Air Force Charges Victim in Her Own Rape

This news item made my stomach turn: Cassandra Hernandez, a female Air Force airman was raped, reported her attack and then subsequently became a court-martial defendant, herself.
The story goes down like this: Hernandez was at a party, where she was drinking. She says that three male airman raped her. She went to the hospital and filed a report accusing her attackers. Due to stress and harsh interrogation tactics by the Air Force, she eventually refused to testify against the airmen.
The Air Force then charged her with underage drinking (of which she admits to being guilty, but that’s hardly the point, now is it?) and, along with her three attackers, “indecent acts.” I had a hell of a lot of trouble finding an official definition for “indecent acts,” and the best one I came up with is a “form of immorality relating to sexual impurity which is not only grossly vulgar, obscene, and repugnant to common propriety, but tends to excite lust and deprave the morals with respect to sexual relations.” Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but the basic translation seems to be “a sexual act, particularly one that is not generally accepted in society, such as sex with multiple partners.”
So. The woman was raped. By three men. She reported her rape. She was harassed by her superiors, to the point where she became too afraid to testify. The Air Force took this as meaning that the sex was therefore consensual (which isn’t what it means at all), and charged her in the case of her own rape. If she loses her case, she could be publicly registered as a sex offender.
Sounds like it couldn’t get any worse, right? But it does. How? The three alleged attackers were offered sexual assault immunity to testify against Hernandez on the indecent acts charge. Having at least half a brain cell among them, they accepted.
Hernandez is writing to her congresspeople and her Governor, Rick Perry, in a desperate plea to end this madness. Once you finish throwing up, crying, breaking things, etc., I strongly suggest that you write, too.
IMPORTANT CORRECTION: Apparently, the correct action to take is to write directly to YOUR congresspersons. You can find the information to write to your Representative here, and the information to write to your Senators here. It is a good idea to include one of the links to articles about the case, so that they know specifically what you are referring to.

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141 Comments

  1. halstene
    Posted August 7, 2007 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

    WTF is the u.s.air force thinking. OMG! Hello Governor Perry…

  2. Posted August 7, 2007 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

    You’ll have to forgive me, but I have no idea what the efficacy of writing the Governor of Texas would be in a military matter. Congresspersons is probably more effective; she’s apparently written to the entire delegations of North Carolina (where she’s stationed) and Texas.
    Apart from that, it sounds like rape victims in the Middle East being charged with adultery when they can’t pony up the requisite four witnesses.

  3. Joe
    Posted August 7, 2007 at 4:47 pm | Permalink

    Wow – I’m writing Rick Perry right now; this is disgusting.
    But, and the only but – why the fuck didn’t she testify? Harassment is harassment, but can’t she get some protection, a la witness protection?
    According the article, she said:
    “The pressure of the judicial process was too much for me, and I felt like no one was looking out for my interests.”
    Well, ok, yes – that’s why you testify. In your own interest.
    What happened to her is deplorable, the subsequent treatment perhaps even moreso – but I can’t not say I think she should have testified.

  4. Posted August 7, 2007 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

    I’m not sure, either, norbizness. I tried to find information who one should write in this kind of circumstance, and couldn’t find much other than what was in the article. If you have a better suggestion, please let me know. Would we write to our own congresspersons? To the delegates of TX and SC? If anyone knows, please tell me.
    Joe, criticizing her actions in this situation is extremely callous. I would generally prefer that rape victims testify, as well, but what they go through makes that a hell of a lot easier said than done. Until you are raped (something I would never wish on anyone) and testify in court against your attacker, please abstain from making these kinds of judgments, particularly on a feminist site. In fact, I imagine that most rape victims who have testified would be extremely hesitant to criticize those who don’t, because they know what an arduous task it is.

