Press Conference and Action for 'Rape in the Military Awareness Week'

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Ann Wright, event coordinator, 808-741-1141
October 12, 2009 Sandy Kelson, National Rape Awareness week coordinator, 814-382-4887
Michael McPhearson, Executive Director of Veterans For Peace, 314-303-8874

Press Conference and Action for 'Rape in the Military Awareness Week'

WASHINGTON -
Time:
10:30am, Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Location:
In front of the Armed Forces Recruiting Station, Times Square, Broadway and 42nd, New York City, NY

Participants:

Ann Wright, Colonel, 29 year veteran of the US Army and US Army Reserves
Leah Bolger, retired US Navy Commander and National Vice President of Veterans for Peace
Sandra Lee, US Army soldier survivor of sexually assault while in the military
Eve Ensler, author and playwright of the Vagina Monologues and V-Day

Due to the incredible epidemic of rape in the military in which 1 in 3
women in the military have been raped or sexually assaulted, Veterans
for Peace, a national veteran's organization has designated October
12-16 as "Military Rape Awareness Week." (http://www.veteransforpeace.org/Email_blast_september2_2009.vp.html).

VFP chapters will have actions during that week at Armed Forces
Recruiting stations around the country to demand that military
recruiters alert women who are thinking about joining the military
about the high possibility they will be raped while in the controlled,
highly disciplined military environment.

Retired Army Colonel Ann Wright said, "It is a responsibility of us as
veterans to warn young women that according to Veterans Administration
studies, one in three women are sexually assaulted or raped while they
are in the military."

On Tuesday, October 13 at 10:30am members of Veterans for Peace, Iraq
Veterans against the War, Granny Peace Brigade, Codepink: Women for
Peace, World Can't Wait, Artists Response Team and We will not be
Silent will warn potential women recruits at the Armed Forces
Recruiting Station in Times Square about the alarming rates of sexual
assault and rape of women in the military. Several victims of military
rape may speak.

Following the press conference, members of Veterans for Peace and other
organizations will warn women thinking about joining the military by
plastering the windows of the recruiting station with stickers that
state: "1 in 3 women are raped while in the military."

Background:

Sexual assault and rape of women and men in the US military increased
so dramatically during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that in 2005
then Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld formed a task force on sexual
assault-however, the task force did not meet until 2008.

Nearly one-third of a nationwide sample of women veterans who sought
health care through the Veterans Administration said they experience
rape or attempted rape during their service. Of that group, 37 percent
said they were raped multiple times and 14 percent reported they were
gang-raped. Department of Defense has been reluctant to release
statistics on sexual assault of men in the military, but anecdotal
evidence indicates that the statistics are alarmingly high.

Over the past 10 years, more than 700 US Army Recruiters have been accused of sexual misconduct or rape.

60 years of US military studies and task forces since women began
entering the military in larger numbers have not lessened the incidents
of assault and rape.
We call on the Department of Defense and the US Military Recruiting
Commands and the Military Entrance Processing Stations to formally
notify women and men of the statistics on the incidence of the criminal
acts of sexual assault and rape of women and men in the military
committed by fellow members of the military, many in their chains of
command.

References:

"Factors Associated With Women's Risk of Rape in the Military Environment"
AMERICAN JOURNAL OF INDUSTRIAL MEDICINE 43:262-273 (2003),
http://www.veteransforpeace.org/files/pdf/Sadler%20Military%20Environment.pdf

Sara Corbett, "The Women's War," New York Times Sunday Magazine, March 18, 2007
(www.nytimes.com/2007/03/18/magazine/18cover.html?ref=magazine)

Amy
Goodman, "The Private War of Women Soldiers: Female Vet, Soldier Speak
Out on Rising Sexual Assault Within US Military," DemocracyNow.org,
March 8, 2007
(www.democracynow.org/article.pl?sid=07/03/08/1443232)

Helen Benedict, "The Private War of Women Soldiers," Salon.com, March 7, 2007
(www.salon.com/nesw/feature/2007/03/07/women_in_military)

 

 

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Veterans For Peace is a national organization founded in 1985. It is structured around a national office in Saint Louis, MO and comprised of members across the country organized in chapters or as at-large members. The organization includes men and women veterans of all eras and duty stations including from the Spanish Civil War (1936-39), World War II, the Korean, Vietnam, Gulf and current Iraq wars as well as other conflicts. Our collective experience tells us wars are easy to start and hard to stop and that those hurt are often the innocent. Thus, other means of problem solving are necessary.

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