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Week of 9.7.07

A Courageous Call

Advice for Victims of Military Sexual Trauma

The Rev. Dorothy Mackey survived multiple rapes during the nine years she served in the military as U.S. Air Force Captain and Commander. She was honorably discharged. In 1997, she co-founded Survivors Take Action Against Abuse by Military Personnel, and has advocated on behalf of military victims of sexual trauma on Capitol Hill and in the media. She offers the following words of advice for people who have been assaulted while in the military, or family and friends who want to pass the information along :

I encourage any survivor of sexual abuse in the military to immediately contact family or friends who love them. Tell them the complete story of the facts, have them record or get e-mails of the facts from the survivor. These friends and family who are not traumatized must be willing to act as guides/support and spokepersons for the survivor. Within the military system, the already traumatized survivor is lost. Once the covert or overt hostility begins, the survivor is multiply re-victimized.

Family and friends have saved the lives of their military loved ones, in many cases I have dealt with. The family member or friend must help the survivor through the ropes of all these systems. Seek competent medical, physical and mental health assistance outside the military. Keep looking until you find competent systems that will help -- your future and life will depend on it. I am living proof of what I speak!

Related Link

More information and resources for military victims of abuse

WomensLaw.org