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Aquí y Ahora - 26 de julio, 2020

27 Jul 2020 – 12:00 AM EDT

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>> eileen: hello.

>> hello.

welcome to aqui y ahora.

we have been listening to the

podcasts of many people that

were tired of staying quiet.

>> i was really emotional and

excited before joining the

marine and i said great, this is

going to be easy i had trained

for nine months.

>> italia ocampo is part of the

marines of the united states.

she became a surgeon and she

specialized in logistics.

>> she seems really happy.

but behind that smile, there is

a lot of pain, anxiety, a lot of

depression.

>> natalia came with a lot of

illusions and hopes to pursue

her first training.

since she stepped in there, she

knew it wouldnt be easy.

>> when you arrive to the

marines, you get in a bath

paired when you go to the

island, you have to put your

head down.

before you react, there is an

instructor that is yelling at

you to get down.

and i said, what have i done?

>> after all, it was the

military way, and she had to get

used to it.

>> she says she had a trainer

who showed a side of the

military that she never saw

before.

>> a lot of things you would say

to me, things that were so

intense, so vulgar, today at

night, im going to be with my

wife, and tomorrow when i

arrive, you are going to have to

smell me.

things like that.

horrible.

>> nauta --natalia was 18 years

old and in her mind, she felt

like she had to put up with this

and stay quiet.

it was the very beginning and

she knew that if she complained,

she was not going to reach her

goal.

she confesses that the trainer

went a lot farther.

>> one time, she slapped me in

the face in front of everybody.

she humiliated, and my friend

said you are doing abuse right

now, but is not allowed.

>> me being an immigrant from

mexico, i wanted my daughters to

do something for this country.

for the usa.

>> she arrived from mexico in

1991.

she dedicated herself to raising

natalia and her daughter.

both of them born in the u.s.

>> for me, i would be proud if

one of them joined the military.

>> and she would be way happier

to see natalia doing something

like this.

>> i remember there were so many

times when i was so depressed, i

would not leave my room, i

didnt want to eat, and my mom

would call me and say hey, how

are you doing?

and i will tell her, everything

is great.

im having fun.

i have friends.

and honestly, it wasnt like

that.

>> natalia, as now we know about

vanessa guillen, the father who

disappeared, and her body was

found in pieces, and texas, she

did not want to worry her

daughter.

>> why dont you want to eat?

she would not tell me.

she would not want to say it

until i got mad and said, stop,

this is enough.

>> opposite of vanesas mom who

did not want her to join the

military, natalias mom did

encourage her to go to the army.

>> i didnt want her to feel

guilty for supporting me and

pushing me and trusting me with

the military.

>> now it is part of a lot of

what she went through during the

marina military process.

thanks to this post she did a

week ago on social media,

precisely where the movement i

am vanesa guillen started.

>> this is one of the letters,

the hardest letters i have had

to rate.

>> in this way, she detailed the

abuse, and only part of this,

because she is not ready to

reveal everything.

not her family, not her mother

-- not her family or her mother

knew about what happened.

and a lot of other choices vote

-- a joint natalia in an

anonymous way.

>> i received thousands of

messages and all of them had the

same thing.

i have not the strength to share

what has happened and i hope i

can be as strong as you are to

tell my story.

>> after years of silence,

natalia felt like opening up and

supporting others was the only

way to move forward.

>> she says many of her people

were raped and she lived in

fear, thinking she could be the

next one.

in a study from the department

of security did research and the

abuse went up 50% in the last

two years.

the representatives of the

marines say in a declaration

that in the same report, the

report from sexual abuse went

down, and that they make sure

they are taking the right

preventions and training.

and in fact, they are saying

that they expect and choose the

highest senders and make them

responsible for their behavior

within and outside of the

service, even outside of the

base.

like social media.

>> i dont know any friend who

was in the marine corps with me

that was not either

discriminated or abused,

assaulted, raped.

>> in social media, she reads

every day, every night, the pain

of the people from the military

that were victims.

>> abuse is so common between

men, they can never process that

because they dont let it out.

>> she has also given them a

voice.

