Milwaukee Vets March On

Photo by Benjamin Slane

Mounds of scar tissue and vast expanses of ink cover Carly Johnston’s body — a constant reminder of an inner hell. For her, it is the unseen wounds which are the deepest. A scar on her chest represents a moment in her life she will never forget. Infrared burns are all remaining of her rapist — his name.

For Johnston, physical scarring is result of years of emotional and physical damage from beatings and rapes. It has been a long road to recovery for her, a road she is still on. Placing a razor or lighter to her skin would temporarily ease the pain inside of her.

The U.S. Department of Defense began record keeping on military sexual assaults in 2004 after a sex scandal erupted at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado involving numerous cadets. According to a 2012 Department of Defense report, more than 30 percent of women in the military have been sexually assaulted. Since 2004, reported sexual assaults increased 228 percent in 2012. In the report the Defense Department admits sexual assault is a gross underestimate.

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