Eight women allege of rape during military service
The United States Military is facing a lawsuit Tuesday morning from eight former and current members who alleged of being raped and punished for reporting the incidents to their supporters, according to the Associated Press.
Seven veterans of the Navy and Marine Corps and an active Marine filed the lawsuit, accusing the military of “high tolerance for sexual predators in their ranks” that discourages anyone reporting of sexual assault. The women said they’ve suffered depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder, with one female admitting she almost committed suicide on herself.
Department of Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is named as one of the defendants on the lawsuit, but Defense Secretary Cynthia Smith said she could not discuss the legislation, stressing that the military has no tolerance for sexual assault.
“It is important that everyone in uniform be alert to the problem and have the leadership training to help prevent these crimes,” Smith said.
Ariana Klay and Elle Helmer, two of the eight woman filing the lawsuit, have publicly described their experiences to NBC’s Today.
“A noble cause is a great vehicle for corruption because nobody wants to look and nobody is going to look,” Klay said, who indicated she was raped in Washington D.C in August 2010 by a senior officer and a civilian friend while being recruited to the Marines Barracks.
Helmer, who was a public affairs employee for the Marine Barracks, said she was sexually assaulted in 2006 after a St. Patrick’s Day pub crawl in Washington D.C.
“Are they saying we’re all lying?” she asked. “Are they saying it doesn’t happen? Hiding behind their rhetoric of zero tolerance is entirely cowardly and misleading and they know it.”
WATCH: Video from NBC, which was broadcast on March 6, 2012.