(WOMENSENEWS)-- What happens when the public and media re-victimize women or men who are sexually abused or raped? Well, and I know the answer personally, it says to the victim, "Welcome to the second worst nightmare of your life."
As a female combat veteran of Iraq suffering from military sexual trauma, or MST, I have first-hand experience with the culture of "victim blaming" or the "second assault."
When a soldier reports rape he or she is forced to navigate hell in an (often futile) attempt to win justice. This makes it very tempting to trade any search for justice to save your reputation and protect your personal safety. And as we know, bailing on legal justice is not just a temptation for soldiers, but for all sexual assault victims.
I knew and served with an introverted and shy 19-year-old female soldier who was raped by another, more senior, soldier in her unit. The predator was married and would, in front of our entire unit, address all females under his command as "whores" and "sluts."