John W. Adkisson for The New York Times

Once Hailed as Army Pioneer, Now Battling to Stay on the Job


James Dao
The New York Times
May 11, 2012


When Command Sgt. Maj. Teresa L. King was named the first female commandant of the Army’s elite drill sergeant school in 2009, proponents of gender equality in the military hailed the news as a watershed.

Sergeant Major King headed the Army’s drill sergeant school at Fort Jackson, S.C.

But it did not take long for the grumbling to start. Students who flunked out of the school complained that she set unfair standards. Some of her own instructors said she rigidly enforced old-fashioned rules. Traditionalists across the service asked: how could a woman with no experience in combat manage the Army’s only school for training the trainers who prepare recruits for war?

She says she tried to ignore the criticism, but her superiors did not. Last November, they suspended Sergeant Major King, forbidding contact with students or staff and opening an investigation into what they called the “toxic” environment at the school. As that review dragged on, she says she felt like a criminal: isolated, publicly humiliated and so despondent that friends worried that she might hurt herself.

To read the full story at the New York Times, click here.


Additional Reporting from The New York Times:

At War Blog: Head of Drill Sergeant School Reinstated The New York Times, (May 4, 2012)

First Woman to Lead Army Drill Sergeant School Is Suspended  The New York Times, (December 15, 2011)

First Woman Ascends to Top Drill Sergeant Spot The New York Times, (September 22, 2009)

Secret Service Needs More Women, Lawmakers Say


Brian Knowlton
The New York Times
April 22, 2012

Two female lawmakers, both of them members of oversight committees, said Sunday that the dearth of women Secret Service agents might have contributed to the scandal linking agency personnel to prostitutes in Colombia. And they credited a female supervisor in the agency for bringing it to light.

The lawmakers, Representative Carolyn B. Maloney, Democrat of New York, and Senator Susan Collins, Republican of Maine, were asked on the ABC program “This Week” about a report describing a female Secret Service supervisor, Paula Reid, who ordered the crackdown on agents working in Cartagena, Colombia, ahead of a visit by President Obama last weekend.

“She acted decisively, appropriately, and I can’t help but wonder if there’d been more women as part of that detail if this ever would have happened,” said Ms. Collins, ranking member of the Senate Homeland Security Committee.

To read the full article at the New York Times, click here.


Additional Reporting:

Paula Reid, Rising Star of the Secret Service, The Washington Post, April 22, 2012

Special Agent In Charge Paula Reid

Security Clearances Suspended in Secret Service Scandal, The New York Times, April 23, 2012

Six Secret Service Agents Leave Amid Columbia Prostitute Scandal, ABC News, April 23, 2012

12th Military Member Tied To Prostitution Scandal, AP, April 23, 2012

In This Rape Center, the Patient Was 3


Nicholas D. Kristof
The New York Times
October 8, 2011


In a rape treatment center here, I met a 3-year-old patient named Jessica, who was cuddling a teddy bear.

Jessica had seemed sick and was losing weight, but she wouldn’t say what was wrong. Her mother took her to a clinic, and a doctor ferreted out the truth. She had been raped and was infected with gonorrhea.

As I stood in the rape center corridor, reeling from the encounter with Jessica, a 4-year-old girl was brought in for treatment. She, too, turned out to have been infected with a sexually transmitted disease in the course of a rape. Also in the center that day were a 10-year-old and a 12-year-old, along with older girls.

Sexual violence is a public health crisis in much of the world, and women and girls ages 15 to 44 are more likely to be maimed or killed by men than by malaria, cancer, war or traffic accidents combined, according to a 2005 study. Such violence remains a significant problem in the United States, but it’s particularly prevalent in countries like Sierra Leone, Liberia or Congo that have endured civil war. The pattern is that after peace arrives, men stop shooting each other but continue to rape women and girls at staggering rates — and often at staggeringly young ages.


To read the full piece in The New York Times, click here.



A poster in Monrovia, Liberia, encouraging women to seek assistance if they have been raped (Keystone)

Rape as a Weapon of War

May 17, 2011

Media reports are becoming more disturbing by the day as we learn how rape is being used as an everpresent tool of war against women.

The following links represent some of the current stories in the media:

Libya Troops Using Rape as a Weapon?   May 17, 2011

STUDY: 1,152 Women Raped Everyday In DRC Totally Free May 12, 2011

Congo Study Sets Estimate for Rapes Much Higher  The New York Times May 11, 2011

STUDY: Estimates and Determinants of Sexual Violence Against Women in the Democratic Republic of Congo

Abuse Often Follows Afghans to America


Kirk Semple
The New York Times
February 27, 2011

When she arrived in New York from Afghanistan last year to join her husband, an Afghan-American she had married in Kabul, Nadia K. was thrilled at the prospect of a new American life.

But soon after she moved in with him and his family in Flushing, Queens, she said, they started treating her like a servant. Her husband revealed that he loved another woman. When Nadia complained, her sister-in-law beat her, with the consent of the husband, who often looked on, smiling.

To read the full article at The New York Times, click here.

To visit the Women for Afghan Women web site, click here.

Additional coverage of media reports since the filing of the Military Rape and Sexual Assault Class Action Lawsuit on February 15, 2011.


The Service Women’s Action Network (SWAN) has collected news reports from around the country and the world. You can see the latest coverage and information about the lawsuit at their web site, here.


The Young Turks
February 15, 2011

Lawsuit Says Military Is Rife With Sexual Abuse The New York Times, February 15, 2011

Military Accused of Turning Blind Eye on Rape Victims NBC San Diego, February 15, 2011

Lawsuit Says Military Tolerates Rape, Assault Marine Corps Times, February 15, 2011