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Jan-02-2010 00:39printcommentsVideo

'I Was Raped Twice in Iraq' US Veteran Speaks Out

US Army Reserve Staff Sgt. Sandra Lee, who was raped twice while serving in Iraq, shared her story in an interview with Russian Television.

U.S. Army Iraq War Vet Sandra Lee
U.S. Army Iraq War Vet Sandra Lee

(MOSCOW, Russian Federation RT) - According to a new study by the US Department of Defense, one in three women in the military is raped[1]. Veterans for Peace add to those statistics, claiming 75% of raped women in the military fail to report it[2].

Sandra Lee has decided to break the silence five years after she was assaulted by a fellow soldier. She had been rebuilding schools in the middle of a war zone in Iraq when the incident occurred.

“It was towards the end of my deployment. Just a couple of months before we were ready to go home,” Sandra Lee remembers, “It happened in the evening. Somebody I knew. It was not big deal to let that person in to where I was living, because he’d come over before. We built a friendly relationship over the past year that I’d been there. It started out normal, just basic conversation, how my days were going. But then he started talking about what I deem is inappropriate.”

Because of the shock, Sandra Lee doesn’t remember exactly what happened. She does remember, though, how she said “No”, and the way she tried to fight back. Unfortunately, no one came to her rescue. And the incident recurred two weeks later. However Sandra failed to report the rapes.

“I had a job to do”, she says, “I didn’t have the time or mental capability to deal with something like that[3]. When you are in the position that I was in, and the job that I was doing, you are on alert 24/7. I wasn’t one of the soldiers who stayed behind – I was out every single day. All day long. Sometimes at night. If I had allowed myself to think about it, deal with it, I don’t think I would have been able to make it."

Sandra says the military sweeps these problems underneath the carpet, even though at times it costs them, “They don’t like to address the problems, because it’s too much work[4]. When I redeployed back to the US, we had post-health assessment screening. Everyone did. And they asked me questions about my mental health. ‘Do you have nightmares? Do you startle easily?’ I marked ‘yes’ to everything. But did anyone contact me, did anyone ask my why I was feeling those things? No.”

Source: http://rt.com/

[1] AMERICAN JOURNAL OF INDUSTRIAL MEDICINE: Factors Associated With Women’s Risk of Rape in the Military Environment

[2] Veterans for Peace: Sexual Assault Resource Page

[3] DMZ Hawai'i Aloha 'Aina: U.S. Army Rapes – The Hidden War

[4] Military Rape: S O P (Standard Operating Procedure)NOT OUR BOYS! - Dr. Phillip Leveque Salem-News.com




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Osotan; January 3, 2010 5:23 pm (Pacific time)

I'm sorry Sandra, and as a former Marine, I agree with Thomas to file formal paper with the DAV, a very helpful group in the past. You are being treated as the perpetrator, and it's nothing but wrong. I hope justice prevails.


Jeff Kaye~ January 3, 2010 9:36 am (Pacific time)

I couldn't get the video to work, but, http://rt.com/Top_News/2009-12-03/military-rape-iraq.html At this above site, I watched Sandra's interview. I have had training in detection of deception while interviewing witnesses by facial tics, expressions, and body language. Everything about her tells me she speaks the truth. She was raped twice, and the Army's trying to discharge her under less-than-honorable conditions. This is an outrage. She performed her duties admirably and this is her repayment for her commitment to her country. Telling the truth and asking for compassion from the government, ANY part of the government, is a nightmare. The VA is a minefield for this brave woman, and thousands like her suffer in silence. I applaud Salem-News for putting this out; it needs to be known that our government uses us (federal employees of every stripe) up like kleenex and throws us away. Finding a lawyer who'll take on the feds is tough, but they're out there. Stay strong Sandra! A better new year will surely follow the hellish 2009 you have endured.


Thomas January 2, 2010 7:54 am (Pacific time)

So you think this is a source that is valid? Any other American based sources to compare, like a formal complaint by this woman? We certainly know bad things happen in a military with several million members, but how does it compare to the civilian world? I also would suggest that this woman contact some organization like the DAV and file formal paper work for PTSD rather than going through the VA, for the latter is not your friend when it comes to helping you get any benefits and/or help for any type of trauma.

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