One in three women in the military has been sexually assaulted. This staggering statistic has drawn scrutiny to how the military addresses claims of sexual assault, while also calling to question why women in the military are so much more likely to be assaulted than civilian women.
Former marine CJ Scarlett assesses that the culture of the military contributes to such a threatening environment.
“You are in a very closed patriarchal environment where women are put in a situation where there is that hierarchy of authority,” she shared with host Jacob Soboroff during a HuffPost Live segment on sexual harassment in the workplace.
“In my case, I was raped by my recruiter, and I experienced sexual harassment on a daily basis all throughout my five years in the Marine Corps. To the point that I started out as honor graduate of my platoon, an exemplary marine, and by the time I got out five years later, I was so depressed and demoralized that I felt like I was worthless.”
Though Scarlett wanted to come forward, her rapist threatened her with a demotion.
“Sometimes it might not be appropriate for you to tell the person ‘no’, simply because your job may be on the line, as mine was,” she said. “He made it very clear, jokingly of course, that he could demote me to a cook for my six years in the Marine Corps, rather than being in public affairs like I had signed on for. So I had this threat dangling over my head and I was afraid that if I didn’t go along, didn’t remain silent, that six years of my life would be in jeopardy.”
Soboroff and Scarlett were joined by Kelly Bourdet, a writer for Vice Magazine, Julie Blais Comeau, a former HR manager and blogger, and Danya Craig, a writer.