Class-action law suit accuses Pentagon of ignoring sexual abuse complaints

In 2009 Helen Benedict published “The Lonely Soldier, The Private War of Women Serving in Iraq.”

Helen Benedict | The Lonely Soldier.

Now, based on the testimony of women interviewed for The Lonely Soldier,” and other service women and men, a class action lawsuit has been filed against the Pentagon, Donald Rumsfeld, and Robert Gates.

“The problem of rape in the military is not only service members getting raped, but it’s the entire way that the military as a whole is dealing with it,” said Panayiota Bertzikis, who is a plaintiff in the lawsuit and claims she was raped in 2006. “From survivors having to be involuntarily discharged from service, the constant verbal abuse, once a survivor does come forward your entire unit is known to turn their back on you. The entire culture needs to be changed.”

Comments from the web:

Every Woman Has A Story

After twenty years in the military, I know that every woman in uniform has a story to tell about sexual harassment. When I complained to my company commander in Germany that a fellow soldier in my unit was stalking me, he assured me that the soldier would be reprimanded. The very next day, the stalker was promoted – and my nightmare continued. Like DADT, sexual harassment is a disgrace to core military values. Our military, the largest employer in the world, must be held accountable for not walking the talk and living up to its own standards.

Executive Director of Service Women’s Action Network, Anuradha K. Bhagwati:As a Marine commander, I witnessed my own senior officers violate sexual harassment and sexual assault policies, shirk their responsibilities to their own troops and lie to families by ignoring reports of abuse, transfer sexual predators out of their units instead of prosecuting them, promote sexual predators during ongoing investigations, and accuse highly decorated enlisted service members of lying about their abuse, simply because they were women. Any attempt to hold these officers accountable was met with threats and retaliation. I saw some of the nation’s finest service members leave the military after their abuse and betrayal, while their perpetrators and the officers who willingly protected them to this day remain in uniform.

A Link to DADT: Just say “no” and out you go:

“If I didn’t comply with what the guys wanted– I mean, if they wanted to take me out to dinner and I didn’t want to go– then they would basically assume, or just judge me from, you know, what they thought or what they wanted to think, which was either I was homosexual, or I just didn’t like men. * * * You’re a lesbian. Are you gay? You’re not going out with me, you must be gay.”
— PBS NewsHour, Dec. 9, 1999


About Stein Ink

Gertrude Stein's cousin. Writer, Reader, Knitter. STARR Restaurant Reporter and Virtual Travel Editor for the Tri-City Voice, serving communities East of the Bay (as in San Francisco Bay Area). Married with one wife, one small dog, and an irritable cat. Raised on the East Coast, where they have an "edge" not found out here in California. Two grown children: good men with families.
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2 Responses to Class-action law suit accuses Pentagon of ignoring sexual abuse complaints

  1. This is an issue that needs to be addressed immeadiately. With so many similar complaints, this is not something that can be shrugged off and forgetten about yet again.

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