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I Didn’t Know She Was Being Sexually Harassed, But I Should Have

Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared on the blog of Angry Staff Officer.

She had a senior non-commissioned officer buy her lingerie, passing it off as a joke.

I didn’t know.

She was mentally broken down and denigrated, day after day, by a male officer who was her command and who felt threatened by her presence.

I didn’t know.

She was propositioned – openly – by higher ranking Soldiers, in front of other Soldiers, who did nothing to stop something that they thought was none of their business.

I didn’t know.

She was backed against the wall by her commander, who was trying to pressure her to have sex with him in return for a good duty assignment.

I didn’t know.

She was groped by a senior NCO, in full view of other officers. The company commander refused to action the complaint, saying that he couldn’t afford to lose any more NCOs.

I didn’t know.

She was physically abused and suffered injuries but command did not pursue an investigation of her abuser because, well, she was getting out, and it would be a lot of paperwork.

I didn’t know.

But I should have.

These incidents are but a handful that women who I’m lucky enough to serve alongside have shared with me. At first it was a topic that I was reluctant to bring up during conversations or even to talk about. It was as if pretending that sexual assault and harassment didn’t exist would make it a non-issue. So I’d get my mandatory sexual harassment and assault response program (SHARP) every year and laugh along with everyone else, because it obviously wasn’t our unit that was the problem, right? Those were all the other units which couldn’t control themselves and so that’s why we had to have the training.

U.S. Navy photo

Master-at-Arms 2nd Class Mackenzie Snell, from Seattle, Wash., inscribes …read more

Read more here:: Task & Purpose

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