Victim of alleged Naval football assault speaks out: ‘He thought it was funny’

By Kay Steiger
Monday, June 17, 2013 16:15 EDT
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Alleged Naval academy rape victim
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A Naval Academy cadet whose allegations against three of the school’s football players for sexual assault recently became public.

The woman and her mother, who both requested that their names and faces remain private, sat down with CBS Special Correspondent Jeff Glor about her experience. She admitted that she was heavily intoxicated and remembers little of the night of the incident.

According to earlier reports, one perpetrator was her boyfriend, and the three men, all members of the Naval Academy football team, allegedly raped her in the back of a car after an off-campus party.

“I was drinking. I drank a lot. And then — from that point on, I really don’t remember what happened,” the victim confessed to CBS. “I woke up the next morning with bruises and I knew something wasn’t right. But I had no recollection.”

She later learned of the assault from others around campus and even from the perpetrators themselves, she told Glor. “The attackers had bragged about it. They had told me to my face — what they did,” she said.

“One of the individuals, he had tweeted, ‘The train tickets were on the low.’ He was insinuating that it was easy — that I didn’t put up much a fight or that it was an easy to engage in these sexual acts,” she continued. “And he thought it was funny.”

It took some time for the cadet, a naval midshipman, to report the incident because she said she was in denial that it had happened. Public reports of the assault first surfaced on May 30, and the woman and her mother had gone to the Washington Post earlier this month with more details about the assault, saying the Naval Academy refused to fully investigate the incident.

“It’s like, to the academy, it never happened, and it was all brushed away,” the cadet’s mother told the Post.

“You know, there isn’t a moment that I — at school, that I don’t look over my shoulder, or aware of the people around me,” the alleged victim told CBS, “I received a lot of hostility, not even from the attackers, but from their teammates.”

The cadet had initially dropped the case four months after first reporting it, citing intimidation from her classmates. The Pentagon reported earlier this year that some estimated 26,000 sexual assault or abuses occurred in 2012 and that victims who don’t report their assaults often fear widespread retaliation.

The alleged victim renewed the investigation in February. One of the alleged assailants was scheduled to be at the Naval academy graduation where Obama spoke last month, but could not attend due to the ongoing investigation.

“Those who commit sexual assault are not only committing a crime, they threaten the trust and discipline that makes our military strong,” Obama told the graduating class. “That’s why we have to be determined to stop these crimes. Because they have no place in the greatest military on Earth.”

The Naval Criminal Investigative Service is charged with investigating the crime. So far, no official charges have been filed.

A Naval Academy spokesperson provided a statement to CBS, saying, “Naval Academy leadership is monitoring the progress of this investigation and evaluating the appropriate options for adjudication. It is completely inappropriate to make any other public comment on this investigation … as we risk compromising the military justice process.”

Update: NPR reported Tuesday evening that the the three Naval Academy football players will face charges related to the female midshipman’s allegations of sexual assault. The case will undergo Article 32 proceedings, which could result in courts marshal. So far, a date has yet to be set for the hearings.

Watch the CBS report, broadcast on June 17.

Kay Steiger
Kay Steiger
Kay Steiger is the managing editor of Raw Story. Her contributions have appeared in The American Prospect, The Atlantic, Campus Progress, The Guardian, In These Times, Jezebel, Religion Dispatches, RH Reality Check, and others. You can follow her on Twitter @kaysteiger.
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