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

    “This is one really good reason why women should not be drafted.”
    All the really good points you made in your comment were somewhat negated by this self-defeating statement, oenophile.

  2. noname
    Posted August 7, 2007 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

    “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.)â€? – Elise
    The accuser in the Duke case told many different, contrary stories, and even recanted on the night of the party (so it had nothing to do with threats). And no, there was no email where a Duke man “admitted it�, regardless of what you remember reading.
    And now back to our previously scheduled subject…

  3. oenophile
    Posted August 7, 2007 at 7:59 pm | Permalink


    “This is one really good reason why women should not be drafted.”
    All the really good points you made in your comment were somewhat negated by this self-defeating statement, oenophile.

    (Rolls eyes) Whatever.
    So my good points are less valid? Wow. I wasn’t aware that the validity of one’s points can be NEGATED just like that. Amazing how truth works, isn’t it?
    So, humour me: you think that women should be drafted into such an environment? Women are much more likely to be raped than to be injured or killed in the line of duty.
    Would you support the draft of a particular group of people who, by their inclusion in that group, had a 40% chance of being shot? Of receiving injury? Of being killed? Why should rape be different?

  4. Posted August 7, 2007 at 8:03 pm | Permalink

    Turns out there was an e-mail. I just found the article. Here’s an excerpt:

    Bennett and his team have also released personal details about the assault victim. This gets the spotlight off the confirmed squalidness of the case. 911 calls report racist epithets being screamed by men in the party house. Ryan McFayden, a sophomore on the Lacrosse squad, sent an e-mail dated the night of the party describing in morbid detail his fantasy of torturing the exotic dancers, saying, “I plan on killing the bitches as soon as they walk in and proceeding to cut their skin off while cumming in my Duke issue spandex.” The same McFayden had the unholy arrogance to show up at the Take Back the Night Rally on campus and while sexual assault survivors gathered in a circle, he stood on the sidelines giving interviews with the Chronicle, Duke’s odious student paper.

    http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?ItemID=10092

  5. Posted August 7, 2007 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

    So, humour me: you think that women should be drafted into such an environment? Women are much more likely to be raped than to be injured or killed in the line of duty.

    Not drafting women into such an environment is certainly one possible solution, though it does not do much for the women who volunteer. One other solution, which does not seem entirely unreasonable to me, would be to reform the institutional culture that allows these conditions to persist.

  6. bailey_comus
    Posted August 7, 2007 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

    many years ago (e.g. 1982) i spent the summer working in the home office of my representative (a very cool woman). i helped with constituent services and a lot of the letters we received were from servicemen & women. There were a lot LESS women in the service then, but i remember seeing a number of letters back where the writer wanted assistance with issues SUCH AS THIS ONE. We’d evaluate the letter and then we, the staff would write a letter to the governmental entity -the army, social security etc. We had a tickler file and we’d check up periodically until we had some sort of answer- or ideally a resolution.
    If enough representatives and senators write this standard letter of inquiry to the Secry of the Air Force, the Secry of Defense etc, it does get attention. We found that we got faster and better responses if the petitioner had other reps writing concurrently.
    Even now a LOT of people doing constituent services are women – and i’d hope they would have some sympathy though i know that there are plenty of women who think that “only women who ask for it” get raped. However a lot of the most right wing women i know nonetheless KNOW women who have been raped and who weren’t “asking for it”. (I know it’s inconsistant, but rigid thought processes like this often crumble when one sees enough exceptions to the rule to determine that their rule of thumb on things like rape is flawed and untrue.) I think that a letter like this would get priority.
    A letter that includes addresses and names of the involved Secretaries & Undersecretaries makes it really EASY for said constituent relations staff to turn right around and pop a letter out ASAP.
    We also found that if local VFWs got involved, that too helped press the point. I’d suggest writing your local VFW & AMerican Legion and ask THEIR members to write on her behalf…on the basis of “What would they do if this were their daughter?”
    I know that appealing to these rather right wing patriarchial groups may not appeal to all, but if the goal is righting an injustice, well…politics make strange bedfellows…and i’m depressed by this all enough to make me willing to write to the old fart vets on my nice “ladylike” stationary if that’s what it takes to help.
    And THEN we’ll go after the folks that let this abomination of a charge occur in the first place.

