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IraqSide:Media
Investigation
Female Troops Fear Sexual Assault by Comrades
Salon Chronicles "The Private War of Women Soldiers"
By CHRISTINA DAVIDSON 03/08/2007 6:08 PM ET
Considering the dominant masculinity of military culture, the exposure of female sexual persecution in incidents such as the Tailhook scandal, though they may shock public sensibilities, don't tend to surprise those who have served.

Helen Benedict has written an impressive and depressing piece for Salon.com chronicling the disturbing incidence of the intentional blue-on-blue attacks that come in the form of sexual assault.

Benedict did in-depth interviews with 20 female Iraq veterans, and "every one of them said the danger of rape by other soldiers is so widely recognized in Iraq that their officers routinely told them not to go to the latrines or showers without another woman for protection."

One soldier, Spc. Mickiela Montoya, 21, carried a knife with her at all times. As Benedict reports:

"The knife wasn't for the Iraqis," she told me. "It was for the guys on my own side."

The Pentagon does not maintain comprehensive statistic on the incidence of sexual assault in the military, but Benedict cites a 2003 survey of female veterans from Vietnam through the first Gulf War, which found that 30 percent reported having been raped during their term of service.

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