  5. Kimmy
    Posted August 7, 2007 at 4:53 pm | Permalink

    Joe, I realize this is a personal question, and you’re under no obligation to answer.
    Have you ever been raped? If so, did you report it? Did you have to face the full brunt of the law and the scrutiny thereof? Have you had to deal with pressure and intimidation from those above you while you are still trying to recover from one of the most traumatic events there is?
    If the answer to those questions is no (or really, even if it isn’t), I’d ask that you not judge her. Testifying in a rape trial is terrifying and difficult by all accounts. Adding in the intimidation from superiors in the armed forces (which is not traditionally the most friendly environment for women) makes it even worse.
    Sometimes people just can’t put themselves through the additional pain and heartache and humiliation while they’re still trying to recover from what they’ve already experienced.

  6. Roxie
    Posted August 7, 2007 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

    this is incomprehensible.

  7. Roxie
    Posted August 7, 2007 at 4:56 pm | Permalink

    this is incomprehensible.

  8. Sandinista
    Posted August 7, 2007 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

    Joe, welcome to your privilege. Please to be examining.

  9. Roxie
    Posted August 7, 2007 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

    sorry for the double post.

  10. marle
    Posted August 7, 2007 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

    There seems to be a paranoia spreading that a woman can, at any time for any reason, accuse a man of rape and his life will be ruined, while nothing bad will happen to her. Whenever you talk about rape, someone brings up false rape charges, and when you tell that person those aren’t common, they’ll bring up the Duke case or (before that) Kobe Bryant or something. Conveniently forgetting that that the men in those cases are moving on with their rich, privileged lives while the women receive death threats. But the “common wisdom” more and more holds that the men are the victims when rape is charged. I’ve heard more and more people calling for prosecution of “false” rape charges, and this is the realization of that. It’s horrible, but I’m afraid it’s only the beginning.

  11. iscah
    Posted August 7, 2007 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

    Another person to write to may be Secretary of the Air Force:
    The Secretary of the Air Force (SECAF) is the civilian head of the United States Department of the Air Force, a component organization of the Department of Defense. He reports directly to the Secretary of Defense and is responsible for running the day-to-day affairs of the United States Air Force.
    The man currently holding this position is a Michael Wynne, the Undersecretary is Ronald Sega. I don’t have an address for either of them – can someone else’s Google Fu locate one?
    I’m not even going to talk about how this makes me feels. I just can’t.

  12. Jeremy F.
    Posted August 7, 2007 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

    This is so ridiculous I don’t even know what to think about it.
    As norbizness noted, it would be more effective to contact the Representative from where Hernandez lives since this is a military matter.
    The only good thing about this is that if enough people make a big deal out of it (and I hope they do), justice can be served. The Air Force doesn’t want to scare away people from enlisting especially at a time like this. It’s pretty disgusting that the only reason the Air Force would seek justice on this matter would be out of their own self interest.

  13. iscah
    Posted August 7, 2007 at 5:20 pm | Permalink

    Another person to write to may be Secretary of the Air Force:
    The Secretary of the Air Force (SECAF) is the civilian head of the United States Department of the Air Force, a component organization of the Department of Defense. He reports directly to the Secretary of Defense and is responsible for running the day-to-day affairs of the United States Air Force.
    The man currently holding this position is a Michael Wynne, the Undersecretary is Ronald Sega. I don’t have an address for either of them – can someone else’s Google Fu locate one?
    I’m not even going to talk about how this makes me feels. I just can’t.

  14. iscah
    Posted August 7, 2007 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

    Another person to write to may be Secretary of the Air Force:
    The Secretary of the Air Force (SECAF) is the civilian head of the United States Department of the Air Force, a component organization of the Department of Defense. He reports directly to the Secretary of Defense and is responsible for running the day-to-day affairs of the United States Air Force.
    The man currently holding this position is a Michael Wynne, the Undersecretary is Ronald Sega. I don’t have an address for either of them – can someone else’s Google Fu locate one?
    I’m not even going to talk about how this makes me feels. I just can’t.

  15. Joe
    Posted August 7, 2007 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

    So. I guess I’m wrong. But: this post takes severe liberties on what happened – ie, she says she was raped, therefor she was raped.
    Um, fuck no.
    The initial “She says that three male airman raped her.” does not equal the later “The woman was raped.”
    Think it’s never happened before? Think that those who say they are raped are necessarily infallible? Three words: Duke lacrosse team.
    The fact that she refuses to testify is objectively to her detriment.
    Three words: DUKE. LACROSSE. TEAM.
    Will there be any moment in time where those accused of rape are innocent until proven guilty? Has no one here learned a lesson from the Duke case? Simple because she is a woman does not mean she gets protection.
    And no, I’m not defending her harassment or scrutiny or what she had been through.
    But, I am wary of making an accusation of rape a verdict.