  7. Posted August 7, 2007 at 8:49 pm | Permalink

    Wow, I am supposing the military cares so much about rape and treats it so severely that it would rather side with the rapists rather than victims, as to ensure not to ruin any careers.
    But this certainly isn’t the first time this has happened. The Air Force has a long history of sexual assaults. But it’s not such a new theme, is it?
    I KNOW for a fact, having spent a few years in the military as a journalist, that underage-drinking is not a crime worthy of UCMJ actions, or whatever “acts of indecency” she might have engaged it.
    I still have many contacts in the military and will be giving the base’s public affairs officer a call as a freelance journalist tomorrow and report back.
    And if anyone would like, I’d encourage you to call his office as well. I’d be happy to supply you with a number.

  8. Mina
    Posted August 7, 2007 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

    “Whose representative, ouyangdan? Hers or our own?”
    Both, perhaps?
    “If these three men are guilty, then they are monsters. They gang-raped a woman, and that’s horrible.”
    Also, it’s horrible no matter if the victim is a woman or not.
    “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.”
    For that matter, why aren’t these attacks recognized as troops attacking their own country’s military?

  9. Posted August 7, 2007 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

    Thank you very much for this info, Bailey. I’m going to add it into the post, now.

  10. Posted August 7, 2007 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

    Wow, I am supposing the military cares so much about rape and treats it so severely that it would rather side with the rapists rather than victims, as to ensure not to ruin any careers.
    But this certainly isn’t the first time this has happened. The Air Force has a long history of sexual assaults. But it’s not such a new theme, is it?
    I KNOW for a fact, having spent a few years in the military as a journalist, that underage-drinking is not a crime worthy of UCMJ actions, or whatever “acts of indecency” she might have engaged it.
    I still have many contacts in the military and will be giving the base’s public affairs officer a call as a freelance journalist tomorrow and report back.
    And if anyone would like, I’d encourage you to call his office as well. I’d be happy to supply you with a number.

  11. CatharineM
    Posted August 7, 2007 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

    I find this whole thing to be so disgusting, I can’t even handle it.
    As for the Duke case and the Bryant case (I will admit I didn’t follow the details too closely), how can we be sure that recanting indicates lying? We know about those cases what was fed to us through the media. Maybe if Bryant’s accuser had a PR rep lit the one Bryant can afford, she wouldn’t have been vilified by the media and seem like a big liar in the public eye.
    As for the military, it is clear what they are doing. Not only are they punishing the woman for reporting her attackers, but they are also punishing her for being a woman. It is worse for her to get caught drinking than a man because she is a woman. If the sex was consensual (which I don’t believe for a moment!), then she should be punished for having sex, right? The military doesn’t care about women; it’s the oldest boy’s club there is. I mean, where else in the civilized world is it not rape if it is your wife?

  12. oenophile
    Posted August 7, 2007 at 8:56 pm | Permalink

    I’m curious, Elise, why you think that women ought to be drafted (and raped) while we work on changing the culture.
    Because I never said that we shouldn’t change the culture. I simply said that the CURRENT culture is not something that women ought to be forced into.
    I’m sorry, but I’m really sick of the nit-picking that goes on here. It doesn’t make you look smart or feminist; it makes you look like you have nothing better to do with your time than to harp on people to make yourself look better.

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

    Please check the correction at the bottom of the post for information on how you can take action.

  14. Posted August 7, 2007 at 9:02 pm | Permalink

    I’m curious, Elise, why you think that women ought to be drafted (and raped) while we work on changing the culture.
    Because I never said that we shouldn’t change the culture. I simply said that the CURRENT culture is not something that women ought to be forced into.

    Perhaps this, too, is “nit-picking”, but you are putting words in my mouth. I never said anyone should be drafted; nor are women (or men, come to that) currently drafted in the US (the “backdoor draft” of “stop-loss orders” is another matter, since it requires people to stay in the military beyond their commitment rather than requiring them to join).
    Nor do I think that anyone else was specifically advocating a draft of women (or men). People were responding to your comment that women should not be drafted because of the current military culture, and it appears I’m not the only one to assume (and it’s not a leap given your usual antics) that you were suggesting that the culture itself should not be changed, given that you did not suggest that it should be.

