News Release

As Military Lifts Ban on Women in Combat, 52 Women a Day Sexually Assaulted

AP reports: “The Pentagon is lifting its ban on women serving in combat, opening hundreds of thousands of front-line positions and potentially elite commando jobs after generations of limits on their service, defense officials said Wednesday.”

HELEN BENEDICT, [email]
Available for a limited number of interviews, Benedict is author of The Lonely Soldier: The Private War of Women Serving in Iraq the novel Sand Queen and the article “The Scandal of Military Rape” for Ms. Magazine.

She said today: “As a writer who has been interviewing female veterans for many years now, I have argued for a long time that the lifting of the ground combat ban will help military women win the respect they deserve. … The most recent study released by the Pentagon’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office [PDF] shows that one in three military women has been sexually assaulted while serving, the majority by comrades. That means about 52 women a day.”

LEAH BOLGER, [email]
President of Veterans for Peace, Bolger said today: “It’s kind of a civil rights issue, certainly anyone who is capable of doing any job should be able to do it. However, I don’t see this as cause for a big celebration. We should be trying to abolish war. The U.S. shouldn’t be sending ANY combat troops to these wars.” Bolger can also talk about cases of sexual assault and harassment in the military.