  16. iscah
    Posted August 7, 2007 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

    Another person to write to may be Secretary of the Air Force:
    The Secretary of the Air Force (SECAF) is the civilian head of the United States Department of the Air Force, a component organization of the Department of Defense. He reports directly to the Secretary of Defense and is responsible for running the day-to-day affairs of the United States Air Force.
    The man currently holding this position is a Michael Wynne, the Undersecretary is Ronald Sega. I don’t have an address for either of them – can someone else’s Google Fu locate one?
    I’m not even going to talk about how this makes me feels. I just can’t.

  17. Doug S.
    Posted August 7, 2007 at 5:33 pm | Permalink

    this is incomprehensible.

    No, it’s perfectly clear what this is. It’s an outrage. Where do I drive the truck bomb?

  18. Tattooed Virgin
    Posted August 7, 2007 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

    Disgusting.
    It’s one thing to intimidate a woman who has been raped out of testifying, but to punish her for daring to report a crime? Beyond the mentality that would rather see rapists go free to save face, this added bullshit is just excessive cruelty.
    I mean, what the hell are they really trying to accomplish with these pithy charges? Underage drinking? “Indecent Acts”? Give me a fucking break. And immunity for the rapists so they can pursue said minor charges! Who the hell are they kidding? In a situation where four people were involved in what they refer to as “indecent acts,” the only one they’re interested in punishing is the woman. It would be blatant sexism on their part if the situation was exactly what they’re presenting it as. Given the reality of what actually occured, it’s just plain misogyny.
    Rape is no big deal to these assholes. Just one more reason for women not to come forward when it happens to them.

  19. iscah
    Posted August 7, 2007 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

    Oh, flaming hell – I tried to check, every time I hit post, to see if my comment had actually gone through even though it registered as an error – and it always said it hadn’t. And now it’s repeated half a dozen times. I apologise.
    Also – Joe? I… Oh, never mind. Go to hell. (The Air Force clearly believes the sexual event took place, or they couldn’t be charging her… they’re not denying that it happened.)

  20. Kimmy
    Posted August 7, 2007 at 5:39 pm | Permalink

    They’re trying to create more guys with attitudes like our dear Joe’s, is what they’re trying to do, MizzMegan.
    And look! It works!

  21. flyinfur
    Posted August 7, 2007 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

    Joe, you’re gonna smoke a pile of turds in hell for that one.

  22. Posted August 7, 2007 at 5:47 pm | Permalink

    Joe, Marle predicted your comments. So you’re still offensive, but not very original.
    I also do not want any flame wars on my post. So cool it and consider yourself warned.

  23. Joe
    Posted August 7, 2007 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

    “Also – Joe? I… Oh, never mind. Go to hell. (The Air Force clearly believes the sexual event took place, or they couldn’t be charging her… they’re not denying that it happened.)”
    I won’t indulge you – but, geez. It’s not like I’m acting as a holy chalice of reason. I’m sorry the comments weren’t working.
    As for “sexual event” – OK. So it happened, but that doesn’t make it rape. Or am I violating some ethic in saying that?
    I certainly don’t agree with the reversal, not at all – refusing the speak is not grounds to infer consent, at all. But that doesn’t mean we automatically infer the lack of consent.
    And, OK, I’m a man. I understand. But that doesn’t mean I have no say. Men get raped too, and men are the majority of those accused of rape. I mean, who got the short end of the stick in the Duke case?

  24. Posted August 7, 2007 at 5:57 pm | Permalink

    This is absolutely disgusting.
    BTW, the governor’s the wrong person to contact; he works purely on State level. You want to hit up the highest in the chain of command on the Base.

  25. Posted August 7, 2007 at 6:01 pm | Permalink

    I mean, who got the short end of the stick in the Duke case?

    Are you freakin’ serious?