  15. SarahMC
    Posted August 7, 2007 at 9:30 pm | Permalink

    “Men get raped too, and men are the majority of those accused of rape.”
    You forgot something: The majority (99%?) of rapists are men. Just an honest mistake, I’m sure.
    And Oenophile, I completely agree with the first part of what you said, but the second part smacks of victim-blaming. First of all, we don’t have a draft. Neither men nor women are drafted into the armed services in this country.
    Second, denying women the opportunity to serve in this capacity because men victimize them is completely backwards. It’s not different from telling women to avoid going out in public alone in order to avoid being raped/assaulted. How about punishing the actual perpetrators rather than restricting the movement/choices of the victims? Maybe MEN shouldn’t be allowed to serve in the military, since they’re so likely to vicitmize their female comrades.
    That would never fly though because the majority of service members are men and who could imagine restricting men in that way?

  16. angiecita
    Posted August 7, 2007 at 10:28 pm | Permalink

    tangentially off topic:
    I just read this story aloud to my two (male) roommates, and one of them reacted the same way I did (puke, cry, hurl things, etc) and the other one, who is a nice guy (not to be confused with Nice Guy ™) was puzzled by the situation. He couldn’t understand why she had reported it then refused to testify, and thought that might mean she was lying. I mostly calmly explained that testifying, etc, after an assault was often just as traumatic and more prolonged than the assault. He brought up the possibility of false accusation, and cited the Kobe Bryant case (which I less calmly explained to him was actually rape), but he seems to think that there are a significant number of vindictive women who would pursue false rape charges to the end, and I couldn’t seem to find the right words to convince him of the small chance of that happening. He also seems to be laboring under the (adorable) impression that when a woman reports an assault the accused life is immediately ruined, because everyone believes her. Anyone have advice for how I can explain this to him? I read this site all the time, but I just don’t have the vocabulary to talk coherently about these issues.

  17. angiecita
    Posted August 7, 2007 at 10:30 pm | Permalink

    tangentially off topic:
    I just read this story aloud to my two (male) roommates, and one of them reacted the same way I did (puke, cry, hurl things, etc) and the other one, who is a nice guy (not to be confused with Nice Guy ™) was puzzled by the situation. He couldn’t understand why she had reported it then refused to testify, and thought that might mean she was lying. I mostly calmly explained that testifying, etc, after an assault was often just as traumatic and more prolonged than the assault. He brought up the possibility of false accusation, and cited the Kobe Bryant case (which I less calmly explained to him was actually rape), but he seems to think that there are a significant number of vindictive women who would pursue false rape charges to the end, and I couldn’t seem to find the right words to convince him of the small chance of that happening. He also seems to be laboring under the (adorable) impression that when a woman reports an assault the accused life is immediately ruined, because everyone believes her. Anyone have advice for how I can explain this to him? I read this site all the time, but I just don’t have the vocabulary to talk coherently about these issues.

  18. LindsayPW
    Posted August 7, 2007 at 10:48 pm | Permalink

    I still don’t understand. They’re charging her with raping herself or something? I’m completely confused.

  19. Posted August 7, 2007 at 11:09 pm | Permalink

    I served in the Army National Guard and NEVER got a solid class of instruction on what to do if you are raped. It differes ALL based on your commanders.
    In the military the rape protection regulations are years behind civilian law, as poor as those are. Women are often pushed into hidingthe rape before they even report it just becasue of military culture.
    This is not only just one of many insults to women service members but this goes above and beyond seeing that she is being charged. However this is just more of the same for women when dealing with the US military.
    This is just one reason why groups like SWAN, the Service Womens Action Network are begining to shape in order to give women who have served in the military a way to navigate the waters of it. It is absolutly needed for some women to have a place to turn after the military turns on them.
    This is just one more reason I think our ramoant militarism as a culture is hurting more than it will EVER protect anyones freedom.

