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Rape victims sue US Military officials

In a lawsuit, two women said that they were raped while attending US military academies.

Leon panetta september 30 2011Enlarge
Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta speaks to the media at the Pentagon on September 30, 2011, in Arlington, Virginia. (Mark Wilson/AFP/Getty Images)

In a lawsuit filed on Friday, two women charge that United States military academies are failing to protect rape victims.  

The women filed the lawsuit based on their experiences at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland and the Army's United States Military Academy in West Point, New York.

"Both institutions systematically and repeatedly ignore rampant sexual harassment," the lawsuit says, according to Reuters. "Both institutions have a history of failing to prosecute and punish those students found to have sexually assaulted and raped their fellow students." 

One of the plaintiffs, a 20-year-old former West Point cadet, said she was raped by a fellow classmate, a roommate's boyfriend. But when she reported the incident, nothing changed. She says she was required "to empty her perpetrator’s trash every day,” the Associated Press reported

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The other plaintiff said she was raped two different times. In both incidences, she said she was attacked after drinking alcohol and then falling asleep at parties. When she confided to an academy counselor, the counselor discouraged her from reporting the rapes, the lawsuit alleges. She reported the assaults anyway. But when she did, she alleges that the Naval Academy forced her to drop out, the Baltimore Sun reported.

The news comes several days after Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced new plans to fight sexual assault in the military. The Defense Department estimates that 86 percent of sexual assaults in the military go unreported, according to the Washington Post

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/americas/united-states/120421/rape-victims-sue-us-military