(House of Representatives - July 20, 2011)

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[Pages H5247-H5248]
From the Congressional Record Online through the Government Publishing Office []


  The SPEAKER pro tempore. The Chair recognizes the gentlewoman from 
California (Ms. Speier) for 5 minutes.
  Ms. SPEIER. Mr. Speaker, for the last few months I have come to this 
floor every week to talk about a moral black eye on this country--the 
issue of rape and sexual assault in the military. I have mentioned the 
fact that the Pentagon has estimated that 19,000 servicemembers are 
raped or sexually assaulted each and every year. The victims typically 
are blamed and the assailants are promoted.
  I have shared the personal stories of several women who needed to 
have a bright light shined on this ongoing epidemic. But it is not only 
females in the military that are victims. Men are being victimized as 
  In an April 2011 article entitled ``The Military's Secret Shame,'' 
Newsweek looked at the subject hardly anyone talks about: male on male 
rape and sexual assault. Mr. Speaker, it is time to break this silence.
  Last year, nearly 50,000 male veterans screened positive for 
``military sexual trauma.'' Think about that, 50,000 men. That's nearly 
double what it was in 2003. Another 110 men made confidential reports 
of sexual assault by other men, nearly three times what it was in 2007. 
We know the number of actual victims is much higher.
  The latest Department of Defense report showed that only 13 percent 
of those who are raped in the military actually report them. Men keep 
quiet for the same reasons women do--a military system that gives them 
virtually no chance of justice.
  In 2010, the Pentagon anonymously asked active duty soldiers who had 
been sexually assaulted why they did not report their attacks. Half of 
them said they didn't want anyone to know. A third of them said they 
didn't think anything would be done. And 30 percent said they were 
afraid of retaliation or reprisal.

                              {time}  1100

  I now want to share with you the story of Blake Stephens. I warn you 
that some of the material is graphic.

[[Page H5248]]

  Stephens joined the Army in 2001. The verbal and physical attacks 
started quickly and came from virtually every level of the chain of 
command. In one of the worst incidents, a group of men tackled him, 
shoved a soda bottle into his rectum, and threw him backward off an 
elevated platform onto the hood of a car. When he reported the 
incident, his platoon sergeant told him, ``You're the problem. You're 
the reason this is happening,'' and refused to take action. His 
assailants told him that once deployed to Iraq, they would shoot him in 
the head.
  I recently received an email from Heath Phillips, who joined the Navy 
at the young age of 17, in 1988. Phillips was attacked on multiple 
occasions beginning his first weekend on duty. When he reported the 
assault, he was called a liar, a baby, mama's boy, and a few other 
choice words. He would complain to the chain of command and be told to 
shut up, and asked for witnesses. In one particularly horrific 
incident, a group of men attacked Phillips in the shower and sodomized 
him with a toilet brush handle. They laughed and joked about it the 
whole time. After he went to the infirmary, bleeding and in pain, he 
was told he was fine and to take the day off. Phillips eventually went 
AWOL to protect himself. He still suffers to this day.
  Mr. Speaker, this is a moral black eye on the military, it's a moral 
black eye on this Congress, and it's a moral black eye on this Nation. 
It is time to stop talking and to take action.