  26. Posted August 7, 2007 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

    If you’re going to be writing members of Congress, be sure to include members of the Armed Services Committee in each house.
    Joe, just because someone misidentifies their attacker doesn’t mean they weren’t attacked. Do keep up.

  27. connaissance
    Posted August 7, 2007 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

    I agree that they’re admitting the act happened–I may be wrong with state to state laws, but in my state if a woman is under the influence, she cannot consent to sex. And they’re charging her with underage drinking…and having sex

  28. Posted August 7, 2007 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

    I just noticed something: The attack occured in Pope AFB, NC. Why is the governor for Texas listed? Is that her home station?

  29. Ashlyn
    Posted August 7, 2007 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

    In my own personal experience, the Air Force is a hypocritical group of jackasses. They bring up “indecent acts” against certain people, but will turn a blind eye to others. They punish people for living outside their set of moral codes, but will sell pornographic material in their base grocery stores.
    The fact that she is the subject of a court martial herself, makes me so angry. The sad part is that I am not at all surprised.
    The problem here is in the manner in which many military branches decide to punish the people serving under them. In a civilian court, this would not have happened. So why is this apparently acceptable in a military one?

  30. Posted August 7, 2007 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

    Malaika, are you sure about that? I ask because there have been a few different answers on this post. If you are sure, do you know how to contact them? I only saw bio info on that page.
    The point of contacting the governor is publicizing the case. I know (personally, from when my husband got fucked over in his immigration proceedings) that various levels of government are generally very cordial to each other and can often be willing to do each other favors. And if that doesn’t work, Rick Perry talking about the case would sure as hell embarrass them. But yes, I would like to contact the most effective person.
    Can we not talk about the Duke case? Please? This case is sickening enough all on its own. And if we could stop engaging with Joe’s entitled, hostile ignorance, it would just about make my day.

  31. Posted August 7, 2007 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

    And yes, her home state is Texas.

  32. Ms.Underhill
    Posted August 7, 2007 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

    First of all, Cara I must have missed the day you got introduced as a contributor but you have been doing a bang up job. I am puking, throwing and breaking things, etc. This shit used to happen all the time when I was doing feminist work in, like patriarchal dictatorships (Egypt, Swaziland, etc.), but here? Oh wait, I almost forgot…
    God I hope she gets a good JAG lawyer.

  33. Colleen
    Posted August 7, 2007 at 6:20 pm | Permalink

    And suddenly every rape case could be just like the Duke case. I knew this would happen, but it still pisses me the fuck off.
    As a sexual assault survivor who chose not to report at all, I can’t fault the girl for not wanting to testify. I’m impressed she had the courage to say anything cause I sure as hell didn’t.
    And yes, Joe, men are raped. And I’d wager to say most of the men that are raped are raped by other men. And since most women who are raped are raped by men, that would make most rapists men. Which is probably why most of those accused are men. You might want to try another argument cause I don’t think that one really estabilishes what gives you the right to say this particular woman should’ve testified. Your assertion wasn’t offensive because you’re a man, it was offensive based on the assumption that you’ve never reported a rape only to be put on trial while those you accused walk free all because you were pressured not to testify.
    I think the issue here has nothing to do with whether or not she was raped so bringing up the Duke lacrosse team is pretty pointless.
    Even if she never reported a rape but had consensual sex with 3 men and then got put on trial for it while the men were granted immunity it would still be fucked up. The fact that this all started because she reported a rape just makes it more fucked up.

