A female soldier in Iraq is more likely to be attacked by a fellow soldier than killed by enemy fire - "Rape is so widespread in the American military, it's sick."
Worse still, the victim is likely to be blackballed by her own unit, and sometimes even demoted, according to Weber. "I first tried reporting the rape to my staff sergeant, he told me to be quiet and not tell anyone. So then I tried to tell a woman sergeant, who was beneath him, because I thought she'd be more sympathetic. She just cursed me for jumping the chain of command and not coming to her first. I went to the doctor, who did at least make a record of it, but he did nothing. I also told my 'battle buddy', a fellow female soldier. She said, 'I know that guy. He's married and he would never do such a thing. You're a liar and a slut.' Before long, I was being called a whore and a bitch by everyone. The guys were warning each other: 'This one will accuse you of rape, so stay away from her.' I was 18 years old, it was the first time I had ever been away from home. I had no idea what to do."
Stories such as Weber's are commonplace. On mydutytospeak.com, where victims of military rape can share their experiences, there are breathtaking tales of brutality and mistreatment. Only 21 years old, and weeks into her military training, Maricella Guzman says she ran to tell her supervisor in the hours after her rape at a military boot camp in Great Lakes, Illinois. "I burst into his office and said, 'I need to speak to you,' " explains Guzman, now 34, and a student at a college in Los Angeles studying psychology, who talks about many lost years when she couldn't function as a result. "One of the procedures if you want to speak to someone in the navy is you have to knock three times on the door and request permission to speak. But I didn't do that. I was too upset. So my supervisor said 'Drop', which means push-ups. So I did the push-ups. But I was still in tears. I said, 'I need to talk to you.' He said 'Drop' again. Every time I tried to say anything, he made me do push-ups. By the time I was composed in the way he wanted me to be, I couldn't say anything any more. I just couldn't." After that, Guzman didn't try to tell anyone for another eight years.