  20. Posted August 7, 2007 at 11:15 pm | Permalink

    Lindsey, they are essentially charging her with having sex. Did you read the links? Maybe they explain it better than my post did?

  21. Charity
    Posted August 7, 2007 at 11:36 pm | Permalink

    Angiecita, not off topic at all. Very frustrating indeed. Not specific to the topic of rape or rape accusations at all, but two great threads / posts I feel have the potential to help men understand some of women’s experiences more generally are the *everyday misogyny examples* thread at Bitch, Ph.D. (it’s an old post but I believe the link is still up as it’s one of her favorites / “classics”), and Chris Clarke’s post entitled something like STFU at Pandagon, which is also at least a few months old now.
    As for understanding the horror / trauma of rape and the retraumatization that comes with prosecuting one’s rapists, I have no Internet resources to recommend, but some rape prevalence statistics or rape conviction statistics might help (with the understanding that rape is significantly underreported) put things in a more reality-based perspective for him, as might some autobiographical writing from women who have been raped, whether that be in blog or book or film form or whatever. It all depends on how invested you feel in helping him “get it.”

  22. Mickle
    Posted August 7, 2007 at 11:45 pm | Permalink

    “He also seems to be laboring under the (adorable) impression that when a woman reports an assault the accused life is immediately ruined, because everyone believes her. Anyone have advice for how I can explain this to him?”
    I don’t know how much this will help, but try pointing him to the recent OC case and that the idea of treating a victim like a perpetrator isn’t new.
    Remind him that the most asked question about an alleged rape is “what was she doing/wearing?”
    Make sure he knows about the long list of restrictive things that women are told by everyone – from parents to co-workers – to do to prevent rape, despite dubious results, at best.
    And lastly, remind him that the woman in this case didn’t really have the choice of not being surrounded by guys like him throughout the trial. Ok, well, I wouldn’t put it that way – I’d mention recent scandals within the military instead.
    Most importantly, stay focused on the goal and try not to get sidetracked. The goal: to make it clear that military personnel who are raped by their comrades are often stuck between a rock and a hard place.
    Not the goal: to get mired down by the question of whether or not this particular woman is a victim or not. If you get him to concede the larger point, he will probably concede the minor point the next time the subject comes up, but may hold out this time – no matter what – for pride’s sake.
    Also not the goal: don’t let him sidetrack you into complaining about false accusations.
    If you think he has any bit of compassion, make this about you and what you would feel in this situation and getting him to understand what that is like. But be careful not to let him paint you as some crazy; have some well known and/or universal examples to use in case he tries to make this about you having “problems.”
    Don’t let him turn this into a debate for debates sake. Nip nitpicking in the bud by bringing it back to the goal rather than responding point by point.
    And take my advice with a grain of salt, I’m ok at online debates, but often bad in person.
    Plus! good luck! and remember that this may not help. Sadly, it likely won’t make an immediate difference. It may give him food for thought, though, and help down the line.

  23. RMislander
    Posted August 7, 2007 at 11:51 pm | Permalink

    The story is not making sense from the article. She says she was attacked but managed to flee with half of her clothes on, even got a medical exam. Now, because of the refusal to testify, the new charge is she was performing an indecent act (what does that constitute by the way, and why can’t the male also involved in the act be prosecuted as well) witnessed by 2 men? I understand an act normally not punishable can become an “indecent act” via its occurrence in public or in front of others, so the presence of the men, who previously were charged as rape victims, are now potentially the impetus for her indictment?
    ‘The night of the alleged assault, she was taken to the hospital and eventually given counsel and therapy, but the stress of it was all too much.
    She says after a defense attorney with the Air Force harshly interrogated her without representation present, she backed off and decided not to testify.
    “It got very bad, I was getting calls late at night. She was in tears, and she was going back and forth on everything,” Hernandez said.’
    The timeline on the whole incident is fucked up; you’re not told how soon after the incident she was interrogated, how soon after the interrogation that she decided not to testify. They say her advocate was not present; for how long?? I am highly sympathetic to her, if it it happened the way she says it happened, it’s terrible just to think about it, but the story as written has so many holes and discrepencies, it’s hard to determine the details. Is the immunity of the men absolute, or can mitigating evidence or claims, such as the interrogation by the airforce laywer without Cassandra’s advocate, be used to get a new trial against the men, or at least postpone the upcoming courtmartial? Sorry it’s a lot to throw out there, but there is a lot here that I’m having trouble following.