  34. Charity
    Posted August 7, 2007 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

    Joe wrote:
    “Will there be any moment in time where those accused of rape are innocent until proven guilty?”
    Um, in case you missed the point of the post, Joe, I think you can derive your answer from the conduct of the AF thus far. That is, unless you had put your “bizarro” hat on before you read the post, and somehow hallucinated the words *Air Force dishonorably discharges men on basis of allegations; Assumes guilt not innocence.* I didn’t see those words, did you? And puhleeze, the defendants in the Duke case are getting lucrative job offers and are local heroes. Or didn’t you know, because you live under a rock of your own making?
    Or by *assumptions of guilt*, did you mean, assumptions among the discussants here? Because I’m quite sure we’re not doing significant damage to those men by merely discussing the situation; that is, compared to the damage that has been done to Ms. Hernandez, whose career and autonomy are now on the line, while the men in question are getting immunity.
    And if you do believe something DID HAPPEN Joe (since the AF is not disputing it, as you say), and you REALLY think it might have been *consensual*, can you imagine a scenario in which it would make sense, and would be fair, to grant the co-participants immunity in exchange for testifying against one particular party, who just so happens to be the only woman involved, and a woman who alleges she was raped? Give me a break. As MizzMegan says, it would be sexist at minimum, even if you did think it was consensual…but it’s so blatantly illogical that it reeks of something more sinister.

  35. oenophile
    Posted August 7, 2007 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

    A court-martial has been scheduled for Sept. 24 at the air base adjacent to Fort Bragg, Drohan said, and it will be open to the public.
    I would suggest that anyone who is near the Fort Bragg area appear for her court-martial.
    Joe,
    What’s your point? Does one incidence of lying mean that all people are lying? At the very least, a person should examine the number of people who make such a claim and figure out the percentage that are lying. IIRC, it’s something like 2% of women who lie.
    The chances that this woman is telling the truth are extremely high. Also, let’s examine what we know of this case: she was examined. Presumably, the genetic material of more than one man was found inside of her. Presumably, those men are the now-witnesses in question – otherwise, why have them as witnesses?
    Now, let’s put this together. Occam’s Razor states, in one manner, that when two situations are equally likely (and we now that they are not – the woman is likely telling the truth), the one with the more simple explanation is probably correct.
    One situation: she had sex with three men all at once while the others watched; thought this was a rocking good time to screw a guy while his buddies ogled them; managed to find three men who share the same fetish; and then went and claimed that she was raped.
    Situation 2: she was gang-raped and was too traumatised to follow through (as are most rape victims).
    Think it through. Presume her to be at least moderately rational. I’m sorry, but, for her to be lying, there has to be some really screwed up stuff going on. Even if she is lying, then, the men should be charged, too. Except they aren’t.

    The Air Force, IMHO, has a really horrible history of dealing with women. IIRC, a lot of women were raped in training camp in Colorado a few years back. The incidence of rape is something like 40% there, and most women never even report it.
    This is one really good reason why women should not be drafted.

  36. ouyangdan
    Posted August 7, 2007 at 6:25 pm | Permalink

    before anyone goes shouting “accusing doesn’t make it rape” and “innocent until proven guilty” and “false rape charges”, which always happens when talking about rape, please understand a few things…
    i am a female in the US Navy. the military takes accusations of rape VERY seriously. a charge can not even go forward w/o medical examinations. she sought medical attention. we are briefed to no end on what to do if you are sexually assaulted. DO NOT shower, or clean yourself in anyway, etc, and get to the nearest MTF ASAP.
    second, a case won’t move forward w/o enough evidence to support said claim. especially in the military. there are counselors who are trained to work w/ vicitms, and personnel in place to help collect the evidence needed. the Sexual Assault Victim (SAVI) Intervention teams on military installations are volunteers trained to handle these situations.
    there are numerous steps to take to even file a small charge. you can’t just walk into a JAG office and claim rape and go directly to trial.
    the point is if it went forward, there is a good chance that there was plenty of evidence to support the descision to go forward.
    all that aside…when a low ranking person (airman is only E-3) makes such claims, it follows chain of command like anything else. meaning, every person b/t her and the top rung will meet w/ her…probably all stressing how serious this charge is and how it can tarnish the name of the military and damage the careers of said accused. it is not an easy task when you are trained from day one to fear these higher ranking people. especially the air force, who draw harsh lines between rank. the fact that she was under too much stress to testify does not surprise me, working in joint service facilities, at all. it is difficult to pursue simply accusing someone of mistreating you…let alone something as horrible as this.
    also, on indecent acts…the military believes that ANY sexual contact outside of good old missionary 1 man to 1 woman intercourse is an “indecent act”. sodomy, oral sex, etc, is punishable under the UCMJ, and alcohol related incidences are a top priority now, w/ the new trend being toward dishonorably discharging anyone for under age drinking. this is a horrible and harsh fact, and can actually make it difficult to seek justice in cases like these.
    i hope i offered some insight.

