Marfa, Texas — Sexual assault of women serving in the U.S. military, while brought to light in recent reports, has a long tradition in that institution.
Women in America were first allowed into the military during the Revolutionary War in 1775, and their travails are as old.
Maricela Guzman served in the Navy from 1998 to 2002 as a computer technician on the island of Diego Garcia, and later in Naples, Italy. She was raped while in boot camp, but was too scared to talk about the assault for the rest of her time in the military.
In her own words she, “survived by becoming a workaholic. Fortunately or unfortunately the military took advantage of this, and I was much awarded as a soldier for my work ethic.”
Guzman decided to dissociate from the military on witnessing the way it treated the native population in Diego Garcia. Post discharge, her life became unmanageable. The effects of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) from her rape had taken a heavy toll.
After undergoing a divorce, a failed suicide attempt and homelessness, she moved in with her parents. A chance encounter with a female veteran at a political event in Los Angeles prompted her to contact the veteran’s administration (VA) for help. She began seeing a therapist there who diagnosed her with PTSD from her rape.