Air Force veteran Colleen Bushnell says she barely survived Lackland Air Force Base.
Soon after transferring from Nebraska to San Antonio in 2003, a male commanding officer raped Bushnell and intimidated her into silence. The next year, she was again sexually assaulted by a female Lackland officer.
“I lived in a nightmare,” Bushnell says.
The male officer that assaulted both women never faced charges, Bushnell says. “He’s still at large and works as a public affairs officer for the military in San Antonio,” she says wryly.
While the Pentagon’s latest annual report on sexual assault in the military released in April hints at the extent of the problem of military rape across the armed forces, experts and advocates say the data also confirms their greatest fear: that even though there’s no indication military sex crimes have abated, the military’s handling of sexual assault cases is getting worse.
Last year, Congresswoman Jackie Speier a democrat from California, introduced the Sexual Assault Training Oversight and Prevention Act, which would take reporting and investigation of sexual assaults outside of the chain of command and rely instead on an independent office consisting of civilian and military experts to hear those cases. Advocates say the measure’s crucial to ensure cases aren’t covered up or ignored by command.
To read her Coleen’s story, and what women in the armed forces are going through, please click here.
Shining Service Worldwide is a charitable organization that supports all women who are part of the military family. Our goal is successful re-integration to civilian life.