(KMOV) – A complaint filed in federal court against the Department of Defense reveals that 16 women and men say they were brutally attacked by soldiers.
There are detailed accounts of abuse both on and off the military base, and some of the stories in the 45-page document are very difficult to read.
Fourteen out of the 16 plaintiffs are women, and many of them say they were sexually harassed, beaten and subject to retaliation for speaking out.
One young woman said her supervisor attacked her while she was serving in Afghanistan in 2006. She said when she returned to Fort Leonard Wood, a chaplain told her that “it must have been God’s will for her to be raped.”
In another case, a woman serving in the U.S. Navy said she was sexually assaulted by two service members. Her injuries were so severe that “the physician stopped the exam and began to cry because he was so distraught.”
Another man described being attacked in his barracks in 2009.
On Wednesday, officials at Fort Leonard Wood would not comment on the lawsuit. However, they did say they take sexual assault allegations seriously.
Fort Leonard Wood says the number of sexual acts reported between 2009 and 2010 decreased by 50 percent – from 57 to 20. But critics say that’s only because victims are afraid of coming forward.