Battling the Storm Within

Monday, January 12, 2015

A new voice for sexual assault victims in the military

It took the Air Force to change — to radicalize, really — Maribel Jarzabek. Specifically, it took the Air Force lawyer serving in the newly created role of “special victims’ counsel” to become convinced that sexual assault cases cannot be fairly handled under the existing rules.

“This job has changed my life,” Jarzabek, 34, told me in a Skype conversation from Germany. She left the military last month, but she still speaks of it in the present tense — “my clients” — and retains its customs, invariably addressing me as “ma’am.”
Ruth Marcus is a columnist and editorial writer for The Post, specializing in American politics and domestic policy.
“I did not believe the ‘Invisible War’ stories,” Jarzabek continued, referring to the 2012 documentary about the prevalence of sexual assault and the military’s inclination for rug-sweeping over punishment. “I did not believe that this was going on. I heard about it, but I didn’t see it, I didn’t believe it. . . . Ruffle feathers, push boundaries, that wasn’t my intention ever.”

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