11 years after alleged assault, military rape victim tells her story

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by REBECCA LOPEZ

Bio | Email | Follow: @rlopezwfaa

WFAA

Posted on June 4, 2013 at 5:19 PM

Updated Friday, Dec 6 at 7:55 PM

Top U.S. military commanders are under fire for the handling of sexual assaults in the military.

Many victims say they are afraid to come forward. One Texas woman, Regina Vasquez, claims she was sexually assaulted and her complaints were ignored by her superiors.

Vasquez wanted to follow in her father's footsteps and joined the Marine Corps.

“Not only did I like the uniform, I felt it was important for me to serve my nation," she said.

But straight out of boot camp, Vasquez said she was sexually harassed.

"I wasn't treated as a Marine, I was treated as fresh meat," she said.

And then one night, while out at a club off-base, she said she was drugged and raped by two Marines.

“They drugged me," Vasquez said. "I couldn't scream and I couldn't move."

She immediately went to a platoon sergeant to report it, and was stunned by his attitude.

"'You were drinking, what do you expect? Couple of boys getting carried away,'" she recalled the sergeant saying.

She said he not only refused to investigate, but threatened her if she went forward.

"You go through rape and that's one thing... Yes, it's traumatizing," Vasquez said. "But when you go to report you were raped, the backlash you get -- you are being further persecuted."

So she kept her secret and remained silent for 11 years, until she had the opportunity to tell her story in a documentary called "The Invisible War," that gives a voice to women raped in the military.

“When I signed those dotted lines, I didn't expect to get raped," Vasquez said. "I expect bullets, to defend my country, and defend innocent people. I didn't expect to get raped by my own brothers."

She wants the military to take investigations away from the chain of command and have a separate unit investigate rapes. Otherwise, she said, others will suffer in silence.

E-mail rlopez@wfaa.com

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