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10,693 Military Men Raped

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Sexual assault in the shadows

Male victims in military cite devastating impact on career, life


By Sally Jacobs, Boston Globe Staff | September 12, 2004


EVANSVILLE, Ind. -- The call came shortly after dinner on a raw night this winter.


Mark Partridge sprang to the phone, eager to talk to his 20-year-old son, Brian, who had been based for more than a year on the USS Ardent, a minesweeper patrolling the Persian Gulf. Fulfilling a childhood dream to follow his father into service, it had been a moment of triumph when Brian landed a berth on the sleek gray ship.


But what his father now heard on the other end of the line was anything but triumphant. His only child was nearly hysterical, on the brink of tears.


"Dad, I've been raped," the young man shouted, as both men recall it. "There's blood all over the place."


"Who did this?" demanded his father. "Where is he?"


"I don't know," said Partridge, standing in the apartment of the man he says assaulted him. "I beat him up bad."


"Go to the base security," his father commanded. "Right now."


Partridge did just that. And then, almost immediately, he found himself caught in a legal labyrinth: Partridge's account met mounting skepticism from military investigators, and he soon faced charges himself -- a familiar pattern, according to other servicemen who have alleged abuse and some counselors who treat them.


In the end, humiliated and terrified of what might await him in the brig, Partridge agreed to an other-than-honorable discharge, abandoning his military career.


His case is unusual only in that he is talking about it. At a time when sexual assaults on women in uniform -- from the Air Force Academy to Iraq -- have scandalized the public and put the Pentagon on the defensive, the troubling incidence of sex crimes against men in the service has languished in the shadows, comparatively unremarked.


It is well-populated shade. A Pentagon study of sexual assault in the military released in May found that 9 percent of the 2,012 reported victims of sexual assault in the armed forces in 2002 and 2003 were men. Most said they were assaulted by fellow servicemen. Those figures include 118 service members, some of them men, who say they were sexually assaulted during the current conflict.


In addition, the US Department of Veterans Affairs has found more men than women reporting that they experienced unwanted sexual attention during their service years -- from rape to verbal harassment.


In fiscal year 2003, for example, 10,693 male veterans told the VA they had experienced such treatment, compared with 9,348 women.




The rest of this lengthy story can be found at (free registration required) :





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