Military Sexual Assault Investigation Accuses Victim of Lying

Alleged victim of Naval Academy gang rape endures trial.

Sexual assault in military

The numbers surrounding military sexual assault have been disturbing for decades, but the fact that there has been no improvement may be what serves as most troubling with an increase of 37 percent in sexual assault in the past year. The Pentagon recently reported that approximately 26,000 people serving in the military were victims of “unwanted sexual contact” in 2012 alone; however, as few as 3,374 of those assaults are actually reported to authorities. In the latest trial making headlines and the largest military case of sexual assault since Obama’s been in office, defense attorney Ronald “Chip” Herrington who represents one of the accused assailants has claimed that the victim is faking her emotional exhaustion and turmoil displayed in her testimony.

The 21 year-old midshipman victim, who remains unnamed, has accused Naval Academy football players Tra’ves Bush, Eric Graham and Joshua Tate of raping her in April 2012 after she passed out from drinking too much alcohol during a party. This week, she has endured more than 20 hours of questioning so far surrounding her entire character, medical background, and even the type of underwear she wears.

In her testimony, the alleged victim explained that she recalls “waking up with back pain” and variety of brief memories from the evening. “I noticed I was really disheveled. I was really nerve-wracked because I didn’t know what had happened.” She then spoke with Tate, one of the alleged rapists, who informed that she had had sex with both him and his teammate Graham. The alleged victim explained his response to her lack of memory as, “He was like, ‘What? You don’t remember?’ He told me that we had sex and he was going to have to refresh my memory.”

“He was laughing,” she explained, “and then I was like, ‘I don’t want to hear anymore.'”

The alleged victim explains that she also observed posts on Twitter from Tate that referred to an unnamed female through derogatory slang around sex, literally being submitted to Twitter while she was still in the room with him the day after the alleged rape. One of his Tweets read, “The train tickets were on the low,” explained the alleged victim, which said translates to “easy to drive a train through.” A “train” in sexual contact implies several males having sex consecutively with the same woman.

As she looked back at his Tweets from the actual night of the alleged rape, one post from Tate read: “She’s loving the crew, that’s my ho too,” referring to the casual relationship she and Tate had in the past that had ended long before the alleged rape. As a result of the Twitter posts, the alleged victim says she was now also the victim of an unfair reputation and mockery on the military academy campus. Hesitant to report the incident, largely due to disappointing her own mother and the shame commonly associated with being the victim of rape, the alleged victim finally came forward in September 2012, but still reluctant, it was until January 2013 when she actually shared the entire story and events that she recalled taking place.

The hearing continues next Thursday, September 5, in which the alleged victim can anticipate her morals and character will be further scrutinized as the defense tries to prove that she was not only willing, but that through the overall manner in which she lives her life, this event was her own doing and responsibility.

The larger issue remains with no solution in sight, as Jane Herman, a longstanding congressional critic of how the military responds to sexual violence and assault throughout recent history, says, “While the report shows modest improvement, we’re far from Mission Accomplished. Military women are more likely to be raped by a fellow soldier than killed by enemy fire in Iraq.”

Would keeping women out of the military solve the problem? Absolutely not, as male-on-male rape is just as common, as reported by the Pentagon with estimates of over “13,900 of the 1.2 million men on active duty endured sexual assault while 12,100 of the 203,000 women in uniform experienced the same crime — or 38 men per day versus 33 women per day.”

Disturbing numbers. Meanwhile, male or female doesn’t take away from the fact that both are victims. Will the military handle this present investigation in a manner that can eventually lead to implementing changes in the military that can prevent rape from continuing to increase? For the sake of those in the Naval Academy and serving this country, one can only hope.

Written by Ginger Vieira

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9 Responses to "Military Sexual Assault Investigation Accuses Victim of Lying"

  1. Lee   September 1, 2013 at 12:27 pm

    Mr. Berke (above) put it very well. We live in a complex society made doubly so by the lack of moral judgment prevailing. Socializing and partying are not the same thing. When one has to drink in excess in order to ‘have a good time’ it’s trouble waiting to happen.

    Reply
  2. skeptiktank   September 1, 2013 at 11:55 am

    By the figures cited in the article, approximately 1.1 percent of men are victims of sexual attacks, while 5.9 percent of the women are. Yet, the author concludes that it would make little difference if women were kept out of the military. Obviously, it would make a significant difference, but that is not a reason to keep them out. There are other reasons, which relate to the effectiveness of the fighting force, which is crucial to our survival as a nation, and should not be a social experiment.

    Reply
  3. Sohoyo   September 1, 2013 at 11:22 am

    A lot of these cases are not rape, but just regret, bad sex, and lies. Time for women to be held accountable for their choices. Courts should not be used for revenge, for a ruined reputation, or feminist’s agenda. Both men and women should be held to the same standard, not women given special treatment over men.

    Reply
  4. Glenn Carroll   September 1, 2013 at 11:09 am

    Well, what about no women and no homosexual-bisexual men in the military? That would solve the soldier to soldier rape problem, and also help with increasing male unemployment.

    Reply
  5. gerald berke   September 1, 2013 at 11:09 am

    It isn’t clear that her “alcoholic blackout” was visible to the men she was with… it may very well have appeared to be consensual, albeit a bit lubricated, but that’s one of the desired plusses of alcohol: reduce inhibitions. And her other actions when sober do bear on how she was interpreted when drunk: not at all inconsistent with her happy (and sexy) behavior both times. And is is tricky for men: sex is such a drive for men, it’s like having to turn in your lottery ticket winnings because, well, it was gambling! There’s gonna be lots of disappointment.
    Here’s another twist: men, realizing the realities of their biology, might reasonably be angered for being put at risk and tempted into behavior they themselves try to avoid: waving a drink under the nose of an alcoholic, taking a diabetic to the desert bar, enticing a friend into some dangerous betting or risky adventure… the responsibility is shared. Seriously.
    I’m sorry the lady got “raped”.. but “rape” isn’t “rape” and people who get drunk often behave poorly… the wives of some men might object to the presence of such drunk and “helpless” women hanging around their sposes.

    Reply
  6. Bud Doyle   September 1, 2013 at 10:55 am

    This young lady is being raped a second time – in the courtroom. No wonder so many woman do not come forward.

    Reply
    • Glenn Carroll   September 1, 2013 at 11:10 am

      Do you even know what the definiton of “rape” is? Me thinks not — sounds like you have been brainwashed and no longer are aware of correct use of terms.

      Reply
  7. disgruntled viewer   September 1, 2013 at 10:38 am

    thanks septic tank. You’ve showed us the way. Get the girls drunk and you can have all the sex you want, cause they can’t remember. You should be on the supreme court!

    Reply
  8. skeptiktank   September 1, 2013 at 10:32 am

    The men mentioned in this specific case should not be found guilty from what was reported here. They remember what happened. She, by her own admission, does not. If she was in an alcoholic blackout, the men would not know that at the time. She should not be given a sympathy conviction, simply because she is female. This is a serious charge. I suspect many of the cases alluded to involve somewhat similar circumstances.

    Reply

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