  24. Posted August 8, 2007 at 12:03 am | Permalink

    OK, I get that people are innocent until proven guilty and therefore we shouldn’t assume that these men actually did rape her (although we can use stats on how infrequently rape is falsely reported and how frequently it is unreported to conclude that it is likely), but regardless, they should not give immunity to the men in order to catch the woman! What the hell? Even if she wasn’t raped, she wasn’t guilty of anything more than what they were guilty of, unless they just want to punish her for trying to report the alleged rape, which it sounds like they already did.

  25. judgesnineteen
    Posted August 8, 2007 at 12:06 am | Permalink

    Oh, in which case they would be considering her guilty (of lying) without a trial. So yeah, I can’t see any way that this is fair, but I can see ways that it might well be grotesquely and misogynistically wrong.

  26. Katxyz
    Posted August 8, 2007 at 1:27 am | Permalink

    Wow, did anyone else catch this at the end of the article:
    “If convicted on both counts, the woman could face up to a year in jail, reduction in rank, a cut in pay in allowances, a possible bad conduct discharge and be required to register as a sex offender, her defense lawyers said.”
    REQUIRED TO REGISTER AS A SEX OFFENDER?!
    It sounds to me like she’s being charged for having consensual sex* with another consenting adult* not child molestation, sexual assault or anything else that could possibly be considered a sexual offense by any normal, rational person.
    If I have sex with someone tonight am I going to have to register too?
    *according to the charges brought against her and disregarding her previous accusations

  27. Katxyz
    Posted August 8, 2007 at 1:29 am | Permalink

    Wow, did anyone else catch this at the end of the article:
    “If convicted on both counts, the woman could face up to a year in jail, reduction in rank, a cut in pay in allowances, a possible bad conduct discharge and be required to register as a sex offender, her defense lawyers said.”
    REQUIRED TO REGISTER AS A SEX OFFENDER?!
    It sounds to me like she’s being charged for having consensual sex* with another consenting adult* not child molestation, sexual assault or anything else that could possibly be considered a sexual offense by any normal, rational person.
    If I have sex with someone tonight am I going to need to register too?
    *according to the charges brought against her and disregarding her previous accusations

  28. angiecita
    Posted August 8, 2007 at 1:32 am | Permalink

    thanks for the advice (and sorry about the double post!)
    I vaguely remember the “STFU” post on Pandagon, but can’t seem to find it again. And the Bitch PhD post was a really good example of how pervasive and accepted casual misogyny is in the world we live in.
    I hope I didn’t give the impression that my one roommate is an awful person or anything. He’s actually quite nice, I just wish he did the dishes more often. He just hasn’t been exposed to feminism much. I think one of his problems is that he judges situations based solely on his own experiences, and those experiences don’t include the blatant misogyny women face every day. I tell him about harassment on the bus or the train, or that super creepy customer at work that says things that are almost offensive, but not enough to ban him from the coffee shop, and he believes me, but thinks they are freak occurrences. Since he would never harass a woman on the bus, in his world view, those people don’t exist.
    He’s gotten a lot better, though. I guess I didn’t realize that your average Joe Blow really does think that feminism is all about man hating and promoting women above men. Once I explained to him that feminism is about equality for everyone, that it’s about getting equal pay for women, and also about telling men that it’s ok to have and show feelings, it was like a little light bulb went on in his head. I think he’ll get there, it’s just going to be a long road.
    angiecita-style feminism: changing one person at a time through run-on sentences and occasional bad spelling.

