Witness: Branded a Troublemaker – Ruth’s Story

May 31, 2015

“Riviera had dared what most of her colleagues shunned: She had reported male colleagues for sexual harassment.

During her nine years in the Army, she had been raped twice by fellow officers and twice groped and harassed in such a manner that she felt her dignity had been severely undermined. She only reported the incidents of indecent conduct. Reporting the rapes, she believed, would have had serious repercussions and would have killed her career.

That sexual harassment and assault are a problem in the US military is no secret. Between October 2013 and September 2014 alone, an estimated 18,900 US service members experienced some form of sexual contact or abuse without consent, according to Department of Defense estimates. However, only one in four victims reports these incidents to military authorities for fear of retaliation. The fear, a new Human Rights Watch report finds, is well founded: military personnel who report sexual assault are 12 times as likely to experience some form of retaliation as to see their perpetrator convicted of a sex offense.”

Read more of her story.

Read the full report: Embattled – Retaliation against Sexual Assault Survivors in the US military

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