  37. ouyangdan
    Posted August 7, 2007 at 6:29 pm | Permalink

    one more thing…
    in the military…sadly…under the UCMJ, which takes priority over civilian law, you are basically guilty until you can defend yourself out of the big shit heap you are in.

  38. SmallTownPsychosis
    Posted August 7, 2007 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

    Can people please not advocate violence here? You don’t know who is watching and taking note. I understand this case brings out the most visceral reactions, but advocating violence is not acceptable. The offending comment should be redacted to preserve the integrity of the community and out of respect for the hosts.
    Evolve. Discuss. Peace.

  39. ouyangdan
    Posted August 7, 2007 at 6:36 pm | Permalink

    and yes…a representative is the best course of action for concerned civilian personnel.
    i would have to check, but it seems the Inspector General could be brought into this if there is enough of a case put together to present to him.

  40. Posted August 7, 2007 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

    Whose representative, ouyangdan? Hers or our own?

  41. Seraph
    Posted August 7, 2007 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

    Joe, you’re right. Just because we’re men doesn’t mean we get no say. So as a man, I’d like to say: shut the fuck up, you unspeakable bastard.
    You have no idea how much damage you cause just by thinking the way you do, do you?
    There are monsters among us, Joe. There always have been, and there always will be. But they’re not the problem. Not really. Monsters hurt on the individual level. The real damage is done by a system full of people like you.
    If these three men are guilty, then they are monsters. They gang-raped a woman, and that’s horrible.
    However, maybe they didn’t. As you say, innocent until proven guilty. Maybe it was three entirely different guys – or four – or two – or whatever, and she was too drunk to tell.
    All beside the point.
    The point is that the Air Force is clearly making an example of her for daring to report her colleagues. A patriarchal power structure is putting an uppity bitch in her place, and warning other uppity bitches that this could happen to them.
    And do you know why they get away with it, Joe? Because of people like you. People who look for the “right” behavior from the victim, and question her honesty if she’s even a little bit “wrong”.
    It’s possible to falsely report any crime. However, rape and sexual assault are the only crimes I know of where we assume that the victim is lying until she’s proven honest. If a burglary case can’t be brought to trial because there’s insufficient evidence that a particular burglar did it, we don’t assume that the victim lied about being robbed. If a thug is found Not Guilty of assault, we don’t assume that the victim wasn’t beat up.
    Only rape. That’s what you’re doing, Joe. And you’re justifying it, as everyone like you does, with a single well-publicized case.
    Go ahead and write to whoever you want to. It might even help. In the larger picture, though, you’re the problem.

  42. azliza
    Posted August 7, 2007 at 6:57 pm | Permalink

    i’m so confused. Who determined that the three attackers be offered immunity? What is that process?
    The Air Force took this as meaning that the sex was therefore consensual (which isn’t what it means at all), and charged her in the case of her own rape.
    If they’ve determined it’s consenual, how can they file any rape charges against anyone? Or are they trying to get her on miscounduct? (Sorry if this stuff has been answered already).

  43. Posted August 7, 2007 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

    They are charging her on misconduct, Azliza. As for the immunity, I’m not sure of the exact process, but it’s pretty standard civilian procedure to grant lesser criminals immunity for their help in convicting greater criminals– which is particularly offensive and insane in this case.

  44. Posted August 7, 2007 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

    I know I’m being way, OT, but something else is bothering me here:
    She’s old enough to die for her country, but not old enough to have a drink? WTF?
    Meanwhile, privileged chickenhawks in colleges get away routinely with underaged drinking …

  45. Posted August 7, 2007 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

    I know I’m being way, OT, but something else is bothering me here:
    She’s old enough to die for her country, but not old enough to have a drink? WTF?
    Meanwhile, privileged chickenhawks in colleges get away routinely with underaged drinking …

