Karley Marquet and Annie Kendzior, former students at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, NY and the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD claim that they were raped and as a result their military careers are now over, according to CNN.
The 2 women filed a complaint in U.S. Federal Court Friday alleging that the academies ignored "rampant sexual harassment."
The lawsuit named former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, the former superintendents of the two academies and the current secretaries of the Army and Navy as defendants in the case because they are "personally responsible" for failing to "prevent rapes and sexual assaults at the Naval Academy and West Point."
Marquet claimed that she was raped while intoxicated by a fellow classmate in January 2011, during her second semester at West Point.
"I was scared it was going to ruin my career," Marquet said, "I was scared if I said anything, there would constantly be a target on my back."
Her complaint further states that she became depressed and suicidal "as a result of the rape and hostile environment" at West Point.
Although she was fearful of the potential ramifications of coming forward, she eventually filed a report and requested an investigation.
"The reason I ended up telling someone is because I didn't want that to happen to anyone else," she said.
Annie Kendzior, enrolled at the U.S. Naval Academy in the fall of 2008 where she intended to fly F-18s, however, she said that it wasn't long after arriving that she realized that she would never realize that objective
"I could tell that there was a bias towards women," said Kendzior. "You're a female entering into a fraternity. A giant frat."
During one of her first weekends at the academy, Kendzior claimed that she was raped by a fellow midshipman after an off-campus party.
She said that she was also afraid to come forward.
After 2 years of battling with depression and suicidal thoughts as a result of keeping her secret, she finally told her father who encouraged her to report the rape to the proper officials, which she eventually did.
Both women said that they believed their cases were being investigated.
Marquet said that investigators, "promised my parents that if he wasn't going to jail, they could at least get him kicked out of West Point with the evidence they had," she said.
Yet, both women said their alleged perpetrators were never punished and are still in the military.
According to the Department of Defense, reports of sexual assault have risen by nearly 60% in the nations 3 most prestigious military academies, which also includes the U.S. Air force Academy.
What's more is that of the 65 reports investigated, only 1 has resulted in a court-martial.
Kendzior and Marquet said that they revealed their stories so that other women victimized by sexual assault at the academies will feel comfortable coming forward in the future.
"I know that with at least one person coming forward there will be others who want to come forward and say something," said Marquet.
Likewise, Kendzior said, "I want to encourage other women to report as soon as possible because then they might get their perpetrators put behind bars, which is where they should be, which is where they deserve to be."
According to their lawsuits, these women have certainly suffered from a tremendous amount of emotional strife and pain from the alleged attacks.
We will see if the lawsuit, even if unsuccessful, encourages the government and these institutions to more thoroughly investigate sexual assault allegations, which seem to be pervasive in the academies as evidenced by the Department of Defense report.
What do you think?
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