Military members protest sexual assaults

LAKEWOOD, Wash. -- Christine Jones wears a makeshift purple heart on her Army fatigues, but it is no badge of honor.

It's a reminder of a war being waged against women, wounds inflicted on a battlefield many in the military don't like to admit exists.

"They're wounds from my own soldiers. From soldiers I served with," she said.

Jones says she was sexually assaulted twice during her seven years in the Army. In both cases the attacker was never charged. She calls it a culture of corruption and cover up that allows men to prey on women who signed up to serve this nation.

"I felt like I was going insane," she said. "It ruined my life for five years."

About a dozen people demonstrated outside the gates of Joint Base Lewis McChord Friday afternoon, calling for civilian instead of military trials for those accused of sexual assault in the ranks, as well as allowing victims to report sex crimes to civilian authorities instead of their supervising officers.

"I didn't join the military to get raped," shouted Anna Diamond, who is currently active duty but didn't want to say which branch for fear of reprisals. "I've spent most of my military career defending myself against my own service members. This is the fact of what's going on right now and we need to stop being in denial."

The Pentagon says more that 5,000 people reported sexual assaults in 2013, a 50% increase over the previous year. When sexual harassment is included, advocates say that number jumps to about 26,000.

Meantime, more and more are refusing to stay silent. Christine Jones now suffers from PTSD, not from enemy fire, but from the terror inflicted upon her by her fellow soldiers. She believes many more will suffer her same fate.

"Because they're getting away with it. If a rapist gets away with it once, he's gonna feel free to rape as many times as possible because they know how to get away with it," said Jones.


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