A Marine Corps sergeant who claimed in a moving TikTok video last week that a fellow duty member who she said was admitted for sexual misconduct will be allowed to stay in the military has revealed new details about her experience in a statement obtained exclusively by CBS News.
“In October 2019, during my deployment, I reported my colleague for sexual misconduct,” the Navy, who only identified themselves as Dalina, said in the statement. “I had evidence and witnesses. That same night my command confronted this navy and admitted what he had done. The next morning, that same Marine was still the platoon sergeant-in-training as I hid in my room, ashamed of what had happened. “
She says her attacker also acted as a Victims Advocate, a post established by the military specifically to support victims of sexual assault and harassment.
After testifying at a council hearing to determine whether his alleged attacker would be involuntarily forced out of the armed services last December, Dalina said he was told he would be honorably released from the Marine Corps. Then last week, she was informed that the commanding general had decided to keep the Marine against whom she says she obtained a military protection order.
In a viral TikTok video released last Thursday, Dalina said, “This is exactly why … women in the military are killing themselves.”
In response to the now-deleted TikTok video, the Marine Corps wrote in a statement Friday: “The Marine in the video is safe and has had the opportunity to meet with senior officials from his command” and the “administrative separation process. current for the accused perpetrator mentioned in the video is pending. “
For more than a decade, the Pentagon has been committed to eradicating sexual assault from its ranks, but the allegations are on the rise. A recentrevealed that more than 20,000 active-duty members said they had been assaulted in the past 12 months, according to the most recent military survey, and nearly 8,000 official reports of sexual assault were filed in 2019, the most never recorded. At the same time, the number of cases submitted to court martial has declined. Out of 7,825 reports of sexual assault in fiscal 2019, only 363 cases were adjudicated.
Nearly twenty victims of sexual assault from all branches of military serviceto CBS News, saying they suffered retaliation for reporting assaults when the perpetrators were not punished or received only administrative action. In the most recent anonymous military survey, 64% of women who reported sexual assault said they had experienced retaliation. Dalina said she did the same.
“There is a lot of misinformation that you will hear used to discredit me,” Dalina wrote. “This is a direct reflection of what happens when members of the service present their story.”
“The failure of the military to take seriously the crisis of non-consensual sex crimes plaguing the force has once again been exposed,” said retired Col. Don Christensen, former chief prosecutor of the US Air Force and now President of the nonprofit Protect Our Defenders. “Like too many survivors, she saw her boss coming to the assailant’s defense. Rather than supporting her, they fought back against her.”
During a press briefing on Friday, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin called the video “deeply disturbing.”
Following the CBS News investigation, the White House and the. President Joe Biden has ordered a 90-day commission to seek solutions to sexual assault in the military and Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin has called for a review of plans and practices relating to the treatment of sexual assault in the military. from the leaders of each military branch. The results of those efforts, which could include advice on removing commanders’ authority over sexual assault and sexual harassment cases, have not been released, but more details on the 90-day commission are being released. expected by the end of the week.
“I experienced military sexual trauma throughout my service,” Dalina wrote. “I have met thousands of men and women who have experienced military sexual trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder resulting from sexual assault and harassment while on duty. I’m not a story in a million.
Dalina announced that other service members who have been sexually assaulted or harassed can share their stories on her forum, notyourreality.com.
The Marine Corps says it takes all allegations of prohibited conduct and activities seriously.
Service members or civilians who have been harassed or sexually assaulted by a member of the United States military can seek legal services from Protect our defenders.
DOD Safe Helpline is a hotline dedicated to members of the DOD community affected by sexual assault. Safe Helpline offers completely anonymous, confidential, 24/7 support available online at www.safehelpline.org or by calling 877-995-5247.