  46. Posted August 7, 2007 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

    Oops … sorry about the double post. I got an error message which led me to believe the first post didn’t “take”.
    *
    it’s pretty standard civilian procedure to grant lesser criminals immunity for their help in convicting greater criminals – Cara
    Indeed. But granting immunity to people accused (n.b. Joe … I said “accused”) of a greater crime to go after someone accused of a lesser crime? That just don’t pass the sniff test …

  47. noname
    Posted August 7, 2007 at 7:20 pm | Permalink

    The thing that really makes me think the Air Force is covering up and actively trying to punish her for reporting the incident is their giving immunity to three people in order to charge one, who is accused of exactly the same crime. That is ridiculous and, in my estimation, reveals the fucked up attitude of those involved. Allowing a defense attorney to interview her without representation, if that is true, further reveals this “punishment�.
    That said, I am surprised you all feel so free to declare that a rape took place as if it were proven fact. It probably was a rape, but I would have thought you all have learned a lesson by now about the difference between an accusation and proven fact. I guess not.

  48. Candice
    Posted August 7, 2007 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

    Although this story is indeed sad and disgusting, it does not suprise me. Being an active duty member of the military, I have constantly felt that sexual harassment (and I’m not even touching on sexual assault or violence such as rape here) goes on daily. During the last four years I have served HONORABLY alongside men in the Marine Corps,and have been labled a “slut”, “bitch”, “DYKE”! for being a WOMAN! I have even had to slam a door on a drunk Marine’s foot to keep him from breaking into my barracks room at 2 am (to rape me, perhaps?)! The military is in need of a huge makeover in sexual policy. Women in the armed forces are not protected, respected, or even treated in a half-way decent matter. That is why I have chosen to stay in. I want to evolk change. The politically correct, unenforeced policies that are suppossed to protect women are in truth half-assed attempts to fool a conservative public. The truth of the matter is that women are violated on a daily basis, and as a result of the lack of attention given to these situations, women are made criminals because of their victimization. Women are not respected, and therefore not treated as human beings, let alone service members risking their lives for America’s causes (whether justified or not). I beleive that this woman was raped and that she is paying the price for being a woman in a male-dominated field.

  49. Posted August 7, 2007 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

    Military law is different from civilian law. Court martials apply military law, not civilian law.
    As a result, the “normal” rights and privileges of defendants are different.
    I don’t know enough about the specifics of the UCMJ to explain further. But I wouldn’t be surprised if the military law carries an obligation to report certain types of wrongdoing, which she may have technically violated.
    That doesn’t make this any less slimy. But if you were wondering (as was I) how the fuck this is even theoretically possible I think the UCMJ would be the place to start.

  50. Posted August 7, 2007 at 7:40 pm | Permalink

    The idea that testifying is “objectively” in the interest of a rape victim is preposterous. By testifying (and pressing charges at all), a rape victim subjects herself (outside of prison,it’s overwhelmingly a herself) to vilification, intimidation, in-court humiliation, and possibly retaliatory violence. The fact that the perpetrator might get convicted in the end isn’t much of a counterbalance to the world of shit the victim exposes herself to by coming forward.
    Against this background, while I don’t want to make this about the Duke case, I don’t see how we get from recantation (which is all, to my knowledge, the woman in that case ever did) to lying? When a woman recants admidst death threats and public vilification, it seems like there might be other hypotheses to discount before we can draw the conclusion that she was lying from the start (and wasn’t there an e-mail in which one of the Duke men admitted it? I remember reading that, in any case.)
    A woman files charges alleging that three men gang-raped her. The fact that three men engaged in penetrative intercourse with her is not disputed by anyone, including the three men. They get immunity from prosecution in exchange for testifying against her on charges of “Indecent Acts” arising out of the very conduct she reported when she filed rape charges. Here, again, the assumption that she’s not testifying in the rape case because she’s lying seems to be one of the less probable interpretations of the events.
    By the way, the definition of “rape” under the UCMJ is:

    “sexual intercourse with a female not his wife, by force and without consent”

    Art. 120(a) UCMJ. One might be foregiven for drawing conclusions about the attitudes of institutions that do not deem “sexual intercourse by force and without consent” with one’s wife to be worthy of punishment.

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