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In the latest episode of ‘The Politics of Survival,’ Tara Reade speaks to a woman who has worked within the US army and has an inside knowledge of horrendous sexual assault cases, which she aims to make public.
“Violations of federal law were occurring and I was always told to shut up,” Amy Braley-Franck, former Sexual Assault Program Manager in the US military told Reade in an interview released on Friday. Braley-Franck worked all over the US and Europe, as well as in South Africa, having been in charged with taking care of the army response to sexual assault and harassment. She says what she saw was “just unfathomable.”
“The pervasiveness of sexual violence in the military is out of control and 80% of those who report being sexually assaulted or harassed suffer some kind of retaliatory reprisal,” Braley-Franck said. She cited some alarming statistics, saying that one in four females and one in five men in the military are going to be sexually assaulted. The situation is one where “the rates of suicide go through the roof in the US military,” she argued. In the same time frame as there were some 7,000 combat-related deaths, over 30,000 service members killed themselves, she said.
“I was literally watching victims languish, I was seeing commanders cover up sexual assaults, not report them to law enforcement and, every time I elevated my concerns, they began to retaliate against me,” the woman said.
Braley-Franck claims that at one point she herself became a victim in an act of abusive sexual contact, committed by her army boss. However, while she could have her civil rights protected, Braley-Franck argues that service members don’t have the option to speak out against what is going on in the military, as they face being court-martialed.
There was no justice for anybody.
Braley-Franck says she witnessed retaliatory behavior among military commanders first-hand, who she says choose to protect perpetrators, not the victims. To help the victims, she says she decided to become a whistleblower and founded a non-profit advocacy group, ‘Never alone.’
You can listen to the full interview in the podcast episode here: