The Dark Side of the Prestigious
Marine Barracks


Col. Ann Wright
May 8, 2012

According to Marine Corps lore, semper fidelis, a Latin phrase for “always faithful,” commands Marines to remain a “brotherhood, faithful to the mission at hand, to each other, to the Corps and to country, no matter what. Becoming a Marine is a transformation that cannot be undone and once made, a Marine will forever live by the ethics and values of the Corps.”

The Marine Barracks in Washington, D.C., is the official residence of the commandant of the Marine Corps. It is the home of the Marines who are the ceremonial guard for the president during official U.S. government functions and the security force for the White House and Camp David. The Marine Band, also located at the Barracks, is known as “The President’s Own.” The Barracks is the showplace of the Marine Corps with its Silent Drill Platoon giving weekly military precision performances for the public during the busy summer tourist season.

But the Marine Barracks has its dark and ugly side. It is also the home of officers and enlisted men of the Marine Corps who have been accused of sexually harassing, assaulting and raping female Marine officers and enlisted and civilian women who work there.

To read the full article at the web site, click here.

The Pentagon Is Camouflaging the Truth About Rape in the Military


Nancy Parrish
Huffington Post
April 20, 2012

On Friday of last week, the Department of Defense issued its Annual Report on Sexual Assault in the Military. First conducted in 2004, this report has helped shine a light on the severity and scope of the crisis of rape in the US military. The disturbing statistics that have been reported include the stunning estimate that, in FY 2010, there were 19,000 sexual assaults among Active Duty personnel.

The 2011 report validates our worst fears. The data shows that the military’s handling of sexual assaults is getting worse, much worse. Charges, courts-martial and convictions plummeted, but there is absolutely no indication that sex crimes decreased.

But while the report is extremely troubling, of even greater concern is the Pentagon’s determined effort to confuse and misinform the public about its own findings.

To read the full piece at the Huffington Post, click here.


To reach for web site archive of  the Department of Defense Annual Reports on Sexual Assaults in the Military, click here.



Nancy Parrish is the President of Protect Our Defenders.


Click here to learn more about how the organization is working to “honor, support and give voice to the brave women and men in uniform who have been raped or sexually assaulted by fellow service members. “

Melissa Harris-Perry

The Enemy Within:
Sexual Assault in the US Military
Melissa Harris-Perry (msnbc)


On April 22nd msnbc’s Melissa Harris-Perry, welcomed msnbc contributor, Attorney Raul Reyes, former Marine Officer Ariana Klay, and Congresswoman Jackie Speier to discuss sexual assault, military culture and the response of the chain of command to reports of violence against service members.

To watch the segment on Melissa Harris-Perry, click the link below:

Melissa Harris-Perry on sexual assault in the US military

Additional MHP links:

Melissa Harris-Perry’s web site

MHP Show |

Future of Feminism: Ending Rape As A Tool of War


Aviva Dove-Viebahn
Ms. Blog
March 2, 2012

Sexual assault and rape during wartime cannot–and should not–be brushed off as mere collateral damage. Rather, rape has long been a systematic tool of strategic violence against women. The public and policy makers should know this in order to help prevent future violence–and that’s the mission of the newly launched Women Under Siege , a Women’s Media Center project.

To continue reading at the Ms. Blog, click here.


Check out Women Under Siege from the links below.

From their web site:

Women Under Siege documents how rape and other forms of sexualized violence are used as tools in genocide and conflict throughout the 20th century and into the 21st. Spearheaded by Gloria Steinem, this initiative builds on the lessons revealed in the anthology Sexual Violence Against Jewish Women During the Holocaust by Sonja Hedgepeth and Rochelle Saidel, and also in At the Dark End of the Street: Black Women, Rape and Resistance—a New History of the Civil Rights Movement from Rosa Parks to the Rise of Black Power by Daniella McGuire.

In the belief that understanding what happened then might have helped us to prevent or helped us to prepare for the mass sexual assaults of other conflicts, from Bosnia to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Women’s Media Center project is exploring this linkage to heighten public consciousness of causes and preventions.

The project has two main components:

1)  A public education plan to demonstrate that rape is a tool of war (not only a crime of war, but also a strategic tool). This plan includes testimony from and partnership with survivors of modern wars from Bosnia to Darfur.

2)  An action plan to push for the creation of legal, diplomatic, and public interventions to ensure the United Nations, international tribunals, and other agencies with power will understand the gender-based threats as a tool of genocide and will design protocols to intervene and halt gender-based genocide.

