United States military base in Djibouti at Camp Lemonier in the Horn of Africa. Pentagon chief Leon Panetta shown talking with troops., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
‘US military condones culture of rape’
Wed Mar 7, 2012 3:13AM GMT
The US military has been accused of showing a high degree of tolerance for sexual violence and condoning a culture of rape, according to several women who have served in the US armed forces.
Eight current and former female US soldiers filed a lawsuit in US District Court in Washington on Tuesday, alleging that they were raped or sexually harassed while serving in the military.
The women have also claimed in the lawsuit that they faced retaliation when they complained about the abuse.
The lawsuit accuses US military commanders of showing a "high tolerance for sexual predators in their ranks" and failing to take action to tackle the problem.
US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, former defense secretaries Robert Gates and Donald Rumsfeld and former Navy secretaries are among the defendants.
The US Defense Department admitted in January that the number of rape cases in the military is around 19,000 a year.