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In photos: How Military Sexual Trauma destroyed the dream of soldier Marta Vazquez

Tragically, the trauma Vazquez suffered is not unusual in the military and rarely results in serious punishment for the assailant. New attention and outrage over sexual abuse in the military was sparked after the murder of Vanessa Guillén in Fort Hood, Texas.
23 Jul 2020 – 04:39 PM EDT
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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.
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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
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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.
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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.
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Marta Vazquez at the 8th grade graduation for her twin sons Kevin (l) and Josue (r), and daughter Alejandra (holding her son Mateo) and Andrea. Crédito: Courtesy of Marta Vazquez.
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Marta Vazquez with her twin son Kevin and Josue at their high school graduation in 2018. Crédito: Courtesty of Marta Vazquez.
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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.
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The family of Marta Vazquez, including her father, 95-year-old Desiderio Ramos (with hat), her husband, two sisters, four children and three grandchildren. Crédito: Courtesy of Marta Vazquez.
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Gary Noling holds a photo of his daughter, Carri Goodwin, who died aged 20 from an overdose of anti-depressants and alcohol after she was allegedly raped while serving in the U.S. Marine Corps. She described her rape in a journal she kept at the time. Crédito: Courtesy of Gary Noling
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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.
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Former U.S. Marine, Carri Goodwin, kept a journal in which she described her rape and suicidal thoughts. She died in 2009, aged 20, after an overdose of alcohol and anti-depressant medication prescribed by the military. Crédito: Courtesy of Gary Noling.
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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.
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Marta Vazquez attending a protest in Phoenix for murdered soldier Vanessa Guillen in July, 2020. Crédito: Courtesy of Marta Vazquez.
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Retired Col Don Christensen, former Chief Prosecutor for the Air Force, now leads the non-profit Protect Our Defenders, which aims to end sexual misconduct in the military. Chris Bartlett
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Demonstrators hold a banner demanding justice for Army solder Vanessa Guillen in LA, July 12, 2020. Crédito: Robyn Beck / AFP / Getty Images
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RELACIONADOS:Crime and Justice