During my training for the U.S. military I was violently raped, tortured and left to die by a superior.
You can watch my story in the video above.
I am not alone. The Department of Defense estimates that over 19,000 such incidents occurred in 2010 alone but that only 13.5% of sexual assaults are ever reported.
It is a problem at every level of the military, with the Pentagon itself reporting a 58.5% increase in sexual assaults at its service academies in the last year.
The military rarely prosecutes rape or sexual assault within its ranks and victims seldom get the medical care they need or the justice they deserve. My assailant, like thousands of others, has never been prosecuted.
Currently, sexual assault in the military is reported through the normal chain of command. It’s not working.
Several nations have instituted sweeping reforms to fix similar problems in their armed services, including England, Australia and Canada. But our Department of Defense has only implemented half-measures that do nothing to fix the problem. We need to do more.
The Department of Defense must take the prosecution, reporting, oversight, investigation, and care for victims of sexual assault out of the hands of the normal chain of command and place the jurisdiction in the hands of an impartial office staffed by military and civilian experts. Just as importantly, survivors of rape and sexual assault must be consulted because we know better than anyone the flaws that currently exist.
Please join me and other survivors now: Tell your representative to protect our defenders and support H.R. 3435, The STOP Act, to create a new system for handling sexual assault in the military outside the normal chain of command.
-Terri, Military Sexual Assault Survivor