Former Colorado female Marine: FB scandal is only latest incident of sexual assault

Posted at 11:07 PM, Mar 09, 2017
and last updated 2017-03-10 01:07:36-05

DENVER -- "Call it bravery, call it stupidity, call it whatever you want, but I am SICK AND TIRED of keep my mouth shut," said retired Corporal Stephanie while reading a letter she wrote to all female veterans about her experience in the Marines.

Stephanie asked Denver7 not to use her last name because she fears retaliation, but said the latest Marine Corps nude photo scandal is what pushed her to take a stand.

Hundreds of photos of naked female service were shared and commented on in a private Facebook group.

"I want them to know now is the time," she said. "Nothing stops this."

Cpl. Stephanie served in the Marines from 2009 to 2013 as a Huey helicopter crew chief and said she experienced firsthand the culture of sexual assault.

"Sexual harassment potentially leading into assault is an acceptable behavior in the military," she said. "I dealt with sexual harassment a lot."

Stephanie said it started with her recruiter who took her out drinking, which is already a violation of policy.

From there, she said he took her back to the recruitment office where he sexually assaulted her until his wife showed up.

Stephanie was terrified because this was the man who held her fate. She told Denver7 she didn't immediately report the sexual assault.

"It's common culture, absolutely," she said.

Little did she know that was just the beginning.

"There's an acronym for female marines and its WM -- which we all thought was woman marine but turns out it's 'walking mattresses,'" she said.

The Pentagon did make some changes in 2014 after Stephanie left the Marines. It required each military branch to hold monthly meetings to track sexual assault cases, monitor retaliation, and forward allegations for investigations.

However, Stephanie said the latest scandal is proof it's still happening and more sweeping changes are needed to get rid of the 'good old boys club' culture. 

Click here to read a copy of Stephanie's full letter to former marines. 


Sign up for Denver7 email alerts to stay informed about breaking news and daily headlines.

Or, keep up-to-date by following Denver7 on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.