Protect Our Defenders News Blog


Vogue: Shock to the System: Kirsten Gillibrand Calls for Reform After Reports of Military Rape and Misconduct

Protect Our Defenders Advocacy Committee Members Heather Pitcovich and Jessica Hinves are featured in this piece from Vogue magazine. This is the first time Heather has shared her story publicly.

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Pitcovich said she eventually agreed to meet the officer at a bar near her home. “When I asked who was going to be there, he named a bunch of other senior people,” she told me. Later that night, she awoke at her house with a vague memory of getting sick and needing to be taken home. As her head slowly cleared, she said, she realized she was naked, and the officer was on top of her. “I couldn’t move,” she said. “I was trying to process what was going on.” Pitcovich said it took her months to recall another detail from that evening: the men she had been with laughing at the far end of the bar while a round of drinks was prepared. She became convinced she’d been drugged. She said she filed a report, and eventually, after a contentious Article 32 hearing—a prerequisite to a military trial—negotiated an agreement with the defendant, who accepted nonjudicial punishment for sexual harassment and fraternization. The Navy wouldn’t comment specifically on her case but referred me to Jill Loftus, director of the Navy’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office. “I do hear a lot of testimony from victims of MST, and I would like to say I feel very badly for them . . . those are victims of a process that is very different from a process we now have,” said Loftus. “We take it very seriously now.”

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