In yet another case of unchecked sexual assault in the military, Iraq veteran Ariana Klay says she endured a gang rape in August 2010. Her assailants told her they wanted to humiliate and kill her. In response to her accusations, a commander said that she invited the rape by wearing running shorts.
After the rape, Klay says she was verbally assaulted and mocked by male officers. “They said that I welcomed the sexual harassment by wearing make up and running shorts,” she said.
Although Klay’s attackers remain anonymous, attorney Hatham Faraj has spoken on behalf of one defendant. The alleged assailant accused Klay of lying, and was found not guilty of rape at the trial. He was, however, convicted of adultery and using profane language. For instance, he said, “I’m going to do you like a slut.”
According to Today News, San Francisco Congresswoman Jackie Speier met with Klay, and is certain she is telling the truth about the rape.
“This is the crème de la crème, the tip of the sword and she is manipulated and beaten down because she has the audacity to file a complaint against one of the officers there on the base who gang-raped her,” said Speier.
Klay is one of eight past and present U.S. military members who are filing a lawsuit for sexual assaults allegedly occurring at the U.S. Marine Barracks in Washington D.C., among other places.
"The military cannot continue to retaliate against the thousands of service members who bravely report being raped while serving this nation,” said Susan Burke, an attorney representing the women. “Zero tolerance' should be the military's attitude toward sexual predators, not toward victims of sexual violence.”
Klay and her husband spoke at a press conference about her ordeal, as well as the military’s flawed response system. Klay’s husband noted that with commanders in charge of determining the guilt of their own officers, there remains little hope of justice.