The Marine Corps is looking into the details surrounding a viral video that shows a female Marine weeping after she allegedly found out a male Marine she claims admitted to perpetrating a sexual crime against her will remain in the Corps, despite his confession.
The TikTok video posted Thursday and amplified by the Twitter account Not In My Marine Corps, an organization dedicated to ending sexual assault and harassment in the military, shows the female Marine, devastated in her car, saying that the Marine Corps failed her.
“I’ve dedicated my life to the military and the Marine Corps and everything that I’ve done and that I was able to see my f*cking perpetrator in court and how much it f*cking sucked,” she said, tears streaming down her face.
The Marine claimed that her alleged perpetrator was set to get an honorable discharge, potentially allowing him to receive all his military benefits, despite allegedly admitting to the sexual assault.
“Not even f*cking 10 minutes ago I just got word that this motherf*cker will be getting retained because it went all the way up … the f*cking head honcho, the f*cking CG, with all of the proof and a f*cking admission to guilt, decided that they will retain him,” she said. “This is exactly why f*cking females in the military f*cking kill themselves, this is exactly why nobody f*cking takes us seriously.”
The Marine has declined to talk to Marine Corps Times about the video.
A Marine Corps spokesperson confirmed to Marine Corps Times that the Marine referenced in the video was not charged with raping her in this case. The crime he allegedly admitted to and was accused of was distributing intimate photos of her.
The Marine in the video also claims to have been sexually assaulted by a fellow Marine.
Marine Corps Times cannot confirm whether the rape accusation has any relation to the Marine who was accused of distributing personal information, or where the rape accusation is in the investigation process.
“This video specifically refers to an allegation of misconduct regarding the wrongful appropriation and distribution of personal information,” another Marine spokesperson, Capt. Angelica A. Sposato, with II MEF, said in a statement. “The current administrative separation process for the accused perpetrator mentioned in the video is ongoing.”
Men are especially likely to seek a separation after an assault, the Rand Corp. study found.
The video managed to reach the desk of Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, who said he was looking into the issue.
“I’m going to ask that her chain of command make sure that someone is looking out after her needs, and make sure we are taking care of her,” Austin told reporters on Friday. “I found the video deeply disturbing. And I’ve asked my staff for additional information. And I’ll leave it at that.”
Sposato added that the MEF has reached out to the Marine to ensure her voice is heard.
“The Marine in the video is safe and has been afforded the opportunity to meet with senior representatives in her command,” Sposato said. “The Marine Corps and the nation expect the highest standards of conduct from Marines and sailors. Those who do not uphold these standards will be held accountable in accordance with Marine Corps and Department of Defense policy.”
The spokeswoman said the Corps takes all allegations of “prohibited conduct and activities seriously,” and ensure Marine victims are “fully supported with appropriate resources specific to the nature of an incident.”
An aide for Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Calif., told Marine Corps Times the representative is already looking into the issue.
“The congresswoman is aware of the video and is concerned about the situation,” an aide for the representative said in an email. “We are in communication with the Marine Corps. The Marine Corps says that she is safe, and we are awaiting additional information.”
Speier, the chair of the House Armed Services Military personnel subcommittee, routinely has taken the military to task over its failure to combat sexual assault in its ranks and is the sponsor of the I Am Vanessa Guillén Act.
The bill is named after Fort Hood, Texas, soldier Spc. Vanessa Guillen who was allegedly killed by a fellow soldier who then died by suicide.
Shortly before her death, Guillén told her mother she was being sexually harassed.
The bill would make sexual harassment a crime punishable under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, allow those who were sexually assaulted or harassed to receive compensation from the Department of Defense, and would force independent investigations, outside the chain of command, for all sexual misconduct claims.
New York Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand is also looking into the issue, a spokesman for her office said.
“Senator Gillibrand’s office has sent inquiries to the Department of Defense and the United States Marine Corps inquiring about the Marine’s case and her safety,” Evan Lukaske told Marine Corps Times in an email.
Pentagon Bureau Chief Meghann Meyers and Deputy Editor Leo Shane contributed to this story.
This story was updated to reflect that the female Marine in this piece declined to speak to Marine Corps Times.