First, let me make a statement. I have no doubt that Lieutenant Helmer was "ordered" to attend a social function. A simple mention of "The CO desires" is equivalent to an order and the pressure to attend social functions is very heavy on commissioned officers.
That said, in twenty-two years I NEVER saw a Marine ordered to drink alcohol. Even at mess night, non-alcoholic grape juice was provided for those who did not drink. Most of us simply nursed one or two glasses for all the toasts. I'm therefore calling BS on the "ordered to drink" aspect of the Lietenant's story.
Now, don't think I'm discounting the majority of her story or even the basis of the lawsuit. Twenty-two years also showed me that being an attractive woman in an 90% male organization is not an easy row to hoe. I spent far too much of my time wrapped up in sexual harrassment, rapes, fraternization, and people who simply had a hard time working with women.
I have to ask the Lieutenant, however, what actions she took when she discovered that she had been raped? Did she immediately report the crime to her CO or XO? Did she involve NIS and go to the hospital to have a rape kit recover evidence?
If the Major engaged in intercourse while she was unconscious he is legally guilty of rape and should have been subjected to a general court martial. If, however, she did what is oh so common, was emotionally torn, worried about her career, didn't want to see a formerly well-behaved comrade go down in flames (worse if he was married), and never made an official charge of rape, then why raise the issue now?
I fully understand the dilemma that women in this situation face, but I have never seen a guilty rapist walk when the proper steps were taken by the woman after the rape. Unfortunately I also saw several assaults and a few likely rapes that never resulted in charges because of hesitation and delays in reporting the crime for exactly what it was.
The Marine Corps can't be blamed if an official cahrge was never filed.
As I said, I'm not rejecting the Lieutenant's version of events nor the merits of the lawsuit. My greatest wish, however, is that young Marines would realize that all loyalty and allegiance ends the minute the other Marine touches you against your will.
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