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Inside the military’s “giant rape cult”

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In many ways, what happened to Petty Officer Second Class Rebecca Blumer after she was roofied and raped by three Army officers she met in a bar not far from base was far worse than the attack itself. Her superiors became more intent on prosecuting her for D.U.I. than on finding out what really happened to this promising young intelligence analyst. What’s worse is that her brutal story, recounted in riveting detail by journalist Sabrina Rubin Erdely in this month’s Rolling Stone magazine, is far from uncommon. The military, as films like The Invisible War and Erdely’s article show, has a rape problem of epidemic proportions. It is estimated that one in three military women are raped by fellow troops, twice the number of their civilian counterparts. One survivor of multiple rapes quoted in Erdely’s article calls the military a “giant rape cult.” In 2010, the DoD found that 19,000 service members were sexually assaulted. Of those a paltry 3,100, or 13.5 percent, were reported, and of those only 17 percent were prosecuted. All too often, attackers receive a slap on the wrist while their victims lose their careers and their futures, sometimes falling into homelessness, despair and suicidal thoughts.

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