Military Rape Speech 20 by Congresswoman Jackie Speier
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Published on May 17, 2012
Today I rise again to speak about the horrific situation in the military and that is the epidemic of rape and sexual assault that goes on unabated. This is the 20th time that I'm here on the floor to tell the story of yet another victim. 19 times before I've been on this floor to tell about victims in military service. I've told you about the military culture that treats sexual harassment and assault with a silent acceptance, and the command structure that punishes the victim and does not take care of dealing with the perpetrator.
Today i am going to tell you about the culture that exists in our military service academies that train our cadets to become commissioned officers. I've not told you that the same conflicted chain of command structure that exists in the military also exists at our prestigious service academies. The military academy at West Point and the Naval, Coast Guard, Air Force and Merchant Marine follow the same rules of the military. The Uniform Code of Military Justice. Today I'm going to tell you the story of Karley Marquet who was a first-year cadet when she was raped just last year.
She was a spanking brand new West Pointer, gifted in both academics and athletics, Karley was a star high school student. She had her pick to go to any number of colleges. She chose West Point because she wanted to serve her country. West Point chose Karley because she possessed the skills and character that the Army needs for success.
But only a few months at the academy Karley was betrayed. She was raped by a West Point upper classman that she knew and thought she could trust. He came to her room one night when she was alone to talk about girl troubles. He gave her a sports drink that had alcohol in it.
Peer pressure by upper classmen to consume alcohol is pervasive at West Point. Karley drank about one quarter of the liquid in the bottle and she became intoxicated. The upper classman convinced her to go to his room and he raped her.
He repeatedly went to her room and asked her not to talk about the rape.
She also heard other West Point upperclassman talk about another female cadet who had reported being raped. They called the victim a slut who was asking for it. But Karley was not intimidated. She reported the crime to her chain of command, but just like so many of the stories i've told here before, no serious action was taken to assist her.
West Point did not move the perpetrator from Karley's company. She had to see him every day. West Point did not alter Karley's duties which meant she still had to do chores with the upper classman who raped her.
As a result of the rape and the hostile environment, Karly Began to suffer Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and she resigned less than a year after becoming a cadet. It has been a year after being raped, yet the perpetrator was not brought to justice.
Why was nothing done to help this talented woman who only 12 months before was deemed qualified and deserving of a spot at the prestigious United States military academy? The violent act committed against Karley is reprehensible. The dismissive attitude held by the academy officials is shocking and inexcusable.
It is time for this narrative to change. Last December the Department of Defense report revealed a nearly 60% increase in reported sexual assaults at service academies in addition to the fact that West Point was found "not in compliance" with the pentagon's policies to prevent rape and sexual assault.
Civilian colleges and university students can report crimes to local police officers. They can press charges directly against perpetrators and they can obtain their own legal counsel. Military cadets must comply with the military justice system that has a horrible record of providing justice for victims of rape and sexual assault.
Our future military leaders deserve better.
Survivors can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if they'd like to speak out as well.
I yield back.
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