>> i have messages from men that

have told me they almost killed

themselves because they are so

ashamed that they are not men.

>> and when maria guadalupe

found out, what was her

reaction?

>> i was frustrated, i felt

upset with myself, i felt like i

failed as a mother, i felt so

guilty.

>> after being in south carolina

-- in north carolina, she was

moved later.

she was transferred to san

diego, california.

she became a sergeant.

she did her four years of

contracts and then didnt want

to continue.

she recognizes what the marine

left her.

>> it made me a very strong

person and i think the marines

for that.

>> would you send your children

to the military or special

forces?

>> no.

especially a daughter, i

wouldnt.

>> she says as long as there are

still tragedies happening such

as vanesa guillen, she cannot do

it.

>> today, she studies relations

and her mom stays very close to

her watching her do it -- during

it.

>> coming up, a report.

the process to investigate the

complaint of sexual abuse.

the challenge is to confront a

culture of abuse with strong

words.

>>

>> many of them say, for many

years, they felt denied,

ignored, and without any power

to do anything.

now, one of our reporters spoke

to an institution that is ruled

by men.

there are many things that will

be hard to change.

but, with the report, they hope

they are doing the first steps.

-- making the first steps.

>> when she joined the military

forces in the early 2000s, she

never imagined what she was

going to go through.

>> i come from a military family

.

i have a lot of knowledge about

this.

>> she also had her own

ambition.

>> i always said like, im the

only woman in this family to go

to the army.

i always thought that it was a

challenge and a great

opportunity also to pay for my

studies.

>> there were no offices to

report sexual abuse.

for astrid, it started from the

first day.

>> you get down -- from the

first are that you get down off

of that airplane, you start

feeling bad.

>> you are in the middle of the

war in the middle east.

another hispanic and california

decided to join the marines.

there were -- her parents were

undocumented mexicans from

mexico that were working in the

field.

>> i always felt so bad that my

parents were working.

they were old.

i wanted them to be at home,

resting and taking care of them.

>> quickly, she realized

reaching her dreams was not

going to be easy.

>> i remember that there were

men that said that the women in

the marines only are good for

something.

and we can all imagine what that

is.

>> she noticed that the

disrespectful behavior came not

only from soldiers, but also

from officials.

and she remembers her immediate

boss doing sexual, inappropriate

comments.

>> he would say oh, you look

great, those pants look good on

you.

but the thing is, i was using

the same uniform that he was.

so how could that be something

sexual?

>> astrid says she was going

through something similar.

>> we were running and he said,

you are not going to be able to

run or do the time of the race

that we need to pass the test of

physical training because your

hoodie is too big.

>> one time, she remembered that

they punished all the women and

put the men on the other side to

observe them.

>> and they were looking at our

butts, while we were working and

the surgeon was telling us

things that we cant do things,

you can look at the big

beauties.

and the men were laughing at us.

you feel humiliated.

they are telling that to you in

front of everybody.

you feel like you are not

valued.

>> in 2005, the department of

defense created an office that

will take the accusations of

sexual abuse and protect them

and try to prevent this from

happening.

astrid remembers, she received

one of the first classes.

>> they were teaching how to not

be sexually abused.

but they never said how they

should not accuse us in a sexual

way, abuse us, and that leaves a

lot to say.

>> besides the initiation, the

case is increased, especially in

the last 10 years.

>> i think the men were saying

that they were the only ones who

were able to say that it worked.

>> she is a veteran from the air

force for almost 16 years.

she gave her service as a pilot.

and then flying -- a flying

instructor.

today, she helped female

soldiers, like her, that were

victims of sexual abuse.

>> that system is not to help

the victim.

that is to protect the military

service, and that is how they

want it.

that way could they continue to

do it over and over again.

>> that is exactly what happened

to her.

she remembers one night when a

soldier tried to go into her

room by forcing the door.

>> i turned around to see what i

was able to reach.

if he came into my room.

>> did you feel threatened?

>> of course.

yes.

i remember i grabbed -- i took

my hand and my leg and put it

against the door.

at one point, he got his hand in

hand he tried to open it and he

put his feet and his hand from

the outside.

so i said, you have to leave.

and he didnt want to.

