The US military is at the centre of a growing scandal involving the sharing of nude photos of female service members without their consent.
What began with a secret Facebook group of 30,000 US marines, is proving to be the tip of the iceberg. Reports have emerged that hundreds of such photos from every military branch have been posted to an anonymous image-sharing site.
It has prompted the Defense Department to broaden its investigation, while the Marines Corps says it is looking into punitive measures.
“I don’t know how many active duty Marines are involved in this are participated in this website ‘Marines United’. I don’t know the exact number of Marines that may have been targeted. (…)
We’re going to be self-critical self-analytical But we’ve also got to recognize that there is a problem and we’ve got to figure out how to how to solve it,” Marine Corps General, Robert Neller told reporters in a news briefing.
So far only 10 women have come forward. Two women who identified themselves as victims spoke out via their lawyer.
“As a result of the posting, many men who were either current or former United States Marines posted comments on that page that were obscene,” Civil rights lawyer Gloria Allred told reporters. “Some posters suggested sexually assaulting women Marines, or rape, or that women did not belong in the United States Marine Corps.
Erika Butner, 23, who served in the Marines for four years before leaving the service last June said, “I can tell you that this exact behavior leads to the normalization of sexual harassment and even sexual violence.”
The scandal highlights the issue of rooting out misogyny in the military, an issue which the Marines have been battling for years, only now the battle has moved online.