US Female Soldiers Speak Out Against Sexual Assault
With over 190,000 women serving in Iraq and Afghanistan, female soldiers have brought sexual assault in the military to the attention of military authorities and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). According to the Associated Press, 15 percent of women veterans who have fought in Iraq and Afghanistan have reported being sexually assaulted, raped, or sexually harassed to the VA.
To focus more on the needs of women veterans, the VA has opened a new ward in New Jersey to treat these survivors of military sexual trauma. Carolyn Schapper, of the Virginia Army National Guard, reported repeated sexual harassment from a male superior who would come into her room unannounced. Schapper feared that reporting this behavior would result in her removal from the house, not the other solider. “I didn’t want to be moved, and basically I’d be punished in a sense,” Schapper commented to the Associated Press.
The Miles Foundation, a non-profit that supports survivors of sexual assault in the military, reported that depression, anxiety, and domestic abuse could follow from instances of sexual abuse, according to the Associated Press.