Smile! You’re on Camera!
Military Soldiers Use Hidden Cameras in Sexual Assault Cases
“That camera was the only reason he got any justice.”
It’s no big secret that for decades, the armed forces have failed to properly address the epidemic of military sexual assault and harassment. About one in four U.S. servicewomen report being sexually assaulted in the military. And although the rate of men being assaulted is lower, it still happens far too often. Some service members are now using cameras to combat assault.
SA. Emily Davidson was hesitant after coming forward after being raped and repeatedly attacked by a fellow service member in her command. “Anyone who comes forward after being raped or assaulted receives backlash from the entire command!“ So Davidson continued putting up with the assault for months until she could no longer take it and went to file a report.
“I’d seen reporting go wrong so many times but I just wanted the pain to stop! I didn’t trust leadership though, so I got a hidden camera that looks like a pen.” Davidson recorded what leadership said to her when she went to report the incident. Horrifyingly, leadership told her to keep her mouth shut and that “You’re being dramatic and you knew what you were signing up for right? This is a boy’s club, don’t join if you don’t want it to happen.” Davidson was traumatized again and had almost no hope. “He attacked me again and I got that recorded but what would that proof even do? Thank god a friend suggested the police! They never tell you that you can just go to the cops.“
The local police not only believed Davidson but helped her take action that eventually got her abuser released from the Navy with a dishonorable discharge. “I think the police would have believed me, but it probably would have been hard to charge him without the footage. That camera was the only reason he got any justice.”
Davidson’s case was remarkable in that the assailant received punishment and also showed the power hidden cameras and audio recorders have in assault cases. Davidson commented, “So now they are wearing watches, pens, and even buttons with spy cameras that are easy to turn on so that they can get a recording of the assault – so that the women have proof. My friends are scared of it being a he-said-she-said moment because they will always, take the man’s side. They also record what the leadership says to them when they report the incident. They can then use those recordings in court against the perpetrator and the command.”
Military leaders have repeatedly promised reform and then failed to meet those promises. The system allows commanders to conduct the trials, pick jury members, approve witnesses, and grant immunity.
“I was attacked by a group of guys and leadership didn’t even believe it happened! It needs to be recorded. Both the attackers and leadership need to be held accountable! M.D. – former Army Corporal.
In the barracks, military members are putting up visible security cameras to deter threats. “So the guys see them and don’t do shady stuff. In one case a guy was going to try something and I pointed to the camera on the ceiling and says “Really, you’re going to do that in front of the camera?” Stopped an assault right then and there. Having the cameras there makes them think again.” N.G. – former Petty Officer Second Class
I was a faculties manager/barracks manager and I encouraged anyone who lived in the barracks to have at least one camera that records while you aren’t in the room and have it loop recorded with motion or sound activation that will lock the video when triggered to save the recording. It was like $16 at Walmart. I never encountered any sexual assaults etc while I was in charge for almost 2 years.
Yea there’s nothing wrong with cameras visible in the rooms, and they can’t make it unauthorized either at least from when I was in. The hidden cameras in pens etc aren’t bad either, it does come down to he said she said and without definite proof, usually higher rank wins or whoever command backs. J.M. – Former Chief Petty Officer.
Please note: names in this article have been changed to protect victims.