Raped in the Military


Consider the case of Jennifer Dyer, first lieutenant in the 250th Signal Battalion of the New Jersey National Guard, stationed this August at Camp Shelby, Mississippi, and preparing to go on duty in Iraq. On arriving at Camp Shelby, Dyer says she was raped by a fellow first lieutenant. According to a story on, she reported the incident, got emergency-room treatment, and was then secluded in a motel room for two days. She and couldn’t receive or make phone calls.

During this period, she got a visit from an intelligence agent who interrogated her and told her to keep her mouth shut. Soon, the agent reappeared and unexpectedly read Dyer her Miranda rights, she says, “before he proceeded to threaten me with charges of making a false police report.” She was given two weeks of convalescent leave and returned home at her own expense, after which time she was ordered back to Camp Shelby.

Dyer protested at being made to go back to the environs of her rape, but was told by a female army doctor there was “no flexibility” in the matter, and that if she failed to return, the doctor “would have the Military Police arrest me and place me in prison.”Some days later, the same doctor suggested “she could have me committed to the mental health hospital in Fort Gordon, Georgia.”

A lieutenant colonel was next to call, and he also told Dyer there was “no flexibility” and she would have to return to Camp Shelby. If she failed to do so, said the colonel, she would be counted as AWOL. “I again told him of my fear of returning to such an environment and the devastation that I felt about being forced to perform my duties in a location where I had been assaulted,” she says. “He told me my only option was to return to duty.”

Additional reporting: Laurie Anne Agnese, David Botti, and Nicole Duarte