Monday, June 8, 2009

Justice for LaVena Johnson

From the Take Action petition:

Overwhelming evidence shows that LaVena Johnson was raped and murdered while serving in Iraq. Yet the US Army refuses to investigate and insists LaVena's death was a suicide.

LaVena Johnson was 19 years old, serving in Iraq as a private in the Army, when she was raped, murdered, and her body was burned--by someone from her own military base. Despite overwhelming physical evidence, the Army called it a suicide and closed the case.[1]

For three years, LaVena's parents have been fighting for answers. At almost every turn, they've been met with closed doors or lies. But together we can help achieve justice for LaVena and other families who have suffered similar tragedies.[2]

1. "The cover-up of a soldier's death?", March 6, 2007

2. "Is There an Army Cover Up of Rape and Murder of Women Soldiers?", April 28, 2008

This story simultaneously horrifies me, terrifies me, and makes me so angry that I do that thing where I hold my breath because there’s a lump in my throat that feels like a furious rage-filled hour-long scream is going to come exploding out any second.

A nineteen-year-old girl was found dead inside a burning tent with a gunshot wound to the head, acid burns on her genitals (probably inflicted to prevent DNA identification of a rapist), debris on her clothing suggesting she had been forcibly dragged from one location to another, blunt force trauma to the face (two front teeth knocked out and a busted lip), with a blood trail outside her tent.

And the Army rules it a SUICIDE?

Even after this fucking mother-load of evidence of a struggle? Even after residue tests confirm LaVena may not have handled the weapon that killed her, nor would she have been able to shoot herself with her dominant hand judging by the trajectory of the gunshot wound? Even after her healthy psychological history?

This is just the tip of the iceberg of the misogyny and corruption that runs rampant through sexual assaults against women in the military. The US Department of Defence stats claim that one in three women who join the US military will be sexually assaulted by men in the military.

Makes you wonder what the hell they’re doing to civilian women in the countries they occupy, doesn’t it?

And what about male-on-male sexual assault in the military? Next to zero chance of that being reported or of perpetrators being brought to justice.

I’m so angry. I can’t even breathe. If this was my daughter somebody would be getting cut up right now.


  1. Thank you for sharing the story of LaVena Johnson with your blog readers...

    peace, Villager

  2. I heard about this a while back. I still can't believe it was ruled a SUICIDE. What the hell is going on behind the scenes... on some level I don't even want to know.