220 survivors of military sexual trauma descended on Capitol Hill, May 8, 2012.

Survivors of Military Sexual Trauma’s
Special Delivery to Capitol Hill


Scott Wooledge
Daily Kos
May 8, 2012

On May 8, Service Women’s Action Network held their “Truth and Justice Summit,” the first-ever mass convening of survivors of military sexual assault on the nation’s capitol. The schedule inclues a panel of survivors sharing their stories with attendees and the press. There will be an awards luncheon, advocacy training and visits to congressional offices. The aim of the congressional outreach, from SWAN policy director Greg Jacob:

We are asking that Congress educate themselves more on issues of sexual assault and harassment in the military and that they become vocal leaders in holding the military accountable for stopping rape in the ranks.

This is an issue that affects men and women service-wide. The reforms and improvements made thus far have been spearheaded by a relatively small group of legislators, most of them being on the Armed Services committee. It is critical that Congress understand that the issue of military sexual violence affects everyone, including veterans and families in their districts that might not have a military presence.

To read the full story at the Daily Kos, click here.



Thanks to Susan Avila-Smith for providing the reporting link.

The Invisible War


Free Film Screening!!


Date: April 17th, 2012

Time: 5:00-8:00 pm
Location: California State University San Marcos
Academic Hall 102


About the film:

THE INVISIBLE WAR is a groundbreaking investigative documentary about one of our country’s most shameful and best kept secrets: the epidemic of rape within our US military. Today, a female soldier in Iraq and Afghanistan is more likely to be raped by a fellow soldier than killed by enemy fire with the number of assaults in the last decade alone in the hundreds of thousands.

Focusing on the powerfully emotional stories of several young women, the film reveals the systemic cover up of the crimes against them and follows their struggles to rebuild their lives and fight for justice. THE INVISIBLE WAR features hard-hitting interviews with high-ranking military officials and members of Congress that reveal the perfect storm conditions that exist for rape in the military, its history of cover-up, and what can be done to bring about much needed change.”

A Panel discussion about Military Sexual Trauma will follow the film. Please join us for a free film and interesting discussion. Refreshments will be provided.

For more information or if you have any questions regarding the event please email us at csusmwssa@gmail.com

This event is co-sponsored by the following California State University San Marcos groups: The Veteran’s Center, ASI Women’s Center, Women’s Studies Department, and Women’s Studies Student Association.


The Invisible War: New Film Exposes Rape, Sexual Assault Epidemic in U.S. Military Democracy Now!   January 30, 2012

The Invisible War — film web site

Women in the Battlefield
and the Barracks:
A Five-Part Series on
Two War Fronts for Women Soldiers


H. Patricia Hynes
January 10, 2012

(Image: Jared Rodriguez / Truthout)

The first decade of the 21st century was a record one for women serving in the US military: Women constituted 14 percent of all active duty military (over 200,000), with one in ten serving in the Middle East and 17 percent in the National Guard. Women soldiers in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, though barred from ground combat, have worked in as dangerous situations as men. These same women have found themselves, concurrently, the target of sexual assault by “brothers in arms” at nearly twice the rate of US society. Military sexual trauma is so severe that it is more likely to cause post-traumatic stress disorder in women than combat trauma and civilian sexual trauma – because of military culture.

In this series, “The Battlefield and the Barracks: Two War Fronts for Women Soldiers,” we will probe the magnitude of sexual assault and harassment of women in the military. What is it about military culture that results in such extreme sexual crime? Why is sexual assault so traumatizing for women soldiers? What are the responses of the Department of Defense and the Veterans Administration to the epidemic of sexual crime in their midst, with its multiple health consequences? And what are the radical changes necessary to reform a recalcitrant military?

To read the full article at Truthout, click here.

Reps. Tsongas and Turner Introduce Legislation to Target Sexual Assault in the Military


Congresswoman Niki Tsongas (MA-D)
April 13, 2011

Congresswoman Niki Tsongas (MA-5) and Congressman Mike Turner (OH-3) and today introduced the Defense Sexual Trauma Response, Oversight and Good Governance Act (The Defense STRONG Act). This bipartisan legislation would expand legal rights and protections for service members who have been the victims of sexual assault. Among its main provisions, the legislation would provide victims with the right to legal counsel, the right to a base transfer, maintain confidentiality when speaking with Victim Advocates, and provide greater training for sexual assault prevention and response at every level of our armed services.

