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Soldiers Raped in the U.S. Military Share Their Stories

Soldiers Raped in the U.S. Military Share Their Stories

One in three women in the U.S. military will experience sexual assault while on active duty. That means that the very women who pledge to serve their country have a greater chance of being raped simply by joining the military. Men are not immune to these attacks.

The Guardian shares the stories of two such women and one man who were raped while in service and are sharing their stories now. Their words are a harrowing reminder that rape and victim-blaming are still very well alive in the red, white, and blue.

Kate Weber’s Story: “You’re probably just a little slut.”

Kate Weber was a committed solider who fought for her country in the first Gulf War. After about only three days on base in Germany she was raped by a fellow solider on the fire escape at a club. When she tried to escape after the rape, the rapist pushed her off the building. She fell two stories and woke up naked from the waist down in the dirt.

The next morning Weber went for a run with her female mentor and collapsed from the pain. She confided in the woman about the rape the night before and was met with the following response:

“He would never rape you. He doesn’t even like girls like you, you’re not his type… you’re just a new private. You’re probably just a little slut. You don’t know who you f*cked.”

Weber reported the rape to another female soldier, a female sergeant, a nurse, doctor, and her female sergeant’s boss. All of them rejected her, called her a liar, and said the incident was not a reportable offense. Around the base she was taunted and harassed by her fellow comrades while her rapist walked free.

She said it was the “hardest thing I’ve ever dealt with in my life” and that her “soul was shattered.”

Michelle Jones: “If you tell anyone…I’ll tell them you’re a dyke.”

Michelle Jones was raped after a long day of field exercises at training camp. The soldiers had convened in her bedroom for a barracks party and one solider hung around after everyone else, even after being asked repeatedly to leave.

That man was her squad leader. When she tried to leave her room (because he wouldn’t) he attacked her. He put his hands around her throat from behind and brought her to the ground. While he raped her he held his arm over her chest so she could barely breathe. She tore an abdominal muscle in her side trying to push him off.

When he was done and she tried to run out of the room he said, “If you tell anybody about this I’ll tell them you’re a dyke.”

Jones didn’t want to throw away her career. She was only 17-years-old when she joined.

“The military was my life,” she says, “and when he did that he took away the joy that I found in serving my country, he took away the pride that I had in being myself.”

After the rape Jones contemplated suicide. Now she shares her story so other women can come forward and seek justice. Silence, she says is the biggest accomplice to rape and she will no longer be silent.

Rick Tringale: “Born again hard…That’s what I became.”

Rick Tringale was raped one night by members of his very own squad during his first few weeks of training. The men attacked him in the middle of the night while he was sleeping. They beat, tortured, and raped him until he blacked out.

When he finally came to and tried to escape, the beating started anew until he blacked out for a second time, thinking he would die and never wake again.

After the rape Tringale said he was, “Born again hard.”

“They want you to be a killer. I’m their killer. That’s what I became.”

To see the videos of each soldier’s story go to The Guardian.

Related from Care2:

Men Raped in the U.S. Military Speak Out

Women Sue Pentagon Officials For Ignoring Rape Charges

War Among Comrades: 1 in 3 Women Raped in the Military

Photo credit: Photo courtesy of the U.S. Military

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89 comments

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6:18AM PDT on Aug 10, 2012

so sad

4:03AM PDT on Apr 19, 2012

This is my story

1979.
18 years old.
The Army.
Germany, sent out to the field for the first time.
The only woman and 1500 men.
I was the Medic, they were Engineers.
Alone, in the dark being watched, only I didn't know
Vilseck, Germany after two weeks without a shower, we were allowed to go to Tent city for 2 days.
Much Celebrating. Much Drinking. After showers the partying started.
I was invited.
A cute boy
Fun
free drinks
more drinks
Something wrong....
Room spinning
Dizzy
can't walk
being carried
pass out
wake up
can't move
tied up
can't talk
gag in mouth
voices
someone on me
wet between the legs
laughter
another body on me
tears
another body
all night
over and over again
how many?
Don't know
too many
over and over again
thrusting
sweaty
pawing
pain
tearing
more laughter
in and out of conscience
how many?
could be twenty
could be a hundred
all ranks
all sizes
all ages
all penises
all thrusting
all sweating
lots of pain
smell of greasy tent
smell of booze
smell of tobacco
smell of man sweat
smell of semen
smell of sex
all thrusting
all groping
all squeezing
all pawing
only one, who when he saw my tears, stopped in his tracks
But he walked out, and another came in to take his place
over and over again
no help
none in sight
all night long
in and out of reality
in and out of dreams
more body's
more men
more thrusting
how many hours?
finally the sweet release of awareness
awakening
naked
in the sh

11:16AM PST on Feb 14, 2012

As a female veteran who was raped I can say that the problem doesn't lie with the woman it lies with a society that thinks rape is a tiny crime that women should just get over. I was one of the 1st women in an all male brigade and I know if I had told the men they would have killed the rapists (who were men from another unit on field maneuvers. I had went to find a place to go to the bathroom). I had fought to do everything male soldiers were doing. I never reported the rape because I didn't want to hurt the military which I loved.Even my father who was a career soldier urged me to keep quiet. But it kept cropping up. And it's not just women who are raped and need support. Male soldiers are also raped. Rape is a horrible act that takes away your ability to trust and live a normal life. I might have made the military my career had it not been for that one act. And rape happens everywhere, not just in combat.

Rape is not a left or right issue...it's not a male/female issue it's a POWER issue.

8:22AM PST on Feb 14, 2012

Rape and sexual assault in our military will never end unless those responsible are arrested and put on trial. Also, those who witness such crimes need to stand up and turn in the perps. Also, superior officers who cover up such crimes should not just be reassigned but instead, discharged from the military.

5:35AM PST on Feb 14, 2012

Since a good portion of the time the rapist is a superior NCO or Officer...the young enlisted or newly-commissioned woman has little choice. She can ruin her career or keep quiet and continue on. I kept quiet but it is hard...it affects you for a lifetime.

Kudos to these men and women for speaking out. I am really proud of them and hope it helps.

2:02PM PST on Jan 11, 2012

Sadly, you get both good and bad people in the military since the only requirement is to be physically healthy. It seems some of the bad joined the military to escape civil judicial punishment that would accompany this sort of behavior. It's pathetic that the military is aiding, abetting and harboring criminals in cases like these.

10:22AM PST on Jan 9, 2012

Whoa, military men who rape give the military a bad reputation. So sad.

10:17AM PST on Jan 9, 2012

Whoa, military men who rape give the military a bad reputation. So sad.

4:13PM PST on Jan 4, 2012

Just ditch the military forces...

7:52PM PST on Dec 27, 2011

There are scores of unemployed rotten characters who have signed up to "serve their country" who are there for the paycheck and the benefits. Their are enough of the bad apples to have caused significant harm -- to fellow soldiers, as well as innocent civilians of the invaded country. What makes the situation all the more sick is that "good men (and women) do nothing" but sweep the crimes under the rug and refuse to admit or prosecute because of the shame to them as a group. In these immoral, illegal, unpopular wars, the last thing the military needs is to cause the U S population to know the extent of cruel, criminal activity and refuse to support the recruitment of their sons and daughters. So many ignorant perps and enablers in lofty positions.

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