  29. Posted August 8, 2007 at 1:56 am | Permalink

    http://pandagon.blogsome.com/2007/04/13/how-to-not-be-an-asshole-a-guide-for-men/
    Here’s the Pandagon article you were talking about: “How not to be an asshole: A guide for men”

  30. ouyangdan
    Posted August 8, 2007 at 2:30 am | Permalink

    sorry cara…i was away for a few…it is best to go w/ first her representative, and maybe follow through w/ the one in the state where she serves, but the one in the state where she would vote (i assume from the background articles that she still claims texas as her home of record) would be best, as they tend to want to help constituents (spelling?). after that, if you REALLY want to take action, contact your own reps. after all, they all meet in the same place eventually.
    and fantastic job this week so far cara!

  31. ouyangdan
    Posted August 8, 2007 at 2:53 am | Permalink

    i think someone took my earlier post to mean that i was defending the air force’s actions…that is NOT what i was doing. what they are doing in this matter is deplorable. i was trying to give some background on how they look at situations like this, and why they can get away w/ it. i was also trying to point out that you can’t just cry rape and go to court. there is a very LONG process involved. (sexual assault training is not dependent on commanders, in the navy we take up to three hour long classes on sexual assault quarterly, and pretty much monthly are briefed on the navy and UCMJ’s policies regarding sexual harassment and sexual assault. it is also worth noting that national guard isn’t trained the same way, but navy and air force, including marines, go through this. i can’t speak for the army).
    someone asked what she was being charged w/ and again, under UCMJ, it is pretty much illegal to do anything that is not standard run of the mill man to woman vaginal intercourse, and then you shouldn’t be having sex outside of marriage if you ask them. the UCMJ laws are out dated for the most part, partiarchal and conservative at best. they are really only designed to protect married men if you read them closely enough. the military has a horrible habit of not handling things properly, or w/ sensitivity, especially w/ it’s young, single female service members.
    sorry if i confused anyone. i was just trying to help.
    and yes, public affairs officer is another route to go, if you have the rank or civilian authority to contact one.

  32. ouyangdan
    Posted August 8, 2007 at 3:26 am | Permalink

    last point…i forgot one detail.
    underage drinking IS punishable under the UCMJ, because the federal law is clear that if you are not 21 you are not allowed to drink…the current trend in the military is to squash drinking offenses as harshly and as quickly as possible. the navy and air force will dishonorably discharge you for your first offense, after severly punishing you. the minimum at my command is dock of half a month’s pay for three months, reduction in rank by two pay grades (which is pretty big for a majority of the servicemembers here), and at least 2 weeks restriction and extra duty. this is the lowest punishment. it is harsh, and there is nothing that can be done if it is confessed to.
    it sounds like the air force is on a witch hunt, so to speak. i believe they are using one offense to lay ground work to allow them to charge w/ the other. it is HORRIBLE. again, not defending the military, i am choosing to get out b/c of some of the injustice they inflict everyday on their own members. just trying to clarify.

  33. JoJo
    Posted August 8, 2007 at 3:43 am | Permalink

    Someone posted: “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 have email addresses – I’m not sure how well they’ll work though. They probably have people that check their inbox for them.
    MichaelW.Wynne@pentagon.af.mil
    Ronald.Sega@pentagon.af.mil
    I’m in the Air Force, and these are in our “global” Outlook address book.

  34. JoJo
    Posted August 8, 2007 at 3:45 am | Permalink

    Someone posted: “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 have email addresses – I’m not sure how well they’ll work though. They probably have people that check their inbox for them.
    MichaelW.Wynne@pentagon.af.mil
    Ronald.Sega@pentagon.af.mil
    I’m in the Air Force, and these are in our “global” Outlook address book.

  35. Posted August 8, 2007 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    Joe said:
    “Men get raped too, and men are the majority of those accused of rape. ”
    What exactly is your point.? Yes men get raped, but rape is something that affects women individually and culturally. Rape is not something that men run a high risk of happening to them. It is very rare.
    “Men are the majority of those accused of rape”
    Well yes Joe, because men are the ones who rape. Please tell me the last case you recall where a woman was convicted of rape.

