Rape Victims Say Military Labels Them ‘Crazy’
Many consider suicide when commanders refuse to prosecute offenders
by David S. Martin
CNN April 14, 2012
Editor’s note: CNN’s Dr. Sanjay Gupta will report further on allegations of sexual assault in the military Saturday and Sunday April 21 and 22 at 7:30 a.m. ET on “Sanjay Gupta MD” on CNN.
Stephanie Schroeder joined the U.S. Marine Corps not long after 9/11. She was a 21-year-old with an associate’s degree when she reported for boot camp at Parris Island, South Carolina.
“I felt like it was the right thing to do,” Schroeder recalls.
A year and a half later, the Marines diagnosed her with a personality disorder and deemed her psychologically unfit for the Corps.
Anna Moore enlisted in the Army after 9/11 and planned to make a career of it. Moore was a Patriot missile battery operator in Germany when she was diagnosed with a personality disorder and dismissed from the Army.
Jenny McClendon was serving as a sonar operator on a Navy destroyer when she received her personality disorder diagnosis.
These women joined different branches of the military but they share a common experience:
Each received the psychiatric diagnosis and military discharge after reporting a sexual assault.
“I’m not crazy,” says Schroeder, who is married now, with two daughters. “I am actually relatively normal.”
McClendon says she had a similar reaction.
“I remember thinking this is absurd; this is ridiculous. How could I be emotionally unstable? I’m very clear of mind, especially considering what had happened.” McClendon says. “It was a ludicrous diagnosis.”
A similar pattern
CNN has interviewed women in all branches of the armed forces, including the Coast Guard, who tell stories that follow a similar pattern — a sexual assault, a command dismissive of the allegations and a psychiatric discharge.
Schroeder says a fellow Marine followed her to the bathroom in April 2002. She says he then punched her, ripped off her pants and raped her. When she reported what happened, a non-commissioned officer dismissed the allegation, saying, “‘Don’t come bitching to me because you had sex and changed your mind,'” Schroeder recalls.
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Filed under: Resources Tagged: | adjustment disorder discharges, Administrative Separation, Afghanistan, Air Force, Anna Moore, Armed Forces, Army, Celeste Santana, Congress, Depression, Discharge Review Board and Board for Correction of Military Records, Jackie Speier, Jenny McClendon, Liza H. Gold, Marine Corps, Mental Health, Military, Military Sexual Assault, Military Sexual Trauma, Navy, Panayiota Bertzikis, Personality Disorder, Rape, Sanjay Gupta, Service Women's Action Network, Stephanie Schroeder, Suicide, Veterans Affairs, Vietnam Veterans of America