>> finally, she was able to be

safe from him.

and the next day, she went to

report the soldier.

>> i had to speak with men, tell

them what had happened to me,

not only one time.

it was like 3, 4 times.

>> until she was in front of a

captain.

>> then he said, and why you?

out of all the women in the

academy, why you?

how do you know him?

and to me, it made me feel liz

-- as a piece of trash.

as if it was my fault.

>> tristeza gave her service in

iraq and afghanistan.

apparently the behavior did not

work when the soldiers are far

away from home.

here and now, aqui y ahora,

requested interviews with

representatives of the

department of defense and other

ones that they never replied.

by law, they are supposed to

send a report about all the

women complaining.

astrid was one of the ladies who

did not speak out.

>> i would often wonder, why did

i not speak out?

i say wow, i could have avoided

all the people coming after me

going through what i went

through if i had spoken at that

time.

>> vanesa guillen unburied

memories and emotions against

two veterans and huge

disappointment by knowing that

things have not changed.

>> i feel so upset that vanesa

had to die to have a movement

where women understood that it

is time to talk.

>> for them, for they have

learned inside of the

institution, the military

institution, now they are using

to write their voices.

>> because a lot of what i am

today is for being a marine.

they taught me how to be strong

as well.

>> she said that they also told

her how to yell to be heard.

>> when they were sending the

same recruiters for boot camp,

they would say you have to yell

louder and louder and louder.

and thats what im doing right

now.

and i will continue to do it

until things change.

>> when we come back, the report

of a uniformed

>> in the air force, to be a

double minority woman in latinx

means you are more vulnerable to

sexual abuse, according to an

form of the department of

veteran affairs.

20% of the women that got

assistance were victims of

traumatic stress, because of

sexual abuse.

i spoke to people who are

fighting to overcome their

trauma.

>> she was a mom, very young, 19

years old in the bronx with a

baby of three months in her

arms.

>> i got to my first semester of

university and there was a

recruiter.

>> the door that was opening in

front of her was the one of the

united states army.

she was sent to texas where she

had to confront what she says is

discrimination.

>> they would tell me if i was

going to cook, they would say

theres the mexican, shes going

to cook for us.

>> this discrimination is

something she recognized of

pamela campos campa.

this shouldnt happen because it

is the biggest growing group in

the military.

>> some percentage are latinx or

hispanic.

>> and within them, who have

shown a huge growth in the last

few years, are women.

in 1973, hispanics represented

1.3%.

today, it is more than 16%.

however, they say their voices

are not always heard.

and many bases, there is a lot

of of fear and silence.

>> nancy rodriguez also entered

the military when she was 18.

she was training to be a

military policewoman.

because of her gender and

appearance, she was assured that

she was abused.

>> if i did something well,

there were other women and some

men too, and they would say, oh,

they gave it to her because

shes cute.

>> something that will bother

her, but she did not complain.

during a training, nancy got

hurt, and they sent her to work

at a different department.

>> i almost saw him as my dad.

>> the supervisor was 15 years

old and had a family.

but that did not stop him from

certain --

>> he would tell me, you are

really pretty.

and with all the times we had

spent together, im feeling an

attraction for you.

i was surprised.

and i told him that was not

right.

you are married.

>> why -- while she was dealing

with abuse in the military base,

gigi was doing a mission abroad.

there were 150 men and only six

women.

>> we went to iraq.

it was almost two days of

driving from one area to

another.

we were really tired.

we were sleeping.

>> in the middle of the

darkness, she woke up suddenly

when someone covered her face

with a sleeping bag.

>> they suffocated me.

they kissed me.

i dont know who.

and they touched my private

parts.

>> what do you do?

>> i couldnt yell because that

person was covering my mouth.

>> and she assures no one around

her did anything about it.

although in her memory, she

keeps a smell.

>> i smelled a mechanic smell so

i know it was a mechanic.

but i dont know which one.

>> what do you do when you

realized this was not >> >> --

it is really, really hard.

up until now, i cant -- im in

therapy.

im taking a lot of medication,

pills.

my sexual life does not exist

with my husband.

im afraid.

its horrible.

