Marta Vazquez in her U.S. Army uniform. During several tours of duty in South Korea and Iraq, she says she was constantly harassed, and, on one occasion, drugged and raped. When she complained, she suffered retaliation that drove her to depression and the verge of suicide. Crédito: Courtesy of Marta Vazquez.
Marta Vazquez in her combat uniform while serving in Iraq. “My harassment started the day I arrived at Basic Training,” she said. It began with her Drill Sergeant calling her ‘wetback’ and ‘desert crawler.’ But, she made it through hoping that things would get better. It didn’t. Crédito: Courtesy of Marta Vazquez
Marta Vazquez holding packets of military rations known as MREs, or 'Meals Ready to Eat.' Vazquez says she suffered sexual and racial abuse in the military, despite a policy of zero tolerance. "They say they have zero tolerance and they give you classes and classes and classes and classes and they nail it to your brain that it is unacceptable, that you have to report," she said. Crédito: Courtesy of Marta Vazquez.
Marta Vazquez embracing her twin boys after returning from an overseas deployment with the US Army. Vazquez was discharged from the Army after seven years service in 2015 with PTSD after she says she suffered repeated sexual abuse. She says her abusers were never punished and she suffered retaliation and humiliation. "The moment you make a formal complaint of sexual abuse ... It's like you put a target on your back and say here I am, stone me, kill me," she said. Crédito: Courtesy of Marta Vazquez.
Marta Vazquez now aged 45 says she has her life back under control. She tries not to go out as much as possible, except for trips to the VA hospital. She prefers to stay home and feed the chickens, turkeys and goats in the backyard of her home in Phoenix where she lives with her 19-year-old twins, her 95-year-old father, and her second husband. Crédito: Courtesy of Marta Vazquez.
Carri Goodwin, 20, died of an overdose after she complained she was raped twice by her recruiter and was given a bad conduct discharge from the U.S. Marine Corps in 2009. Seen here after graduation from Marine Corps boot camp at Parris Island, South Carolina in 2007. Courtesy of Gary Noling.
Ruth Moore, a former Army veteran, was raped twice by a superior and tried to commit suicide. She had to fight for 27 years until she eventually received benefits and disability for her military service. She is now a behavioral therapist in Maine, working with survivors of military abuse. Crédito: Courtesy of Ruth Moore.