The 2023 NDAA is the culmination of nearly a decade of work with advocates, survivors, and veteran groups.
It finally strips commanders of their remaining judicial and prosecutorial powers for MST offenses and gives them to trained professional military prosecutors. This will build more credibility.
Trained professional military prosecutors will handle cases involving:
- sexual assault
- rape and sexual assault of a child
- other sexual misconduct
- domestic violence
- child pornography
- nonconsensual pornography
- death or injury of an unborn child
- mailing obscene matter
- sexual harassment
This legislation might have given confidence to victims to report that they are a victim of MST.
Prior to this new law here are reasons survivors did not report sexual assault to the criminal justice system. In fact, some feel that the criminal justice system re-victimizes them in the process. Some survivors find that the services provided by a rape crisis and recovery center or similar provider are the only services they feel comfortable pursuing.
These Victims faced the final terrorizing humiliating TRAUMA. They needed to escape the reality that caused it. Without any facts to support it, they came up with a reason to keep silent. Many had more than one reason.
According to Beverly Engel, you must “Stop Shaming Victims of Sexual Assault for Not Reporting. In some cases, the symptoms of PTSD can become more debilitating than trauma. Some characteristics of PTSD can actually run counter to a victim reporting the sexual assault.” She has a point saying “Instead of asking why victims don’t tend to report sexual assault, we need to ask, “What are we doing to make it safe for them to report?” and “What can we do to make reporting processes less threatening and more trauma-sensitive for victims?”
These factors for not reporting are unique to the military:
- You may have had to continue to live and work with your perpetrator, and even rely on him or her for essential things like food, health care, or watching your back on patrol
- You may have been worried about damaging the team spirit of your unit if your perpetrator was in the same unit
- You may have been worried about appearing weak or vulnerable, and thoughts that others would not respect you
- You may have thought that if others found out, it would end your career or your chances for promotion
Why these victims in the “military family” did not report MST?
These were collected from Quora, FaceBook, Blogs, and Forums. The truthfulness cannot be verified.
- I blamed myself. [This is the top reason]
- I was ashamed of myself.
- They took a video of my rape and said they would publish it on porn sites and social media. You could clearly see me and it looks like I am enjoying it because they told me to smile and act as if I like it. Then they turned up the music and started the video. I was doing the dirty talk and asking for more. No way anyone would believe this was rape. It happened 10 years ago and I am still waiting for the day for someone to tell me they watched it on the internet.
- I had to protect my husband’s career because it was his CO. I could not tell him
- I was drunk when it happened. I thought it was my fault.
- I wanted to forget it ever happened.
- I was told it was my fault and no one would believe me.
- I didn’t want to be dishonorably discharged.
- I was told it didn’t matter, nothing happened.
- My mind didn’t register the betrayal.
- I thought I would get in trouble.
- I slept around on board the ship and had a reputation for being a slut. I said no he did not stop. He said everyone would testify against me.
- I was told I would be killed if I reported it.
- I wasn’t believed when I reported all the time someone harassed me and when it escalated to him putting his hands on me I kept quiet.
- The rapist was my husband. The father of my kids. The breadwinner. I had nowhere to go.
- Very few report it. I am no one special so why should I?
- I was told he would give me a higher rank for sexual favors so it was consensual. I was not promoted.
- It was my personality that caused this. I was nieve inexperienced and gullible.
- Avoided remembering what happened to me.
- I was too ashamed to admit that it happened.
- Should not have gone to a bar full of drunk GIs to dance.
- It was a payback in the field. I lost control of my command and showed weakness.
- He was drunk and I convinced myself he didn’t know what he was doing.
- The rapist was a relative.
- He threatened me daily at work as a “joke” about pushing me down the ladder to “help me get rid of” my baby. I was pregnant.
- He was my squad leader and I was one of only 5 females in the company.
- I tried to kill myself right after it instead of reporting it and giving an undesirable discharge.
- I was in denial
- Did not want to face the accusations of being gay
- I knew no one would believe me.
- Those who I told said I was stupid for not fighting back so I did not report it.
- I did not want to be looked at as less than who I am.
- I was afraid it would ruin my career so I kept my mouth shut.
- I did not want anyone to tell me it was consensual because I was drunk or drugged.
- People threatened that I was not going to be allowed to ruin someone’s career.
- I didn’t want to believe it happened and who did it to me.
- I am not a homosexual but it happened and did not want to be called one.
- Authorities said a spouse can’t rape his wife in the military.
- I would be threatened at work with poor performance write-ups
- They told me to forget it because the rapist was in special forces and a valuable asset.
- The authorities said it would end my career.
- Rank has its privileges.
- Unexpectedly got shipped out the next day to another post so I could not report it.
- I had mutable intense orgasms during the rape and I did not want that to be his defense.
- I was a private he was a captain. Who is going to believe me?
- It was consensual under false pretenses of marriage.
- My military BFF was raped and the VA did nothing for her. Why would they help me after I was raped?
- An active duty victim cannot get help for PTSD because you get an undesirable discharge. They say you are not fit to serve.
- He threatened me daily at work as a “joke” about pushing me down the ladder to “help me get rid of” my baby. I had to protect the baby.
- I did not know who the rapist was at a replacement center. I saw him but could not identify him. Not sure he was even a Marine. I was processed and moved on.
- I was immediately shipped out so I just wanted to forget.
- Thought it would be over not knowing he made me pregnant. Now he is my baby’s daddy. It ended in a divorce. I cannot report anything.
- I expected to be raped when I joined. So I just relaxed and let it happen without him using force.
- It was my fault because of the way I dressed, I was drunk, I should not have gone, I was walking late at night, I got into his car, I stayed in the office after hours, I let my hair down and put on makeup in uniform on duty, I was dared to take my blouse off.
- “A man cannot be raped by a woman” and there was no way my wife would have believed me. Her threat was to say I raped her.
- An MP picked me up for being drunk in public. He said to have sex with him or go to the brig. Afterward, he dumped me off behind the PX a mile from the barracks.