>> gigi assures that she

reported abuse to her

supervisor.

>> i complained that i never --

but i never said someone raped

me.

i said someone is bothering me.

>> g why not, gigi?

>> because i knew nothing would

happen.

also because i was at war.

these are my brothers and

sisters in combat.

i cant have enemies.

they have to protect me.

>> who has to protect her also

abuses their position of power,

she assures, referring to her

supervisor.

>> when i went to pick up the

thing from his desk, he got

close and kissed me.

>> what was your reaction,

nancy, when he kisses you?

>> i felt gross.

grossed out.

>> nancy complained and she was

transferred to a different

military base.

but her old supervisor did not

give up.

>> he continued.

he tried to call me via

facetime.

and i had to block him from the

phone.

>> sexual abuse, violence, and

discrimination against women in

the armed forces seems to be

part of the culture of the

military life.

according to one specialist.

>> the system, the justice

system in the military is not

real.

40% of the people who report

have said that they did

something about it.

>> she is sure because she also

served for 10 years in the

military.

>> a double minority as a woman

and latinx, you are also a

victim of abuse.

>> i was a victim of abuse,

violence, racism, to a point

where last year, i gave a

testimony to the congress about

racism in the military.

>> i experienced assault

multiple times.

>> it took me years to recognize

what i lived and went through.

being at a christmas party with

people i had worked, and then to

touch me under the table.

i was someone who did not have a

position, a high position, and

the man that did that to me had

a huge position within our

working place in the military.

>> what would you recommend to

women that are interested in

joining the military?

>> i would tell them to please,

not until there is justice, do

not join the military.

>> we have asked for an

interview with the military but

they declined the participation.

>> nancy today takes care of her

children, after she left the

army.

nobody had bothered her again.

today on social media, she

thanks the intervention of her

higher ups who did everything

that was possible to keep her

away who apparently was abusing

her.

>> gigi left recently, but she

assures that her memory still

haunts her.

>> that a man, his beard, that

brings me a memory, and i feel

the anxiety.

>> up until now, you never

talked publicly of what had

happened to you.

>> my son is here, hes 19 years

old.

he is here and he never heard my

story.

my husband is the only person

who knows.

my mom doesnt know anything.

my father who passed away never

knew anything.

>> after 20 years of service,

her message is moving.

>> i dont regret it.

i would do it again.

but i regret the rules that are

there against women.

>> is there discrimination in

the military?

>> definitely.

>> sexual abuse?

>> definitely.

>> they say that behind a code

of silence, there is a system of

retaliation and impunity.

>> this has

>> from the military, the themes

of sexual abuse, doing a report,

could be more painful than the

actual aggression they have

suffered.

one of our reporters spoke to

another one and apparently there

is a silence code but it seems

impossible to break.

>> serve the country and tried

to be part of something bigger

are some of the reasons why many

young people join the armed

forces.

the military.

but for this person, her

motivation was deeper and

bigger.

>> it didnt matter that my

parents were born in mexico.

it didnt matter that we came

from a lower income family.

i wanted to prove that my family

deserved to be here.

>> when she was 17, still, a

little too young to sign up

without the permission of her

parents, perla signed up for the

marines.

one of the best trainers trained

forces in the world.

>> who doesnt want to be part

of the best?

>> your sister doesnt remember

it like that.

>> it took us by surprise and we

were also worried.

>> in 2010, she left california

and arrived to south carolina to

do one of the physically and

mentally hardest ones in the

military.

>> i never traveled in the u.s.

like climate was different and

humid.

people had accents.

>> but that was not the only

thing she noticed.

>> there was someone who was in

charge of me who would always

touch my hair and touch me.

>> soon, she noticed she was not

the only one.

>> i would hear stories that

someone would go from the window

and attack them.

>> until apparently, her lack

ended.

>> i woke up and he was on top

of me.

>> the aggressor was someone who

was on her team.

>> i had told him no.

>> for the next few weeks, she

realized that to become a

marine, she not only had to be

strong physically.