  36. Posted August 8, 2007 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    I don’t know, I drank plenty underaged and probably did things that were considered “indecent,” too, but I was never kicked out. Hmmm. I wonder why? Could it be the fact that I HAVE A PENIS? I really do wonder.
    I just talked to a friend in the Air Force and he says because it’s “downsizing,” that the Air Force is using this case to get her out of the military. If that were truly the case, it’s pretty shitty.
    I am making the call this afternoon when I get home. Something about asking military officials about possible wrongdoings while still in uniform and on government time is kind of – uh, stupid.

  37. noname
    Posted August 8, 2007 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

    “Turns out there was an e-mail. I just found the article. Here’s an excerpt:
    http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?ItemID=10092 ” – Elise
    How is that “admitting it”? This email is widely known, but says nothing about the night in question, and is not even written by the accused.

  38. noname
    Posted August 8, 2007 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    “As for the Duke case and the Bryant case (I will admit I didn’t follow the details too closely), how can we be sure that recanting indicates lying?” – CatherineM
    Check out the details of the Duke case if you are interested. The recantation on its own was not overly compelling. However, that combined with the conflicting stories, DNA evidence, alibis, witness accounts (even the second dancer called her story “a crock�), numerous problems with the ID process (including an inability to ID any attackers during most of the presentations), and more should be enough to convince any reasonable person that the accuser was lying.
    Again, back to the subject of the post…

  39. kid_icarus
    Posted August 8, 2007 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

    Lazy though it sounds, I always find it easier to take action when information is simplified, and there is an easy draft email ready to send my representative. SO, I made this one, which I sent my reps. The links at the top were real helpful to find their contact info.
    I don’t know if it is Ideal, but feel free to copy and use it:
    Dear Senator,
    I’m urging you to do anything you can to prevent the case against Ms. Cassandra Hernandez for “indecent acts” and underage drinking from going forward. If convicted on both counts, the she could face up to a year in jail, reduction in rank, a cut in pay in allowances, a possible bad conduct discharge and be required to register as a sex offender, her defense lawyers said.
    Please read these 2 links:
    http://www.kvue.com/news/state/stories/080107kvueairforce-eh.d0a50cd9.html
    http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/ap/tx/5034202.html
    I believe that she has been harassed and on the receiving end of undue stress from the Air Force, if not rape from 3 of its airmen. I would like to see my representatives help create an environment in which women in the armed forces feel comfortable reporting – and testifying about – rape allegations.
    I urge you to send a representative to her case at Fort Bragg on September 24th if you cannot attend yourself. I urge you to pressure the Air Force and military to reform their ways and to protect our young women that serve from mental, physical, and sexual harassment and violence.
    Thanks,
    signed

  40. Vervain
    Posted August 8, 2007 at 1:16 pm | Permalink

    I’m coming into this thread late, and other’s have responded already, but there are a couple statements here I just couldn’t let go without commenting:
    Will there be any moment in time where those accused of rape are innocent until proven guilty?
    Sure. Every moment of every day, for about 90% of the world’s population. Men accused of rape are assumed to be innocent and to bear no responsibility whatsoever for their actions. She shouldn’t have been there/worn that/gotten drunk/passed out/been a tease/trusted a stranger/trusted a friend-lover-spouse-relative/allowed herself to be alone with a man/left her house/owned a pussy in the first place, right?
    I mean, who got the short end of the stick in the Duke case?
    Hmm, well probably not the rich white boys who have now been enshrined as the ultimate bastions of the she’s a lying bitch defense, to be trotted out ad nauseam any and every time a woman says she was raped. Goes something along the lines of, “That one (mentally ill?) woman lied about being raped, therefore all women who claim they were raped can be assumed to be lying.” Or something.
    This logic is never applied to crimes other than rape. The acquittal of one accused murderer doesn’t get cited as “evidence” that a different murder suspect is probably innocent too, now does it?

  41. Posted August 8, 2007 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    Why, oh why, oh why, oh why goddamn it why, are people talking about Duke?
    Air Force =\ Duke.
    This accuser =\ Duke accuser.
    These accused \= Those accused.
    Court martial \= North Carolina state court.
    This accusation of rape \= that accusation of rape.
    Whyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy?

