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Soldiers Say Military Doesn’t Protect Them From Sexual Assault

Veterans Kori Cioca, of Wilmington, Ohio, left, and Panayiota Bertzikis, 29, of Somerville, Mass., who were assaulted and raped while serving in the U.S. Coast Guard, are among those suing Pentagon officials, seeking change in the military's handling of rape, and sexual assault cases. (AP)

Veterans Kori Cioca, of Wilmington, Ohio, left, and Panayiota Bertzikis, 29, of Somerville, Mass., who were assaulted and raped while serving in the U.S. Coast Guard, are among those suing Pentagon officials, seeking change in the military's handling of rape, and sexual assault cases. (AP)

A class action lawsuit filed in federal court on behalf of 17 men and women service members alleges that the Pentagon doesn’t do enough to prevent rape and sexual assault within its ranks.

Living in a war zone is hazardous enough, but some servicemembers say that the military is not protecting them from rape and sexual assualt from fellow soldiers and superiors.

The group created a website, stopmilitaryrape.org, and many service members are sharing their stories of sexual assualt within the military at mydutytospeak.com.

The military, in conjunction with the Department of Defense’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office, has also created a website designed to help service members affected by sexual assault, myduty.mil.

We speak with Panayiota Bertzikis, executive director of the Military Rape Crisis center based in Cambridge and one of the lead plaintiffs in the lawsuit against the military. We also speak with Jessica Stern, an expert on violence, and Rep. Niki Tsongas, who has lead efforts in congress to reform the Pentagon’s handling of rape cases.

Guests:

  • Panayiota Bertzikis, veteran, U.S. Coast Guard
  • Rep. Niki Tsongas, representative from Massachusetts’ 5th district
  • Jessica Stern, member, Task Force on National Security and Law, Hoover Institution; author “Denial: A Memoir of Terror

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  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1389250713 Luella Gale

    People still look at me and ask me what I did to bring it on myself yes Py, evenat the VA’s sort of gets to a person and they wonder or at least I do. I look at my counselor and she will say ahh don’t go there you know that line of thinking isn’t right. Yet alone I lie and think about it a uniform same as any other woman in te military no make up oh well. Nope they never did do anything they told me it didn’t happen and they might as well say that now.

    • Professor Mcclendon

      Luella, For God Sake, do not listen to that line of unreasoning. You deserve better than that. Get your story out there. Make the public aware. Get mad and get even by improving your own position. They do not get to win, OK!

      • Professor Mcclendon

        I hope that I was not too dogmatic there.

  • coptic777

    “A majority of those who were victims of unwanted sex said they did not think it was serious enough to report” Oh really? This alone makes me question the entire article.

  • Professor Mcclendon

    I like your style, but I will be satisfied with life in prison. If you rape, you get life.

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