>> they because another thing

that they imposed, including our

mind, is that your career is

more important than anything.

>> according to her, she had to

learn how to stay quiet.

>> they tell you know, i dont

want to report them because im

going to be in trouble.

>> the pentagon said this is a

systematic issue.

and the nearly a thousand

reports of sexual abuse, little

over 1000, were formal

complaints.

>> sexual assault, sexual

harassment, or any form of

accused is violating the

constitution and it is our

response ability to stop it.

.

you have to report it when the

director of the program of

prevention and sexual abuse.

he refused to speak about

specific cases, but he did admit

that today, there are less

reports.

the complaints are not being

investigated with a velocity

that is necessary.

>> we have to build trust.

between our soldiers, so they

can feel protected when they are

presenting a complaint.

they have to know that their

cases will be investigated and

judged accordingly.

>> even though there is a higher

number of reports and

complaints, there is a new

program that is getting better

results than less than a year.

they have produced about 300

reports, and the conviction of

three military men.

>> this had helped perla to keep

what had happened behind.

in 2011, she accomplished her

dream.

>> my mom loves telling people

that she had a daughter who was

a marine.

>> apparently that pride had a

price.

>> it is almost like this person

waited until i fell asleep in

the celebration.

and this person felt it was the

time.

i was for him.

>> this time, according to perla

, a military man of the higher

position entered her room

without her consent.

>> and that was not enough for

him to stop.

>> perla remembers that he

grabbed her without her consent

and raped her.

>> i did not want to do that and

i told him.

>> after the abuse, she had to

continue to work with this

superior person for over a year.

having to have the looks and

mistreatment of the person who

had abused her.

>> why did you not report him?

>> at that moment, i did not

feel like i was enough.

or strong enough to go to

support the investigation.

>> according to perla, there was

a code of silence.

>> its like going to court.

there is a judge.

who is going to support me

there?

nobody.

>> the young girl was just 18

years old, never spoke about

what had happened to her, not

even her family.

>> i wanted my parents to be

proud of me.

>> although during business at

her house, her sister noticed

there was something wrong.

>> we noticed she was colder.

we thought, this must be the new

training she went through.

>> perla fell into a deep

depression that got worse,

according to her, after meeting

her superior.

>> very casually he said, you

have to go to the doctor to get

a test because maybe i gave you

something.

>> and i said, excuse me?

>> the said yes, i didnt use a

condom.

>> the exam revealed she had an

infection, the disease, an std,

sexual transmitted disease.

>> later, she left the marines

with honors.

and today, she lives in delaware

where she will graduate soon as

a specialized nurse.

according to her, the abuser who

she did not want to mention,

they are already retired from

the military.

>> this was a scar mentally that

will always be there.

>> last week, perla came back to

her house in california to tell

her family the secret that she

kept during 10 years.

>> i felt that i could not do

anything for her.

>> the news kept her family full

of pain.

>> i am even more sad for her

knowing that all of this

happened and she decided to

continue all of those years to

finish her contract, that she

never stopped and gave up.

>> a young marine, daughter of

immigrants, who found her place

in this country.

>> i felt like nothing happened,

they treat you worse, they

punish you, that has to change.

>> today, she wants to be the

voice that finally ends that

silent code.

>> when we come back, they know

about the complaints.

and they are about to take a

very important decision.

>>

>> about 70,000 young people

enroll in the army, and

apparently, 80% are men and the

rest, women.

a 30 percentage of these are

women.

many women have felt discouraged

to enroll in the military.

we spoke to two women that were

about to take a very important

decision.

>> this is that time of the year

when many young people who just

finished high school does either

future, and that is why they are

here.

maria of 17.

and they are with a recruiter

who has many years in the

military and never had any bad

experiences.

>> when i was five years old in

the army, i was elected to be a

recruiter.

>> those who are interested do

an appointment with a recruiter

who explains to them their

requirements and the benefits.

>> they have to pass the exam,

the physical exam.

if they are denied, it is

because they have not passed at

the basic exam.

also the rating, mathematics,

they have to have a high school

diploma, they have to have a

college credit.

they cannot have any problems

with the law.

no tattoos that are visible.

