Olivia Gatwood was sitting in an airport one day watching CNN. There were multiple stories aired that day discussing female soldiers and the sexual abuse they suffer when part of the military.
After seeing those stories on CNN, Gatwood decided to write a poem about sexual abuse, how it is covered up and the suffering that women go through due to this crime. She said the following about her poem:
“After thinking it through, I realized what struck me the hardest was how formulaic the process was; how all of the women had almost identical stories. It was so obvious to me that this was a systematic erasure, such an obvious cover-up.
“In America, we talk so much about supporting the troops, but the reality is, women are being raped in extremely high numbers and then being discharged for ’emotional problems.’ I knew I wanted to showcase this, so the best angle was from the perspective of the actual U.S. armed forces. What better way to expose how this system works than to articulate the rules they’ve already created?”
One of the most shocking statistics about sexual assault in the military is that just 2.5 percent of cases end with charges against the accused suspect.