September 25, 2013
Identical names lead one Emily Beers to befriend another and learn a soldier’s story of rape in the military.
Emily Beers joined the U.S. military at 17. Being a soldier was what she had wanted to do since watching the tragic 9/11 terrorist attacks while she was a sophomore in high school in Pennsylvania. Two weeks after she graduated, she ran off to boot camp to start her dream career.
She readily accepted the challenges the military threw at her, and she was prepared for military life. What her training didn’t prepare her for was getting raped by a colleague on her base.
The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) officially recognizes sexual assault as a huge black hole for the military. The DOD’s lengthy two-volume 2012 annual report on sexual assault in the military not only acknowledges the problem but also suggests that its true extent is not known due to underreporting.
DOD spokeswoman Cynthia O. Smith, in an email to the CrossFit Journal, said one of the major things that needs to change is military culture.
“We need cultural change where every service member is treated with dignity and respect, where all allegations of inappropriate behavior are treated with seriousness, where victims’ privacy is protected, where bystanders are motivated to intervene, and where offenders know that they will be held accountable by strong and effective systems of justice,” Smith wrote.