To answer that question, Mary Calvert met with survivors and went to congressional hearings on military sexual assault. The women she met connected her with more women, and she photographed them in their homes and communities. Through her work, she learned that just 1 in 7 victims of sexual assault in the military reported the attack; of those assaults that were reported, just 1 in 10 ever saw a trial.
Carlos Antonio Holcombe, US Army veteran, was accused of kidnapping a twelve year old child from a high school parking lot and raping her on August 22, 2014 in El Paso, Texas. He lured the little girl by asking her if she would help him move some boxes. He then pointed a gun at her back and forced her into his truck. He took her to his home, put duck tape over her eyes, bound her, and raped her. School cameras caught him in the act of the abduction and he was arrested by police the next day. He was indicted on one count of aggravated kidnapping and three counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child. According to reports, Holcombe served ten years in the US Army in support of Operation Desert Shield and was honorably discharged. He now claims he has Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) yet has not received any treatment from the Department of Veterans Affairs. He used the PTSD defense claiming that he suffers from a disassociative disorder he developed after he was sexually abused as a child. He also used the temporary insanity defense, claiming he was drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana right before the incident. A psychologist testified that he examined Holcombe by giving him several psychological exams and the results of the exams showed that Holcombe was exaggerating or lying about his symptoms. Holcombe was found guilty by a jury of three counts of aggravated sexual assault of a child, and one count each of aggravated kidnapping and indecency with a child involving sexual contact. He was sentenced to life in prison on one count of aggravated kidnapping and 20 years in prison on a charge of indecency with a child involving sexual contact. The sentences will be served concurrently.
“You don’t get to claim you have PTSD and commit a rape.” -Prosecutor Alyssa Nava
Army Sgt. Christopher Mulalley, 26, died as the result of a non-combat related incident on August 22, 2014 in Gardez, Afghanistan. Sgt. Mulalley was supporting Operation Enduring Freedom on behalf of the 1st Battalion, 3rd Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division at Fort Hood, Texas. At the time of the Department of Defense press release, the incident was under investigation. The official cause of death is unknown.
New legislation in Iowa would address sexual assault and retaliation in the National Guard
“I was one of many that had a career ended shortly because I simply reported a sexual assault,” Jennifer Norris said.
Norris retired as a technical sergeant from the United States Air Force in 2010 and also served in the Maine and Massachusetts National Guards. Norris testified before Congress that during her military career, she was sexually assaulted four times between 1996 and 1998. She says after she finally reported the attacks to her supervisor, she faced retaliation.
“I went back and was blown away at how much disdain and hatred I faced as a result of standing up for what was right and protecting other women,” Norris said. “That right in and of itself was the biggest betrayal I ever experienced in my life….When you have zero support and you are alone, it will push you to the place Jessica Brown has been. I have been there.”