May 18, 2004

Hello Stop Family Violence Activists!

This is a critical action alert from Stop Family Violence.

More than 100 women have been sexually assaulted in Iraq and Afghanisan by U.S. soldiers. Please take action then forward this message to others.

The U.S. serviceman waited outside the latrine and hit the woman on the back of the head as she exited, knocking her unconscious. He tied her hands with cord, blindfolded her, cut her clothes off with a knife, stuffed her underwear in her mouth and then raped her. When she regained consciousness and began to resist, he threatened to rape her with the knife instead. He hit her in the head again, this time forcefully between the eyes, again causing her to lose consciousness. When she came to she was transported to another facility where she was interrogated for three hours. She received no medical treatment for her head injuries, and was housed in isolation for several days. Her requests for religious counsel were denied.

Sound like the latest exposé from Abu Ghraib? Guess again. It's just one of the more than 100 incidents of rape, sexual assault and other forms of sexual misconduct reported in the past 18 months by U.S. women soldiers currently serving in Iraq and Afghanistan who have been sexually assaulted by fellow U.S. soldiers.

The military's response to these victims has been grossly inadequate. Many victims did not receive even the most basic medical care – no emergency contraception, no testing or prophylaxis for HIV or other sexually transmitted infections, no rape evidence collection…nothing. Many victims must continue to serve in the same unit – even sleep in the same barracks –as their assailant.

In February, after Pentagon officials admitted receiving 112 reports of sexual assault of troops deployed in the Middle East, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld appointed a task force, headed by Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Ellen Embrey to investigate the problem and make recommendations.

Those recommendations were published last week – Astonishingly, the report makes no recommendations for immediate action. Instead, it recommends more investigations, more meetings, more reports.

The issue of sexual assault in the military is nothing new – there have been countless investigations and reports since Tailhook back in 1991. The time for talk is over – its time for action!

ACT NOW! visit Stop Family Violence to learn more about this situation and to tell your legislators, military officials and President Bush the women who are being assaulted while serving our country deserve safety and justice now!

Please act immediately and then pass this message along to others. Our strength is in our numbers.

Thanks for your support

Together we can.. http://www.stopfamilyviolence.org

Irene Weiser

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If you or someone you know is in the military and needs confidential advice or services re: domestic or sexual violence, contact the Miles Foundation 203-270-7861 or e-mail them at mailto:milesfdn@aol.com

If you or someone you know is a victim of domestic violence call the National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or 1-800-787-3244 (TTY) for support, shelter, or services. Free, confidential, 24 hrs.

If you know a child who is being abused or neglected call the Childhelp USA National Child Abuse Hotline for advice and information. This is not the same as reporting the abuse – the purpose is to give you information on options. 1-800-4- A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453) Free, confidential, 24 hrs.

If you or someone you know is a victim of sexual violence call the Rape Abuse and Incest National Network at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) Free, confidential, 24 hrs.

If you or someone you know is being stalked, contact the National Center for Victims of Crime Stalking Resource Center at 1-800- FYI-CALL M-F, 8:30 am- 8:30 pm EST or visit their website

If you or someone you know is a victim of child sexual abuse, or if you're worried that there might be a problem call this toll free hotline 1-866-FOR-LIGHT (367-5444) or visit Darkness to Light’s website.

If you or someone you know is possibly a pedophile call the Stop It Now! toll-free helpline at 1-888-PREVENT or visit their website.

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Thanks again for your support.

Together, we can..... Stop Family Violence

Irene Weiser