Trump Rebukes Attorney General, Play Explores Sexual Assault In Military, Travel Ban Update

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In a recent interview, President Trump criticized the ongoing Russia investigation and Attorney General Jeff Sessions for recusing himself from it. We discuss how his remarks could impact the White House. We also talk with a Wisconsin veteran who is turning her story of surviving a rape into a play that explores the issue of sexual assault in the military. The U.S. Supreme Court is allowing tighter restrictions on refugees entering the country, with certain exceptions. A guest shares what was included in the court’s decision and if it could change in the future.

Featured in this Show

  • Trump Criticizes Russia Investigation And Attorney General Jeff Sessions

    In an interview with the New York Times yesterday, President Trump expressed his frustration with the Russia probe and Attorney General Jeff Sessions. We talk to a political scientist about the President’s public break with one of his earliest supporters.

  • Wisconsin Veteran Turns Military Sexual Assault Into Theater Piece

    After surviving sexual assault herself, a Wisconsin veteran has turned her stories and those of other victims and survivors into a play.

  • Wisconsin Native Pens Play Focusing On Sexual Abuse In Military

    Ever since Rachel Carter was gifted a typewritten 12-page letter from her late grandfather telling stories of his time serving in World War II, she knew she wanted to follow in his footsteps.

    “For me it was a way to feel connected to him,” she said. “I found out a couple years ago, that he had never talked about the war to anyone else.”

    Carter, a Wisconsin native, fulfilled that goal, enrolling in the Army and finishing basic training. Then, something happened that changed her course.

    “I was sexually assaulted by another service member,” she said. “I didn’t report it right away because I didn’t think anybody would believe me. I just got done with basic training, I got trained in hand-to-hand combat.”

    Carter has since turned her story and those of other survivors into a play. She is the author of “Speaking Out: Why I Stand,” which incorporates first-person accounts of military sexual trauma.

    She tried to go on with her life, but finally decided to report the assault a few months after it happened. The way she was treated once she decided to report it had a huge, negative impact, she said.

    Carter said she was blamed for the assault, threatened with a lie detector test, and told she could be charged and kicked out of the military if the lie detector came back positive.

    According to the American Psychological Association lie detectors, or polygraph machines, are largely inaccurate.

    “They said if you drop the charges, it will just go away,” Carter said. “I thought, maybe I can move past this.”

    She dropped the accusation, then was written up for fraternization, she said. Still, she decided to keep following her dream. She was excited when she was given an assignment to South Korea.

    “Unfortunately, what they did was labeled me as having a personality disorder and also being bipolar,” she said. “They didn’t want to admit that I had been assaulted, they wanted to say it was all me.”

    She said things fell apart when the person who allegedly assaulted her was also stationed in South Korea. Her immediate supervisor was not supportive.

    “My sergeant right above me … would say that I should get over it, and that I was a poor soldier, and call me names and humiliate me,” she said. “It came to the point that I told my sergeant major that I just could not do it anymore.”

    Another supervisor understood, and she was honorably discharged from the military. But she said for years, she thought she was the only one this had ever happened to.

    Then she came across a documentary: “The Invisible War,” a documentary about the rape epidemic in the United States military.

    “It was a really big wakeup call for me, where I was relieved and angry and sad and all these emotions at the same time,” she said.

    The theater project came about once she was able to meet and talk to other survivors. Carter said she believes art is a great medium for social justice.

    She also wanted to raise awareness for other sexual assault victims. Last year, 14,900 service members across the U.S. military were assaulted, according to the U.S. Department of Defense. That statistic can be a shock, Carter said, because military culture speaks of tight-knit bonds and trust.

    “When you join the military, you’re taught from day one that the people around you are your family,” she said. “They’re wearing the uniform, you’re supposed to have their back, and they’re supposed to have your back. You don’t think that this sort of thing is gonna happen.”

    However, awareness campaigns like Carter’s appear to be working. In the 2016 fiscal year, 1 in 3 service members reported having been assaulted. Ten years ago, around the time Carter was assaulted, that number was 1 in 14.

    Carter can see a change. When she was assaulted, there were not many programs or resources for sexual assault survivors in the military. Now, there’s an entire office dedicated to addressing the issue.

    “There are a lot more supportive people,” she said. “And there is hope that progress can be made and things will change. It just takes time.”

    Carter’s play is scheduled to take the stage at the Women’s Museum of California Friday, July 21 to Sunday, July 23.

  • Supreme Court Exempts Grandparents From Travel Ban, Refugees Still Denied Access

    The Supreme Court on Wednesday supported a lower court’s ruling that relatives such as grandparents should be exempt from the travel ban. However, the highest court still allowed other provisions of the Trump Administration’s travel ban to remain, such as blocking refugees from the country for the time being. We speak with Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia of Penn State University about the news.

Episode Credits

  • Kate Archer Kent Host
  • Veronica Rueckert Host
  • Judith Siers-Poisson Host
  • Karl Christenson Producer
  • Judith Siers-Poisson Producer
  • J. Carlisle Larsen Producer
  • Barry Burden Guest
  • Rachel Carter Guest
  • Shoba Sivaprasad Wadhia Guest

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