The Center for Investigative Reporting announced Saturday that the U.S. Marine Corps is investigating a veteran’s allegations that military personnel and other veterans distributed nude photos of female colleagues and other women as part of a social media network that promotes sexual violence. While a spokesperson for the Marine Corps confirmed the investigation, he reiterated that military officials were still trying to understand how many personnel were involved.
U.S. Marine Corps rocked by sexual violence allegations
Specifically, the allegation states that a link to the nude photos was posted in January by a former Marine on the “Marines United” Facebook group; the former Marine has since been relieved of his duties with a defense contractor. The “Marines United” group has 30,000 members, mostly active-duty U.S. Marines, Marine Corps veterans and British Royal Marines.
Marine Lance Cpl. Marisa Woytek says that her nude photos were stolen from her Instragram account and then posted to the Facebook group multiple times without her consent over the last six months. As a result, she says she faced online sexual harassment including references to sexual assault and rape that “…ruined the Marine Corps for me, and the experience.” Cpl. Woytek alleges that many of her female colleagues have experienced similar sexual harassment but have kept quiet over fears of retaliation from the group’s members.
A 10-page Marine Corps document outlining the allegations includes a statement in response that reads in part: “The Marine Corps is deeply concerned about allegations regarding the derogatory online comments and sharing of salacious photographs in a closed website. This behavior destroys morale, erodes trust, and degrades the individual. The Marine Corps does not condone this sort of behavior, which undermines our core values.”
Military sexual assault statistics
Sexual assault has been a pervasive problem in the military for years. According to the 2015 Department of Defense Annual Report on Sexual Assault in the Military, the military services received a total of 6,083 reports of sexual assault involving service members as either victims or subjects throughout fiscal year 2015; 48 or 1 percent less than the 6,131 assaults reported in fiscal year 2014. The Pentagon then clarified that while the number of reports has decreased, so has the size of the military, so that proportionally the rates are the same: four in every 1,000 service members will report an act of sexual assault in a given year.
If you or a loved one was the victim of sexual assault or sexual violence, you may have a personal injury case that can yield a settlement. Damages in a sexual assault – plaintiff case may cover counseling expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages and more.
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