A “deeply disturbing” video, as described by the Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, of a woman later identified as a Marine sergeant emerged on the social platform TikTok on Thursday, as per Insider.
The woman could be seen crying and explaining how “a man who had admitted to misconduct of a sexual nature had been allowed to stay in the Corps,” although she was told before that the man in question would be released from service. She also accused the Corps of not taking care of her as promised.
The video continues with the disturbed Marine saying: “This is exactly why f—ing females in the military f—ing kill themselves. This is exactly why nobody f—ing takes it seriously.”
This is what happens when you report your assault in the @USMC He admits his guilt and then is retained by the Commanding General after everyone else recommended do not retain. @RepSpeier @SenGillibrand @KamalaHarris @SecDef this is bullshit. #metoomilitary #sexualassault pic.twitter.com/xogqY4SPKI
— #NotInMyMarineCorps (@NotInMyMarines) February 18, 2021
Secretary Austin, who is a retired four-star Army general, spoke of the video during a briefing at the Pentagon and expressed his concerns regarding it, saying he had asked for more information from his staff. “We have to get the facts,” he said. “We have to understand what just happened.”
“I care about each and every one of our troops,” the secretary added. “I’m going to ask that her chain of command makes sure that someone is looking out after her needs and is making sure that we’re taking care of her.”
The Marine Corp released a statement saying that “sexual assault is a crime, is unacceptable, and violates our core values of honor, courage, and commitment,” as per Insider.
Later, however, they explained how this wasn’t a matter of sexual assault but an allegation of misconduct regarding the wrongful appropriation & distribution of personal information, something the advocacy group Not in My Marine Corps didn’t agree with.
We are aware of the video of the Marine in distress. The Marine Corps takes all allegations of misconduct seriously. The Marine’s command @iimefmarines has taken action to ensure the Marine is safe.
— U.S. Marines (@USMC) February 19, 2021
Captain Angelica Sposato, a spokeswoman for the unidentified woman’s unit, II Marine Expeditionary Force said the incident is being investigated and “the current administrative separation process for the accused perpetrator mentioned in the video is ongoing.”
“The Marine in the video is safe and has been afforded the opportunity to meet with senior representatives in her command,” she added.
On his second day as a Defense Secretary, Lloyd Austin “ordered a review of the military’s sexual assault and harassment prevention efforts,” according to Stars and Stripes. “We’ve been working at this for a long time, in earnest, but we haven’t gotten it right,” Austin said Friday about sexual assault in the military. “We’re going to do everything in our power to get it right.”