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Tasia Ochs

Eng 101
Prof. Lohmeyer
17 April 2016
Word Count: 1,519
Will They Ever Find Justice?
In November of 2001, Lynn Hall, a first year cadet at The Air Force Academy,
started attending a group on campus called the Aero Club. She had only been going
to school for a couple months and was still getting to know the routine. An upper
classman told her that she would have to pass a test to be able to join the club.
Hall said He seemed much more interested in starting a personal conversation and
it surprised me how friendly he was. He told her to call him by his first name, and
this is 100% against the rules of the academy. He offered to help her study for her
test. She climbed up many flights of stairs to the library with him to study, but she
soon found out that he was not interested in studying. Next thing I remember, I
was on the ground and my pants were around my ankles she says.
There is a large amount of people who plan to join the armed forces when
they graduate high school. My friend is planning to go to WestPoint University, a
Military Academy in New York, but she doesnt know what happens to multiple
students, especially women, who attend. Sexual assault is a problem all over the
United States. One of the places you would expect it the least is actually where it
happens the most. An estimated 26,000 service members were sexually assaulted
in 2012, according to the latest government report. Thats up from 19,000 in 2010,
despite recent claims that the military has been focusing more on prevention
efforts (Thompson). Joining the armed forces may make you feel as though you
are doing the right thing, but are you? Studies show that 1 in 3 women will be
raped or sexually assaulted in some way when they join the military or another
branch of service. Many of the women that were sexually assaulted have decided
not to say anything about it, because it wasnt worth telling and they knew there
would never be justice for the incident, they didnt want a backlash from the other
students, and they were afraid of being kicked out of the military for reporting it.
The 2005 Defense Task Force on Sexual Harassment and Violence at the
Military Service Academies report states: "Within the military community, the term
sexual assault carries a more far-reaching meaning that encompasses everything
from violent sexual acts such as rape, forcible sodomy, and assault with intent to
commit rape or sodomy, to indecent assault. While indecent assault connotes
violence, violence is not a prerequisite of the crime. Indecent assault can be a mere
sexual touching that occurs without the consent of the person who is touched.
(SpringerReference)
Naturally, you would expect that in the armed forces that things like rape or
assault wouldnt happen as much as they do and would not be tolerated when it

occurs. You expect it as one of the last places that it would happen let alone be
tolerated. It has, however, been naturally accepted as something that happens to
more than 26,000 men and women in the armed forces. They are all told the same
thing, do not report your assault! For fear of being kicked out of the military, having
it happen again, and having a backlash from their peers, they do not say a word.
It is said that 86% of military rapes are unreported. Men and women keep it
to themselves, because they are afraid of being kicked out of their service branch,
having to perform lower jobs, and because they are not guaranteed safety on base
after word is spread around. Sexual assault victims who report the assault have a
small chance of finding a solution, according to the Human Rights Watch analysis.
Most of the victims who reported sexual assault will tell you that it was not worth it.
A senior master sergeant reported that when she was a young airman, she had
been groped by a judge advocate general. In her next performance evaluation, she
said she was marked down for questionable handling of personal matters. Later,
when she was raped, she didnt report for fear of hurting her career. To me, it
wasnt worth it, she said (Childress). Service members who report sexual assault
face the threat of something called collateral misconduct. This means that they
face punishment for offenses encompassing the assault, such as under-age
drinking, if they report the event. Instead of punishing the assaulter, the generals,
or higher authorities, punish the victim of the assault.
An estimated number of sexual assaults in the armed forces dropped in 2014,
but the number of rapes and violent sexual assaults has become significantly higher
(Kime). This year, however, something has changed. Numbers have remained
nearly the same. According to the Pentagons annual report of military sexual
assault cases, the number has stayed on average the same as the previous year.
Luis Martinez wrote that service members can report sexual assault incidents in
restricted and unrestricted ways. Restricted meaning that it will allow them to seek
medical treatment and mental health counseling. They are allowed at any time to
change their report from restricted to unrestricted or the other way around. If they
change it from restricted to unrestricted, an investigation will be underway.
The story of Lynn Hall is just one of the many stories that are out there. She
has a story of sadness, shame and secrets, but she is not letting that get the best of
her. She shares her story through blogs, social media, and a book she is in the
process of finishing with millions of people around the world. To this day she still
experiences pain from contracting a disease given to her by her attacker. Her
doctors tell her that she was too sick for too long and she has developed scar tissue
which causes her to have massive headaches. Even with her condition, she doesnt
let it slow her down. She has completed multiple mountain climbs and a large
number of marathons. Her life-long dream was to become a pilot for the Air Force.
When she contracted meningitis, however, she was not able to live this dream.
Between January 2004 and December 2013, there were more than 17,900
complaints of sexual assault from service members. About a third of them said that
they had been retaliated against by their peers on base. They cannot find the
justice they are seeking, because if they report any form of assault they are

immediately transferred to do lower tasks, something that would make them seem
unworthy of being in the armed forces. Most of them are stricken to garbage duty.
They pick up trash all over the campus with others who have reported assault.
Since when is it fair to punish someone who reports assault? Shouldnt there be
some sort of investigation? Well, in the service, they perform a small investigation
and then shut it up. They make it seem like nothing ever happened, but everyone
knows that you told. There are multiple reports of student backlash and even being
raped again.
There has been little improvement seen over the past three years. Without
seeing any improvement, I am left wondering. I wonder, what could be done to
change this? How is it possible for service members to get away with such a crime?
Why is it that being under the protection of the military makes it okay to commit
such a violent crime? Even though it shouldnt be possible, it is, because it is
happening year after year, over and over again! Victims should see justice for what
happened to them. When will they find it? Why cant they find it? It shouldnt be
that hard to punish someone for committing a crime, somewhere in the U.S. we do
it every single day. To this day, NO CADET has been INCARCERATED for raping
another cadet says Clara Bingham, an investigative journalist. The women she
interviewed said they were ready to reveal the militarys best kept secret, no matter
the cost! Lynn Hall has said the same thing. She is ready to share her story with
everyone. She is in the process of writing a memoir and she has been on T.V.
sharing her story with the world.

Works Cited
Http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCD5OvivJqqf2ZcKkebhL0PA. "Vanity Fair
Confidential - Season 2 Episode 4 ''Code of Dishonor''" YouTube.
YouTube,
02 Mar. 2016. Web. 11
Apr. 2016.
Childress, Sarah. "FRONTLINE." PBS. PBS, n.d. Web. 11 Apr. 2016.
Bingham, Clara. "Code of Dishonor." Vanity Fair. 2 Jan. 2014. Web. 11 Apr.
2016.
"Military Factsheet - Futures Without Violence." Futures Without Violence.
N.p.,
n.d. Web.
11 Apr. 2016.
Patricia Kime. "Incidents of Rape in Military Much Higher than Previously
Reported." MilitaryTimes. N.p., 05 Dec. 2014. Web. 06 May
2016.
"Sexual Harassment." SpringerReference (n.d.): n. pag.
Http://www.sapr.mil/public/docs/research/high_gpo_rrc_tx.pdf. June 2005.
Web. 02 May 2016.
Martinez, Luis. "Military Sexual Assault Reports Level Off, but Pentagon
Officials
Remain Concerned." ABC News. ABC News Network, 05
May 2016. Web. 06
May 2016.