Ms. Magazine Article on Rape in the Military
by Jamison Koehler on May 24, 2010
I am proud to say that the Spring 2010 issue of Ms. Magazine features my wife, Susan Burke, and her class action suit against the military on behalf of rape victims. Entitled “Culture of Rape” and now available on newsstands (but not online), the article cites a 2003 study by the Veteran Affairs Medical Center which estimates that at least one-third of all female veterans experienced rape or sexual assault during their service. Of my wife, the article includes the following:
Susan Burke wants to dramatically change this brutal, unjust state of affairs.
The Washington, D.C. attorney, who heads the firm Burke PLLC, is preparing to file a class-action lawsuit this summer to revamp how the U.S. military deals with sexual violence and assault committed by its personnel. The suit . . . will ask for damages as well as changes in the military’s practices. As Burke puts it, “You shouldn’t have to agree to be raped in order to sign up and serve your country.”
Burke already has a well-deserved reputation as a crusader against violence by the military and its contractors. She spearheaded a series of lawsuits in 2004 against private security forces who allegedly committed torture and abuse on behalf of the U.S. military in Iraq’s notorious Abu Ghraib prison. Later, she sued the infamous Blackwater firm on behalf of Iraqis killed and wounded in two allegedly unprovoked 2007 attacks on civilians in Baghdad. (The Blackwater suits were settled for a confidential amount; the Abu Ghraib ones are pending.)