// G.I. Jane’s other war

One out of every three american women soldiers serving in Iraq or Afghanistan has been the victim of sexual abuse on the part of male U.S. soldiers and between 71% to 90% say they were the object of harassment by their male comrades-in-arms, subjected to constant denigration, insults and vulgar slurs.’ So writes Helen Benedict, Columbia University professor, in her book, The Lonely Soldier, the private war of women serving in Iraq, which has already unleashed fierce debate in the United States. In war zones, the ratio of woman soldiers is one to every ten men. “feeling as though you are a target 24 hours a day is not easy,’ Helen Benedict explains. ‘the message the men are sending is ‘we don’t respect you. we don’t want you here.’ then comes the physical assault, and finally rape.’ According to army statistics, ‘only’ 0.83 out of every thousand women in war zones have been the victims of sexual abuse. However, the army also makes it clear that those are just the reported cases, and that 90% of rapes are kept quiet. Usually, the aggressors are the women’s superiors, and most often they are never brought to trial. In addition to all of this, it is also more difficult for women to gain access to health care, as only 14% of military clinics have departments dedicated to women’s health issues. With the assistance of American associations that provide help and psychological support to female veterans suffering from MST (military sexual trauma), I carried out extensive research for this project. I was able to establish contact with many of these women, veterans of the latest wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but also of earlier wars, all of them with stories to tell of rape and sexual abuse. I met with these women, interviewed them, and photographed them.