  42. Pup, MD
    Posted August 8, 2007 at 1:46 pm | Permalink

    Sailorman, it’s because all of us sometimes forget that we should assume both that a) a man is innocent until proven guilty, AND b) a woman is telling the truth unless proven otherwise.
    Some of our fellow fellas can’t handle B.

  43. SarahMC
    Posted August 8, 2007 at 1:50 pm | Permalink

    You know, the men who crawl out of the woodwork to remind everyone that “women lieee!” whenever a woman accuses someone of rape can’t be depended on to give two shits about the facts that:
    1.) most rape accusations are true, and
    2.) 1 out of 4 women will be the victim of sexual assault or rape in her lifetime.
    It’s just the ultimate injustice when a man is falsely accused of rape, or even mistakenly fingered in a rape. But the fact that rape is so common, underreported and casually accepted? Eh, no biggie. So fuck off to those who think it’s at all appropriate to cry “Duke!” whenever a woman speaks up about her rape.

  44. SarahMC
    Posted August 8, 2007 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    Do you folks even know what “innocent until proven guilty” means? It means “in a court of law.”
    It doesn’t mean that we aren’t allowed to talk about a case until the accused has had his/her day in court.
    It doesn’t mean your employer can’t terminate you after you’re charged with rape/dog-fighting/whatever.
    Only within the justice system is there an expectation of “innocent until proven guilty.” And even then, sometimes guilty people are found “not guilty.” Innocent people are found “guilty.” And guess what? The fact that a verdict’s been handed down does not mean all discussion and examination of an issue must cease.

  45. Ron O
    Posted August 8, 2007 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

    This is a disgusting situation and made worse by the fact that the military has not changed from past scandals and miscarriages of justice.
    Also, echoing the man above, STFU about the Duke case. It proves nothing about any other rape cases.
    angiecita – An exercise I find useful is to watch the watchers. I assume from your post that you are talking about a straight man. So, encourage him the next few times he is on the bus to when he sees an attractive and/or interesting woman to look out for people watching that person. It is also useful anytime you feel an urge to watch someone. Turn it around and scan for others staring.

  46. Ron O
    Posted August 8, 2007 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

    This is a disgusting situation and made worse by the fact that the military has not changed from past scandals and miscarriages of justice.
    Also, echoing the man above, STFU about the Duke case. It proves nothing about any other rape cases.
    angiecita – An exercise I find useful is to watch the watchers. I assume from your post that you are talking about a straight man. So, encourage him the next few times he is on the bus to when he sees an attractive and/or interesting woman to look out for people watching that person. It is also useful anytime you feel an urge to watch someone. Turn it around and scan for others staring.

  47. Thomas
    Posted August 8, 2007 at 4:00 pm | Permalink

    Since people are bringing up Kobe Bryant, as a matter of fact he did it. The court system kept “accidentally” releasing her name in documents and she got threatened and villified until she gave up. But in Kobe’s post-dismissal statement, he admitted that he understood how she could have viewed their encounter as nonconsensual. That is an admission of rape, and anyone who doesn’t see it that way should shoot themselves in the head with a large caliber weapon and make the world a better place.

  48. Roxie
    Posted August 8, 2007 at 6:05 pm | Permalink

    kid_icarus
    BIG THANKS!!! I used your letter and I’ve passed it around!

  49. oenophile
    Posted August 8, 2007 at 6:12 pm | Permalink

    And Oenophile, I completely agree with the first part of what you said, but the second part smacks of victim-blaming. First of all, we don’t have a draft. Neither men nor women are drafted into the armed services in this country.
    Second, denying women the opportunity to serve in this capacity because men victimize them is completely backwards.

    Oh my God. Get a clue, Sarah.
    I simply said that we should not require women to be subjected to those conditions.
    Nothing else. I REFUSE to deal with the shit that you mindless people throw against me. You take something completely out of context, warp it, twist it, and then bitch about how I said something offensive to your little psyches.
    Get a fucking clue or learn to read. I refuse to defend myself against accusations which are equally baseless and stupid as those thrown against the woman in question.

  50. jennao
    Posted August 8, 2007 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

    ok — i am a Canadian — and i would love to help — does anyone know what I could do?? i might make a video blog about this on youtube

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