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Military Rape Speech 6 by Congresswoman Jackie Speier.wmv

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Published on Jul 20, 2011

Mister/Madame Speaker-For the last few months, I have come to this floor to talk about rape and sexual assault in the military.
I've mentioned the fact that according to the Pentagon 19,000 service members were raped or sexually assaulted last year alone.
I've discussed the military culture where victims are blamed and assailants are promoted.
And I've shared the personal stories of several women in order to shine a light on this ongoing epidemic.
But it is not only our female service members being raped. Men are being victimized too.
In an April 2011 article entitled "The Military's Secret Shame," Newsweek looked at a subject that hardly anyone talks about: male on male rape and sexual assault.
Mister/Madame Speaker, it is time to break the silence.
Last year, nearly 50,000 male veterans screened positive for "military sexual trauma." Think about that. 50,000. That's nearly double what it was in 2003.
Another 110 men made confidential reports of sexual assault by other men, nearly three times as many as in 2007.
We know the number of actual victims is much higher. The latest Department of Defense report showed that only 13.5 percent of rape and sexual assault victims reported the crime.
Given the added stigma surrounding male on male cases, report rates are even lower. A study released in March showed that 1 in 15 men in the Air Force would report being sexually assaulted, compared with one in five women.
But many men keep quiet for the same reason women do—a military system that gives them virtually no chance of justice.
In 2010, the Pentagon anonymously asked active-duty soldiers who had been sexually assaulted why they did not report their attacks. Half said they didn't want anyone to know. A third said they didn't think anything would be done. 30 percent said they were afraid of retaliation or reprisals.
We must do better. Just as I have for the last few months, today I will share the stories of victims so our nation can begin to come to grips with this issue. I warn you that some of the material is graphic.
The Newsweek piece highlighted the plight of Blake Stephens who joined the Army in 2001. The verbal and physical attacks started quickly and came from virtually every level of the chain of command. In one of the worst incidents, a group of men tackled him, shoved a soda bottle into his rectum, and threw him backward off an elevated platform onto the hood of a car. When he reported the incident, his platoon sergeant told him, "You're the problem. You're the reason this is happening," and refused to take action. His assailants told him that once deployed to Iraq, they would shoot him in the head.
Newsweek also talked to Greg Jeloudov (Jell-U-doff), a new American citizen who emigrated from Russia and reported for basic training in 2009 with a fresh sense of patriotism. But the military ate him up. The soldiers in his unit called him a "champagne socialist" and a homophobic slur which cannot be repeated on this floor. Less than two weeks after arriving on base, he was gang-raped in the barracks by men who said they were showing him who was in charge of the United States. When he reported the attack to unit commanders, they told him, "It must have been your fault. You must have provoked them."
And I recently received an e-mail from Heath Phillips, who joined the Navy at the young age of 17 in 1988. Phillips was attacked on multiple occasions, beginning his first weekend on duty. When he reported the assault, he was called a liar, baby, momma's boy and a few other choice words. He would complain to the chain of command and be told to shut up and asked for witnesses. In one particularly horrific incident, a group of men attacked Phillips in the shower and sodomized him with a toilet brush handle. They laughed and joked about it the whole time. After he went to the infirmary bleeding and in pain, he was told he was fine and to take the day off. Phillips eventually went AWOL to protect himself. He still suffers to this day.
Whether the victims are men or women, rape and sexual assault in the military is a moral black eye on our nation. It is time to start taking this problem seriously.
As a reminder, I have set up an e-mail account so survivors of rape and sexual assault in the military could share their stories with me. The address is stopmilitaryrape@mail.house.gov.

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