Gates, Rumsfeld Sued Over U.S. Military’s Rape Epidemic
by Jesse Ellison
A landmark lawsuit filed Tuesday against Defense Secretary Robert Gates and his predecessor, Donald Rumsfeld, alleges that the military’s repeated failures to take action in rape cases created a culture where violence against women was tolerated, violating the plaintiffs’ Constitutional rights.
“There are three types of women in the Army,” says Rebecca Havrilla, a former sergeant and explosive-
ordnance-disposal technician. “Bitch, dyke, and whore.” During the four years that Havrilla was on active duty, she was called all three-by fellow soldiers, team leaders, even unit commanders. Once, during a sexual-assault prevention training, the 28-year-old South Carolina native claims, she watched a fellow soldier-male-strip naked and dance on top of a table as the rest of the team laughed. While deployed in Afghanistan, Havrilla spent fourmonths working under a man she alleges bit her neck, pulled her into his bed, and grabbed her butt and waist -on a daily basis. When, on the last day of her deployment, she alleges she was raped by a soldier she considered a friend, it was, she says, “the icing on the cake.”