Trending
MOST READ
Best Hookah Bar

Best Hookah Bar

Best of SA 2013: 4/24/2013
Beaches Be Trippin\': Five Texas Coast Spots Worth the Drive

Beaches Be Trippin': Five Texas Coast Spots Worth the Drive

Arts & Culture: Let’s face it, most of us Lone Stars view the Texas coast as a poor man’s Waikiki. Hell, maybe just a poor man’s Panama Beach — only to be used... By Callie Enlow 7/10/2013
Best Coffee Shop

Best Coffee Shop

Best of SA 2013: 4/24/2013
5 Awesome Ways to Survive on Ramen

5 Awesome Ways to Survive on Ramen

College Guide 2013: Nearly every college student has lived off of ramen noodles at one point or another. What a lot of them didn’t know was that the classic just-add-water... By Mary Caithn Scott 8/20/2013
Best Karaoke Night

Best Karaoke Night

Best of SA 2013: 4/24/2013
Calendar

Search hundreds of restaurants in our database.

Search hundreds of clubs in our database.

Follow us on Instagram @sacurrent

Print Email

News

Lackland's instructor-on-rainbow sex crimes, told by one who lived the nightmare

Photo: Chuck Kerr, License: N/A

Chuck Kerr

Photo: Courtesy photo, License: N/A

Courtesy photo

Colleen Bushnell


Congresswoman Jackie Speier, a Democrat from California, has since called for a congressional inquiry into the Lackland case just as was done for Aberdeen in the mid 1990s.

"What is happening at Lackland Air Force Base is no different than what happened at Aberdeen Proving Ground 15 years ago," she said in House floor speech in late June. "After that scandal, we heard assurances of how seriously the crimes were taken and how we're going to get to the bottom of this problem. Yet clearly the military is unable to police itself on matters of rape and sexual assault.

"I called for a hearing into the Lackland scandal because we need to know once and for all why instructors have been permitted to abuse power so freely and we need to know from the top that the phrase 'zero tolerance' for sexual assault in the military is a fact, not a talking point."

Speier last year introduced the Sexual Assault Training Oversight and Prevention Act, which would take reporting and investigation of sexual assaults outside of the chain of command and rely instead on an independent office consisting of civilian and military experts to hear those cases. Advocates say the measure's crucial to ensure cases aren't covered up or ignored by command.

Advocates and lawmakers should use Lackland to help push forward such changes, insists Parrish.

"The question is whether Lackland will be another footnote in history or whether public outcry will effectively put an end to this monstrous epidemic."

Bushnell's life unraveled after the assaults at Lackland. She's since moved back to upstate New York and has started to find other victims of military sexual assault over the web and through support groups. "I've met so many other women who have had equally horrible experiences," she said. "I used to think maybe it was just me, that it was uncommon. It isn't. It's pervasive, and it's amazing to me that it's been allowed to go on for this long."

Working with Protect Our Defenders, Bushnell's now an advocate for victims of military sexual assault. Starting July 14, she and five other veterans plan to cycle across the country, covering more than 4,000 miles over the course of 90 days, visiting 11 military bases to speak on rape in the military.

With a mix of both regret and relief, she says, "We won't be visiting San Antonio."

Bushnell says she's riding in memory of U.S. Army Private First Class LaVena Johnson, 19, whose 2005 death the military was ruled a suicide. An autopsy and reports from private investigators later cast doubt on Johnson's death, suggesting she suffered major physical injuries before her death consistent with sexual assault.

"I'm fighting now," Bushnell says. "Lackland took everything from me except for my life. For some reason God chose to keep me here."

Bushnell says she continues to closely watch the Lackland scandal. "The military, the Air Force, is excellent at so many things, but I think it's very hard for them to accept that sexual assault is a problem that's overtaking them," she says. Bushnell's afraid the Air Force will sweep up at Lackland, and maybe punish some trainers, but deny what she considers a greater systemic problem. "I'm going to keep speaking out to make sure they can't deny it." •

Recently in News
  • Texas Law Leaves Abortion Out of Reach for Many Women Texas’ sweeping abortion law has already eliminated all abortion clinics south of San Antonio, and the last clinic west of the city... | 8/27/2014
  • Cityscrapes: A race to the convention floor “Conventions go to the city which exerts the greatest efforts to secure them. San Antonio can get any convention that it goes after.” That was the position... | 8/27/2014
  • Mayoral Horserace Once elected next spring, San Antonio’s new mayor will have just a few months to prepare for the 2016 budget... | 8/27/2014
We welcome user discussion on our site, under the following guidelines:

To comment you must first create a profile and sign-in with a verified DISQUS account or social network ID. Sign up here.

Comments in violation of the rules will be denied, and repeat violators will be banned. Please help police the community by flagging offensive comments for our moderators to review. By posting a comment, you agree to our full terms and conditions. Click here to read terms and conditions.
comments powered by Disqus