THE BATTLE WITHIN: SEXUAL ASSAULT IN AMERICA'S MILITARY

PhotographerMary F. Calvert
Prize3rd Place in Deeper Perspective / Deeper Perspective
CompanyZUMAPress
City/CountryAnnapolis, United States
Photo Date3/21/2014
Technical InfoNikon
Story

Women who join the US Armed Forces are being raped and sexually assaulted by their colleagues in record numbers. An estimated 20,000 rapes and sexual assaults took place last year and only 6,236 victims reported their attacks. Just one in ten of those cases went to trial and the violence of the rape and the ensuing emotional trauma are compounded by the futility of reporting the attacks to their commands. Most military rape survivors are forced out of service and many are even compelled to continue working for their rapists. US Army Spc. Natasha Schuette, 21, was pressured not to report being assaulted by her drill sergeant during basic training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. Though she was hazed by her assailant’s fellow drill instructors, she refused to back down and Staff Sgt. Louis Corral is now serving four years in prison for assaulting her and four other female trainees. At the White House and hearings on Capitol Hill, the US Military has been forced to examine why are rape and sexual assault are so prevalent within the ranks, its victims ignored and the abuse considered simply a breach of conduct and not a criminal offense. TSgt. Jennifer Norris testified to a near empty House hearing room how she was drugged and raped by her recruiter after joining the US Air Force when she was 24 years old. The assaults did not end there. In tech school, her instructor sexually assaulted her. "It’s like being in a domestic violence marriage that you can't get divorced from," she said. Worst of all were the sexual assaults by her supervisor in the Maine National Guard that went on for months. After fourteen years in the Air Force, Norris left the military she had been so proud to join. She suffers with PTSD brought on by MST and will not leave her house without her MST service dog. The effects of Military Sexual Trauma include depression, substance abuse, paranoia and feelings of isolation. Victims spend years drowning in shame and fear as the psychological damage silently eats away at their lives: many frequently end up addicted to drugs and alcohol, homeless or take their own lives. For five years, Gary Noling has mourned his daughter Carrie on each anniversary of her suicide in Alliance, Ohio. US Marine Carrie Leigh Goodwin suffered severe retaliation after reporting her rape to her commanders. Five days after she was sent home with a bad conduct discharge, she drank herself to death. "It destroyed my family,” said Gary. “When Carrie died I lost all three of my kids and my grandkids. I lost two thirds of me. Two thirds of me is in that box of ashes."

Entry Description

Women who join the US Armed Forces are being raped and sexually assaulted by their colleagues in record numbers. An estimated 20,000 rapes and sexual assaults took place last year and only 6,236 victims reported their attacks. Just one in ten of those cases went to trial. The violence of the rape and the ensuing emotional trauma are compounded by the futility of reporting the attacks to their commands. At the White House and hearings on Capitol Hill, the US Military has been forced to examine why are rape and sexual assault are so prevalent within the ranks, its victims ignored and the abuse considered simply a breach of conduct and not a criminal offense.

Story

Women who join the US Armed Forces are being raped and sexually assaulted by their colleagues in record numbers. An estimated 20,000 rapes and sexual assaults took place last year and only 6,236 victims reported their attacks. Just one in ten of those cases went to trial and the violence of the rape and the ensuing emotional trauma are compounded by the futility of reporting the attacks to their commands. Most military rape survivors are forced out of service and many are even compelled to continue working for their rapists. US Army Spc. Natasha Schuette, 21, was pressured not to report being assaulted by her drill sergeant during basic training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. Though she was hazed by her assailant’s fellow drill instructors, she refused to back down and Staff Sgt. Louis Corral is now serving four years in prison for assaulting her and four other female trainees. At the White House and hearings on Capitol Hill, the US Military has been forced to examine why are rape and sexual assault are so prevalent within the ranks, its victims ignored and the abuse considered simply a breach of conduct and not a criminal offense. TSgt. Jennifer Norris testified to a near empty House hearing room how she was drugged and raped by her recruiter after joining the US Air Force when she was 24 years old. The assaults did not end there. In tech school, her instructor sexually assaulted her. "It’s like being in a domestic violence marriage that you can't get divorced from," she said. Worst of all were the sexual assaults by her supervisor in the Maine National Guard that went on for months. After fourteen years in the Air Force, Norris left the military she had been so proud to join. She suffers with PTSD brought on by MST and will not leave her house without her MST service dog. The effects of Military Sexual Trauma include depression, substance abuse, paranoia and feelings of isolation. Victims spend years drowning in shame and fear as the psychological damage silently eats away at their lives: many frequently end up addicted to drugs and alcohol, homeless or take their own lives. For five years, Gary Noling has mourned his daughter Carrie on each anniversary of her suicide in Alliance, Ohio. US Marine Carrie Leigh Goodwin suffered severe retaliation after reporting her rape to her commanders. Five days after she was sent home with a bad conduct discharge, she drank herself to death. "It destroyed my family,” said Gary. “When Carrie died I lost all three of my kids and my grandkids. I lost two thirds of me. Two thirds of me is in that box of ashes."

About Photographer

Before beginning her freelance career, Mary F. Calvert worked as a staff photographer for eleven years on the award-winning staff of The Washington Times. While the bulk of her daily assignments focused on covering Congress, political campaigns and The White House, Mary’s true photographic calling was, and continues to be, documenting the humanitarian struggle of women around the world. She was a finalist in 2007 for the Pulitzer Prize in Feature Photography for documenting the societal stigma of sub-Sahara women afflicted with obstetric fistula after childbirth. In 2008, Mary was honored with the Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Award in International Photography for her project, “Lost Daughters: Sex Selection in India”, chronicling the social and economic motivations for the widely prevalent practice of Indian doctors performing abortions of female fetuses. Also in 2008, she was awarded the White House News Photographers Association Project Grant to document sexual violence in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The resulting project being named as a finalist for the 2010 Pulitzer Prize in Feature Photography for “ …courageous work published in The Washington Times that vividly documents how rapes, by the tens of thousands, have become a weapon of war in Congo”. Calvert believes that journalists have a duty to shine a light into the deepest recesses of the human experience and provide a mirror for society to examine itself. Exploring the plight of women and children worldwide as they struggle to secure for themselves the most basic human rights while enduring the effects of armed conflict is a subject that must be illuminated with conviction and consistency. She a true believer that the light cast by her labor is capable of affecting meaningful social change. That belief and commitment to her craft has taken her from homeless encampments in Japan to war torn Africa and Afghanistan, always looking to shine a light in those dark recesses. Before joining the staff of The Washington Times, Calvert spent nine years covering the Bay Area for The Oakland Tribune and The Hayward Daily Review. She is currently represented by ZUMA Press. In addition to being a guest faculty member of Momenta Workshops, the Western Kentucky University Mountain Workshops, the NPPA’s Flying Short Course, and the Eddie Adams Workshop, she has been a member of the faculty for the Department of Defense Worldwide Military Photographers Workshop in Ft. Meade for the last fourteen years. In September 2010,She traveled to Northern Nigeria to document how religious zealotry and misinformation have coerced villagers into refusing vaccination and led to the reemergence of polio only a few years after it nearly joined smallpox on the CDC’s list of eradicated diseases. Awarded a National Press Photographers’ Short Grant in 2012, Calvert is currently documenting women with AIDS in Washington. D.C. maryfcalvert@gmail.com http://maryfcalvert.com/ 202.409.6494