>> in this office, for example,

there are about some people that

are enrolling.

the special benefits are that

education once.

>> we have medical benefits for

the families to go to school, to

continue school.

>> something that julia and

maria who like to work in health

are especially and specifically

interested.

>> first not having a career or

a future.

>> i always wanted to study

medicine or forensic science.

>> she worked where interested

women have arrived.

>> and a lot of the people that

come here are born here, but

their background is south

american, colombian, haitian.

>> she who worked as a recruiter

tried to understand the goal of

the candidates to guide them.

>> it is to teach them how the

army will make that.

goal come true.

>> julia and maria were

interested in a career that is

so expensive like medicine, the

army could help.

>> we automatically chose a job

in medicine, where it could be

combat or anything that has to

do with medication, medicine.

a program that makes you the

helper of the doctor.

or you can finish your contract

and they will give you money to

finish this.

>> they have to sign a contract

for two years or more.

>> i want to, after finishing my

career, i want to be active and

serve as a doctor.

>> maria does not have a

tradition of military.

but she was inspired after

seeing a scene from pearl

harbor.

>> we are at war.

tell that to the soldiers who

are working hard in the waters

of the pacific.

>> there is a time in the movie,

a part where the nurse is

identifying the people to see

what medicine they have.

and she got lipstick and started

writing.

>> tell me, when you told your

family im going to the army,

where they agreeing or no?

>> first my mom didnt want to.

she would say, are you sure?

i will support you wherever you

want.

my father, the same.

he always supported me in

everything.

>> taking a decision to enroll

is not that easy.

>> with all the cases that have

happened, do they give you any

doubts?

>> honestly, i try not to go

with fear because then i will

have to stay at home.

>> so you have taken that

decision?

did you enroll?

>> yes.

>> i wanted to ask you about all

these people that are saying

that latinx women do not enroll

in the army.

what would you tell them?

>> i am going to say, this is

something that could open a ton

of doors.

all the cases are not the same.

you cant think because it

happened to someone, it will

happen to you also.

>> have you made that decision

of entering?

>>? i have taken the decision.

>> nothing, im going to join

the army.

>> a decision that for julias

father was really hard to

accept.

>>. at the end of the day, he

wants my happiness, and wants my

own decision.

>> my mom, she never -- i was

never able to tell her because

she died in april.

>> right before julia started

the process, something that hurt

her so much.

>>.

.

she had cancer.

in her lungs.

and i was never able to say

that, that i was going to go.

but my father, he does support

me.

>> maria and julia agree that

they have made their decision in

a positive experience.

>> my experience within the

army, i cant complain.

when i was 25 years old, i

already had my health, house, i

have my associates, im working

on my ba in accounting, i have

two children.

one of my kids needs speech

therapy and other services.

i dont have to worry about

that.

i have really good insurance.

>> the surgeon has spent 11

years in the army.

>> i started culinary arts.

>> she was there and then she

was a recruiter.

>> she is inspired by her dads

experience.

>> my father was in the vietnam

war in 1976.

so i have that support.

my mother always had supported

me.

my father did his six years,

went to war, finished at the

service.

.

unfortunately, he had a wound.

he could not continue.

he opened his own business.

>> for maria, the decision to

become a doctor of combat.

>> i always wanted to help.

obviously, it is something that

is distressing because it is

war.

but i would love to help and

give back to those who are

giving their lives on the line.

>> also, there is a history of

family.

>> one my family is from cuba

and they came here, i am

defending the great opportunity

that represented fermi, in this

country.

it is a way to say thank you.

>> julia says after the disease

and death of her mother, her

choice was medicine.

and the rest is her love to the

flag she will defend.

>> while maria still has to and

high school to enter the

military, she will do it in the

next few weeks and is not sure

where she will be sent to start

her training.

>> there are so many women that

are still sharing her -- ther

stories of abuse.

while the higher commanders have

recognized publicly that they

have a lot of work to do to gain

the trust for their families.

this is how we reach the end of

this addition.

good night.

>> i will see you soon.

thanks for choosing us.

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