Moral Low Ground


‘Douche du Jour’: U.S. Military Chaplain Says it was “God’s Will” that Soldier was Raped

Hot on the heels of this week’s news that a group of 17 sexual assault victims in the US military is suing the Defense Department comes this gem from about the rape of former Army sergeant Rebekah Havrilla. Not only was Havrilla sexually harassed and raped by her fellow soldiers, she was treated in a shocking manner by her military chaplain, a figure who is supposed to bring solace to spiritually wounded soldiers.

Sergeant Havrilla deployed to Afghanistan in 2006, where her commanding officer sexually harassed her, telling her he “really wanted to fuck right now.” On a separate occasion, the same officer sexually assaulted her in front of her peers. The harassment got so bad that Havrilla sought medical assistance. Later, she was raped by soldier from a canine unit who took photos of the attack.

When Havrilla saw her rapist during a training session at Ft. Leonard Wood in Missouri, she went into shock. She sought the comfort and assistance of her military chaplain. What he told her was even more shocking: “It must have been god’s will” that she was raped, he said, recommending that she attend church more frequently.

Havrilla now suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and chronic depression. Her treatment is shocking but not unusual in the US armed forces, where thousands of rapes occur each year. Last year there were 3,292 reported sexual assaults in the US military. But the real number could be much higher; up to 80% of military rapes go unreported.

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