Recent studies have revealed that as many as 1 in 3 women leaving military service report that they have experienced some form of Military Sexual Trauma. By the Pentagon’s own estimate, as few as 13.5% of sexual assaults are reported. Additionally, while 40% of sexual assault allegations in the civilian world are prosecuted, this number is a staggeringly low 8% in the military.

“We ask our men and women in uniform who serve in the military to put their lives on the line for our country, and they shouldn’t fear or experience harm from their fellow soldiers,” said Congresswoman Tsongas. “While the military has made strides to address sexual assault in the ranks, victims still report a lack of confidentiality, protection, support, and access to legal counsel once an incident is reported. The Defense STRONG Act addresses many of these shortcomings with current DOD policy and I look forward to working with Congressman Turner and our colleagues on the Armed Services Committee to ensure these important provisions become law.”

To read the full story at  Congresswoman Tsongas’ web site, click here.

Healing the Wounds: Evaluating Military Sexual Trauma Issues


For those in the Washington, D.C. area on Thursday May 20, 2010, Subcommittees of the House Committee on Veteran’s Affairs will conduct a hearing of interest to readers of this site.

The Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs will hold a Joint Hearing with the Subcommittee on Health on Healing the Wounds: Evaluating Military Sexual Trauma Issues.

May 2o, 2010
Cannon House Office Building
Room 334

10:00 AM

For more information on this hearing, click here.

This month, Gary Trudeau has returned his comic strip Doonesbury to the storyline of Specialist Melissa “Mel” Wheeler and her experiences of sexual harassment and MST while serving as a mechanic in the U. S. military.

The Doonesbury comic can be viewed at GoComics.com, or at Slate.com. The Slate site is searchable and provides background information on the last 30 years of Doonesbury comics.


On the blog , Innocent A-Blogged,  a Morocco Peace Corps Volunteer shared her view on an earlier part of the storyline in Febuary. To read the blog posting, click here.

Military Women: 1 in 3 are Raped


Colonel Ann Wright, (ret.)
Veterans for Peace
Pentagon of Peace – The Five for Truth – New Mexico Tour
October 11, 2009

Join Ann Wright  for a second one hour workshop filmed in Albuquerque New Mexico on October 11, 2009 as part of the Veterans of Peace, Pentagon of Peace event.

Ann discusses the realities behind the recent Veterans Administration report revealing that 1 in 3 women in the military are raped during their service. She brings her vast personal experience, compassion and strong sense of justice to the issue of women in the military.

Special thanks to Gregory W. Dugay for providing this video on Vimeo.com.



Feeding Athena to the Wolves – the Rape of our Warriors


The opinions expressed herein are those of the author, Catherine Scali, and not necessarily those of The New Agenda where the article first appeared.

Catherine Scali
The New Agenda
October 17, 2009

Military rape awareness week went by with little fan fare or media coverage.  The nonprofit group, Veterans for Peace staged a protest at the army recruiting center on Times Square – nothing much was said about it.  The same week, we discussed plans to ship 60,000 soldiers to Afghanistan.  More troop deployments from a military that relies on volunteers. 

Volunteers who may not know that a recent survey of veterans seeking medical care from the VA  reported that 1 in 3 female vets had been raped.  Even more startling is the fact that 1 in 7 women in the military report that they have been sexually assaulted. What has happened to the honor and dignity of our military?  Are we throwing Athena to the wolves?

To read all of Catherine Scali’s opinion piece at The New Agenda web site, click here.

New Seattle Charity Aims to Help Military Sexual Trauma Victims


By Lindsay Toler
The Seattle Times
August 23, 2009

Pack Parachute provides financial assistance and advocacy for Washington State veterans who were raped while serving in the military. The new charity adds to Seattle’s tradition of being a resource for military sexual-trauma victims.

To read the full story in The Seattle Times, click here.

Contact information for Pack Parachute, is available on the USMVAW  Organizations page here.