The Military’s Latest Rape-Case Mess

US Naval Academy InsigniaThe Military’s Latest Rape-Case Mess

A sexual assault case reveals an unbalanced military justice system

Which is worse: a sexual assault by three fellow midshipmen near the U.S.  Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md., or spending 20 hours over five days in a  military courtroom fending off questions about one’s sexual history and the  circumstances of the alleged attack?

The latter is what happened at the Washington Navy Yard beginning Aug. 27,  when a female midshipman was cross-examined in a lengthy pretrial hearing  designed to bring those allegedly involved to justice. The case helps explain  why only 3,374 of an estimated 26,000 military members who experienced unwanted  sexual contact last year filed complaints. “It is essentially the woman who is  on trial, and the trial can be worse than the rape,” says retired Colonel  Elspeth Ritchie, who served as the Army’s top psychiatrist and has testified in  similar cases. “I have often thought that I would never report it if it happened  to me.”

Read more:,9171,2151156,00.html

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