To view the Women Under Siege web site, click here.

U.S. Military Must Change How it Deals with Rape, Lawmaker Says


Michael Muskal
Los Angeles Times
March 7, 2012

U.S. Rep. Jackie Speier on Wednesday castigated the U.S. military for its policies in dealing with rape and sexual assault and repeated her call for legislation to fix a system she said was broken.

In a floor speech, Speier (D-Hillsborough) called for passage of her legislation that would move rape and assault investigations out of the normal chain of command and put them in the hands of an impartial office. Her speech came in the same week that eight current and former members of the U.S. military filed a lawsuit in federal court alleging they had been raped, assaulted or harassed while serving, and that were targeted by superiors after reporting the attacks.

The Pentagon has repeatedly deplored sexual assaults and has insisted that it has no tolerance for such attacks. In December, it announced a new policy that gives those charging a sexual assault the option of a quick transfer to another unit or installation. The Defense Department has also stepped up training in handling such cases and in preventing assaults.

To read the full article in the Los Angeles Times, click here.





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.

Video capture, YouTube/RepBruceBraley

End Sexual and Domestic Violence Against Women in the Military, says Iowa’s Braley

Lynda Waddington
The American Independent
May 3, 2011

In mid-April U.S. Rep. Bruce Braley (D-Iowa) introduced HR 1517, the Holley Lynn James Act, to encourage the military to provide more accountability for sexual assault and domestic violence. Monday he took the cause one step further by directly asking President Barack Obama to use his authority to implement certain provisions in the bill.

“I want to make sure the President recognizes the need to address this crisis, to ensure that charges of sexual assault and domestic violence are treated seriously, and that the rights of victims are protected,” said Braley.

The bipartisan bill, which has been submitted to both the House Judiciary and Armed Services committees for further review, is named after Holley Lynn James, a constituent of Braley who was killed by her husband while both were in the service. James had filed complaints against her husband, who was supposed to be restricted to his barracks the night he murdered her.

To read the full post at The American Independent, click here.

The Military’s Rape and Sexual Assault Epidemic


Antoinette Bonsignore, RH Reality Check
April 3, 2011

On February 15, 2011, fifteen female and two male military veterans filed a class action lawsuit against former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and current Defense Secretary Robert Gates. A second round of plaintiffs will likely be announced in early April. These veterans have charged the defendants with the wholesale and systematic failure to protect servicemembers from being oftentimes repeatedly raped and sexually assaulted while serving in the military; and with a failure to investigate and subsequently prosecute and punish perpetrators.

The complaint reads like a horror story. One gruesome account after another detailing brutal assaults; sometimes repeated and sometimes committed by multiple perpetrators. Rapes and sexual assaults that are ignored and if not ignored so callously prosecuted within the Military Code of Justice as to suggest that rape is nothing more than a minor infraction deserving of little punishment, if any. A system set up to hide evidence, encourage victims to recant, and when the victim tries to receive some semblance of justice they are generally rewarded with demotions, harassment, and shockingly further rapes and sexual assaults as punishment. Victims are warned to stay quiet or face dire consequences. The brave victims are blamed – the women in particular were just asking for it.

To read the full article at, click here.

Sexual Assault in the Armed Forces


Representative Niki Tsongas (D.- Mass.)
The Boston Globe
February 27, 2011

More than a dozen veterans who were victims of sexual assault while serving in the US military, including two from Massachusetts, recently filed suit in federal court alleging that the Pentagon did not take adequate steps to protect them. Their complaint is reflective of the deep frustration and sense of betrayal that many victims feel with our military leadership, which seems to be unwilling to forcefully confront the issue of sexual assault within the ranks and which has not provided sufficient resources, rights, and legal protections to victims.

Last year, there were 3,230 reported sexual assaults against members of our armed forces. However, the Pentagon estimates that as few as 10 percent of such assaults are actually reported.

To read this full article at The Boston Globe, click here.

Commander: Army Investigating Assault Complaints


Alan Scher Zagier
Associated Press
February 16, 2011

The Army is aggressively investigating sexual assault complaints, the commanding general at Fort Leonard Wood said Wednesday — a day after more than a dozen U.S. veterans filed a lawsuit accusing the Pentagon of failing to take their complaints of sexual abuse by older soldiers seriously.

To read the full AP story on Yahoo! News, Click here.