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US Military Inaction Toward Rapists in Ranks Must Stop

War is dangerous for women, but not in the way you might think. It turns out a military servicewoman is more likely to be raped by a fellow soldier than killed by enemy fire in Iraq.

US Congresswoman Jane Harman opened her damming op-ed with images of a soldier being raped by her military physician during a routine gynecological exam, or of a recruit enduring multiple rapes at knife point by her fellow soldiers.

According to the Department of Defense, only 181 out of 2,212 reported sexual assaults are referred to court martial (criminal prosecution). Compare that to California, where 44 percent of reported rapes result in arrests. Representative Harman said that the "failure to address military sexual assault runs counter to those ideals and shames us all."

The reality that female soldiers must face terror in their own ranks is deeply disturbing. Hopefully the military, and Congress, will fiercely confront these unacceptable acts of brutality. If not, victims will think twice before reporting rape, and future perpetrators won't think twice before they attack.

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