonel. Her colonel was convicted of sexual assault yet his supervisor, Air Force Commander Lt. Gen. Craig Franklin, had the audacity and power to overturn the case.

   “I think that if you are assaulted by someone in the military it should be frowned upon because you are supposed to be showing an example of yourself to the young children that look up to you. And as for the lutenents [sic] they should be ashamed, they have been given the role of being a lutenent [sic] to show honor and nothing less,” says freshman Nikita Patel.

   About 14 percent of sexual assault cases in the army are reported, but only around eight percent end up in a court martial. Most of these horrific cases have female victims, but there are plenty of male victims as well.

   “While women comprise 14 percent of the Army ranks, they account for 95 percent of all sex crime victims,” says writer Anna Mulrine.

   Soldiers join the military hoping to serve their country with pride and self-confidence, while sexual assault victims are stripped of both.

   Members of the military should behave on a very high level of maturity and be able to bond with fellow colleagues, not intimidate them and sexually harass them.

   Perhaps other soldiers who are offenders feel that the only way to show their dominance is to take away the dignity of those weaker than themselves.

   The reason most victims do not speak up is because they feel inferior to their colleagues and intimidated. Soldiers are encouraged to be strong leaders of the U.S., but those who are assaulted have a tough time keeping up their strength.

   “If someone is sexually assaulted, they should report it. Sexually harassing or assaulting someone is considered a crime and the victim has a right to justice. The assaulter should be punished no matter their rank in society or military,” said junior Nichole Tatte.

    Veteran Ramona Booker was attacked on a military base when she was 22 years old. A military leader waited for her like an animal’s prey in her own room.

   Booker says, “Your life changes in a matter of minutes; when it’s done, you’re happy to be alive. How can you rebuild your life after that.”

   These women and men will have to suffer though many mental issues throughout their life, including the hesitancy to trust others.

   Congressmen and women are just realizing the harm and growing numbers of victims of sexual assaults in the military, but some soldiers still are not getting their justice.

   We as a country need to take action to ensure our soldier’s safety while they are trying to protect us by risking their own lives.

   “Assault in the military is not right. Your [sic] there to do your job and support your country,” freshman Lauren Moss said.

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