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(New York Times) Military Has Not Solved Problem of Sexual Assault, Women Say


Jennifer Smith, an Air Force technical sergeant, walked into the office of a senior officer at Kunsan Air Base in South Korea with an armful of paperwork. Instead of signing the documents, she said, he insisted that she sit down. “He said to me, ‘It’s Friday afternoon, why don’t you take off your blouse and get comfortable?’ ” Sergeant Smith recalled.

Sergeant Smith in 2010 with her husband, an enlisted man in the Air Force’s 20th Fighter Wing, when she returned  from Iraq.

In Germany, a master sergeant who offered to escort her home tried to sexually assault her, she said, and was deterred only when co-workers intervened. At Shaw Air Force Base in South Carolina, where she eventually complained about pornography and other graphic material on her unit’s computers, a supervisor warned her to keep quiet, she said.

During her 17-year career as an enlisted woman performing administrative work for Air Force fighter squadrons, Sergeant Smith said, she has endured repeated sexual assaults and harassment. She said she has decided to speak out now after keeping silent for many years because senior officers were involved or appeared to tolerate improper behavior by fighter pilots, one of the military’s most elite groups.


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