Locally Produced Documentary on Military Rape to Air on WEDU
Laurie, a Tampa resident, says she always knew she wanted to join the military. When she was young she looked up to her uncle who was a drill sergeant in the army. After high school, she joined the air force.
"I was an air force mechanic. There aren't many women in that career field."
In fact, Laurie says in her unit she was the only one. She enjoyed hanging out and playing cards with her fellow soldiers until one day something went terribly wrong.
"When I was stationed in Saudi Arabia. There were a lot of people, planes rotated in and rotated out. We were playing Phase Ten. So I went into the bathroom not thinking anything of it. These are guys I've hung out with for the entire 3 weeks they'd been here."
Laurie says one of the guys stopped her and began to show her gifts he'd bought at the market for his wife. She says when she tried to leave, he blocked the door and raped her.
Laurie initially told only her doctor what had happened. Later when she told her supervisor her painful story, she says, he used the information against her. Eventually, he raped her. Attorney Susan Burke says stories like Laurie's are not uncommon.
"The betrayal after the rape is just as bad because here they are in the service where they're taught comradery, they're taught to view themselves as brothers and sisters in arms. When they're raped, they go to bring it forward to their command, their careers suffer."
The Department of Defense says they've recently made improvements in their handling of complaints of sexual assault including requiring that reports go all the way up the chain of command.
General Mary Kay Hertog says, "We have a significant problem. I'll tell you, the secretary has given me 9 million dollars just for robusting our training for our investigators and our lawyers. I think we own this problem, we need to fix this problem."
Critics worry these steps will not be enough.
Uniform Betrayal: Rape in the Military will air on WEDU at 10P.M Friday June 1st and Thursday June 14th.