2009, three months after Emily Vorland reported her being raped, retaliation started. The investigation took a turn, the investigations started to focus on her. Then came the threat of perjury charges, unless she accepted a general discharge. This charge is then written on her discharge papers and the nightmare deepens.
Her dreams shattered by a senior officer who harassed her and got relieved of his position due to the report earning her discharge papers with the following statement ” ‘General under honorable,’ and then what they have under there — conduct unbecoming. It was hard to apply for a job.” which means you are unemployable.
This is the story of most of the vvictims of sexual asault in the military.
The military released data this month showing over 6,000 reported sexual assaults during 2015. The real number is likely three or four times higher. Just like in the civilian world, most rape doesn’t get reported, and the Pentagon acknowledges this happens in the military because victims fear they — not the perpetrators — will face reprisals from commanders.
Human Rights Watch says in a report today that the Pentagon doesn’t do enough to repair the damage from those reprisals.
“It’s a common perception in the military that you have to choose between reporting your rape and staying in the military,” said Sara Darehshori, who interviewed hundreds of military sexual assault survivors for the organization.
Furthermore, the report found victims are frequently denied the ability to change their status due to federal law which prohibits the ability to sue the military and rigid review board processes that reject their appeals.
“Military rape victims with bad discharges are essentially labeled for life,” said Sara Darehshori, senior counsel in the U.S. program at Human Rights Watch and author of the report, whose research included 163 survivors of military sexual assault since the Vietnam War.
“Not only have they lost their military careers, they have been marked with a status that may keep them from getting a job or health care, or otherwise pursuing a normal life after the military.”
……more in the report