Former US marine who was sexually assaulted opens up about not being believed by bosses
Justin Rose wrote about his experience in The New York Times magazine, and detailed how his attacker was acquitted after he and other men who had been assaulted were accused of lying.
The incident took place over 10 years ago, with the military court case happening seven months later.
In the article, Rose details how he and three other marines testified that they had been sexually assaulted by the man. However, the judge concluded that their evidence was not conclusive after they were accused of lying and attempting to ruin the man’s career by the defence.
They were also accused of being prejudiced against the man as he came from a different part of the country to them, and was from a different religious background.
“That we would try to conspire against this Marine for those differences was easier for the judge to accept than the truth: that a male Marine had sexually assaulted other male Marines.
“At that time, male-on-male sexual assault was not something that society was ready to talk about or think about, especially in a subculture as driven by the norms of heterosexual masculinity as the Marine Corps is.”
He also spoke about how, when he reported the incident, he was asked: “Are you sure you’re not making this up?”
Rose went on to say that the sexual assault itself wasn’t the worst part, but that the refusal of bosses, the judge and others to believe him left the biggest mark.
He went on to leave the Marine Corps in 2007, feeling that he could no longer wear the same uniform as his attacker and as the bosses who had refused to believe him. He went on to join the Army Reserve.
10 years after his attacker was dismissed, Rose received a call from a detective in Kansas who was building another sexual assault case against the man.
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It turned out that his attacker went on to be convicted of another sexual assault in 2010 but had served no prison time. Rose then learned that he was about to be brought to court again – and this time it was for sexually assaulting three male soldiers.
Rose testified in that case, and his attacker was finally convicted of sexual assault and his since been sentenced to 49 years in prison.
He now says that he sits down with staff he leads in the Army Reserve every year to tell them about his experience of being sexually assaulted so that they won’t feel ashamed if anything happens to them.
In 2014 a report revealed that 38 men in the US military were reporting sexual assaults every single day.