A recent investigation into the alleged suicide of US Army Private Lavena Johnson has brought to the attention of many, the terrible sexual violence that female soldiers encounter while fighting for our country. However mainstream media has done an excellent job in covering up 19-year old Lavena Johnson’s story, as well as the incredible rise in suicides that have resulted from female violence.
According to a story done by Digg, every year the Cold Case Investigations Research Institute (CCIRI) takes on a high-profile cold case. So far, CCIRI has had their own ballistic and forensic experts and a psychologist, who is an expert on suicides, take a good look at the military’s investigative file and autopsy photos; all have serious doubts Lavena took her own life.
Lavena’s own father, Dr. John Johnson believes that there is more than meets than eye when it comes to the Pentagon’s side of the story, as well as their strong grip on the mainstream media’s coverage of Lavena’s suicide. He believes the Pentagon has a choking grip on a media industry that has become so financially injured, if 60 minutes or ABC News were to air stories such as Lavena’s, the military would pull advertising from those channels, he says.
“The military sure as heck don’t want to admit black female soldiers are being raped and murdered because they’re having a hard time recruiting and retaining black females,” he told Toward Freedom. “Major media stories of brutally raped black female soldiers would devastate recruiting.”
The US military’s autopsy of Lavena had revealed a busted lip, broken teeth, scratch marks on her neck, but no serious injuries. Yet after she was raised from the grave for a second autopsy, new X-rays would reveal a broken neck. Even stranger, the second autopsy also showed the military had removed part of Lavena’s tongue, vagina and anus, and didn’t tell the Johnsons, or document this in the first autopsy.
Lavena’s story is strange and twisted but stories like Lavena’s are sadly becoming more and more common in Afghanistan and other war-zones occupied by US troops. The mysterious deaths of female soldiers coincide with an increase in reported sexual violence against women in the military during a time when women are joining like never before. In 1970, female soldiers made up 1 percent of the entire armed forces; today, that number has jumped to roughly 15 percent, nearly 200,000 in all. As the numbers of female troops grow, the U.S. Department of Defense’s own reports bear out the rising problem of military sexual assaults in war zones: up 26 percent from 2007 to 2008, and another 33 percent over the following year.
Title: Sexual Violence Against Women in the US Military: The Search for Truth and Justice
Publication: Digg.com, July 14th, 2011
Author: John Lasker
Faculty Evaluator: Peter Phillips, Sonoma State University
Student Researcher: Taylor Falbisaner, Sonoma State University