An Army psychiatrist took the stand Tuesday in the court-martial of a former drill sergeant accused of raping six women and testified that women in the military found it more difficult to resist and report sexual advances and forcible rape by their superiors than did women in civilian life.
Maj. Elsbeth Ritchie, the assistant chief of outpatient psychiatry at Walter Reed Health Care System, described a world in which the hierarchical structure is so powerful that the victim may feel that reporting a rape may hurt her career, open her up to charges of fraternization or adultery or leave her feeling her superiors will close ranks and protect each other “because they are all buddies.”
While a woman in civilian life has the power to quit her job if her boss made a sexual advance, women in the military do not.
“If you are in the military, you cannot just leave,” Maj. Ritchie said. “You can’t go AWOL. Or if you go AWOL, you’ll get in trouble.”
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