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tv   This Is Life With Lisa Ling  CNN  November 28, 2021 8:00pm-9:00pm PST

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>> my kids are aware that theroux sage. and they are very proud. i think they are going to be even more dedicated than my generation is. >> there is that sense of community like there will used to be here. >> everything is coming full circle. it's time to be osage again. on april 22nd, 2020, a young army soldier went missing from her base in texas. months later, the tragic truth behind her disappearance came to light. >> human remains have been identified by army investigators as missing specialist vanessa guillen. >> her family claims she was the victim of sexual harassment before she died. >> how can this happen on a military base? how can this happen while she was on duty? >> we are many the worry about
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our troops when they go to war. they are supposed to be safe on their own home turf. and yet we continue to hear news of sexual assault and loss of life. in the last year, i have heard from veterans around the country asking me to tell their story. so tonight i am diving in. what do you have the say to the marine corps? >> i'm not giving up. and they are not going to get away with this. i signed up the fight. i did not sign up to rape. >> deck after after decade, sexual assault existed in the military and victims are left paying the price. >> people have come back and said "that's what you get". >> for them, enough is enough. >> this is a message to the generals and admirals. it's time to reform. ♪ ♪
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when i was a kid, my favorite movie was "top gub". this is this hollywood story of camaraderie and courage. >> best fighter pilot in the navy, sir. >> it had hot guys, fighter jets, and the best makeout scene i had ever seen. i was totally obsessed. and i wasn't the only one. in fact, this movie inspired a major recruitment boom for the u.s. military. >> i feel the need. the need for speed! >> offscreen, behind this slick portrayal of fearless fighter pilots, a scandals was brewing. >> more than two dozen women say they were sexually assault by hundreds of so-called top gun filts. >> it is the latest chapter in
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what's become known as the tailhook scandal. >> i was in high school when the tailhook sexual assault scandal hit. i remember it vividly because up until that point the military had always been to me this bastion of rigidity and order and control. and tailhook was anything but. >> this is not the raucous party. this was a case where we had sexual assault on women. >> in september, 1991, thousands of natural and marine corps officers gathered at a las vegas hotel to attend the annual tailhook convention, a three-day event known for its panels and parties. soon after, word of debachry made its way to top naval brass. >> undersecretary dan howard says the navy has identified some individuals who molested women at the convention. he promises they eventually will be punished by their base
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commanders. >> but months later, the investigation had gone nowhere. tired of waiting for justice, one woman went public with her story. >> i was assaulted by, you know, men that were aviators just like me. >> on saturday night of the convention, 30-year-old navy lieutenant paula coughlin, an aide to a navy admiral stepped off the hotel elevator and onto the third floor where a gauntlet of drunk officers were lined up groping and assaulting women as they passed lieu. >> i got attacked by a bunch of men that tried to pull my clothes off. and they wouldn't let me out of the hallway. i bit somebody. he had his hands down by blouse n my bra. and they were trying to pull my underwear off from between my legs. >> did anybody ever come back and say they were sorry? >> no. no. people have come back and said, that's what you get. >> in the wake of paula's media
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blitz, the secretary of the navy resigned, and the pentagon took over the investigation, revealing a failing of senior leadership and widespread abuse. >> investigators cite at least 90 victims of indecent assault or exposure during the conv convention, a general atmosphere of debachry with paid and public sex. >> promises of zero tolerance were made. out of the 140 officers who were investigated, no one was criminally prosecuted. several admirals were forced into early retirement, but most officers were issued small, punitive fines. >> we have heard zero tolerance over and over from secretaries of defense and chiefs of staffs, and the generals, and admirals. but if we look at the data, women are getting sexually assaulted today at the same rate they were in 2006. >> colonel don christensen is the president of protect our defenders, the nation's leading organization dedicated to ending
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sexual assault in the military. but before becoming an advocate, he joined the air force. the same year as the tailhook scandal. he has an insider perspective on why the issue is so pervasive. is there a particular profile of someone who is assaulted in the military? >> sexual assault impacts literally everyone, special our junior enlisted. but as a percentage, it's much higher for women. predominantly it is women between the ages of 18 and 24. >> is sexual assault more per says vasive in the military than it is in the civilian world? >> i believe it is. the estimates are over 20,000 men and women are sexually assaulted every year that are in active duty. part of it is a male-dominated society. you see a lot of sexual assault originate in this excessive drinking environment. part of it is the military's inability to hold senior leaders criminally accountable for their
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crimes. tailhook is a perfect example of where command is actually part of the problem. the highest ranking admiral in the navy had attended. he had gone to some of the party rooms. the secretary of navy was there. so at the very highest level, they knew their aviators were out of control. >> colonel christensen has always had a strong sense of justice. and it propelled him into a role that was very different from generations of military men before him. knew i wanted to be a lawyer. and the air force gave me a great opportunity to do that. >> as a young lawyer, the colonel had to start somewhere. early on, he worked as defense counsel, representing service members accused in sexual assault cases. were you winning a lot of your cases at the time? >> yes. and you know, that's not unique to me. the defense dominates in sexual assault cases in the military. by the time someone is investigated, by the time a decision has been made to charge
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somebody, the odds are most of the people you defend are guilty. and there were people that i defended that were acquitted that were probably guilty. >> how did that go over with you? >> it wears on you. you win the cases, but at the end of the day you have caused someone who is probably telling the truth to be viewed as a liar. >> it is a pattern of injustice that over time has permeated all branches of the military. >> more than a dozen female recruits claim they were raped or sexually harassed by sprr superior officers. >> almost 20% of female cadets at the u.s. air force academy say they have been sexually assaulted. >> 31 women who said they were victims of sexual misconduct. >> hundreds of sexually explicit photos of tee mail service members posted via a private facebook group page called marines united. >> we usually only hear about
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military sexual assaults after a large scandal breaks. but those big cases are the exception. many incidents go unreported. >> family and friends concerned about their loved one who has been missing for more than a week. >> on april 22nd, 2020, 20-year-old private first class vanessa guillen reported to her army post in fort hood texas and was never seen again. >> tonight officials are asking for the public's help in finding a missing soldier. >> reporter: months before her disappearance, vanessa told her mother she was being sexually harassed by a fellow officer but refused to report it to the army. her family went public with her story. >> she was supposed to be safe while working and protecting the country we live in. >> after months of investigation, the army zeroed in on a suspect in vanessa's disappearance. but tragically, it was too late. >> human remains scuffed last week have been identified by
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army investigators as missing specialities vanessa guillen. >> the specialist, aaron robinson was a suspect in her disappearance. robinson died by suicide when police approached him. >> news of this sparked outrage. as survivors of military sexual assault came forward in numbers, one family in new mexico began to fear what might be happening to their own daughter. >> i just couldn't imagine how her mom felt because that's like our daughter. that's us, too. >> announcer: "this is life" with lisa ling, brought to you by mega food. for what matters.
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the american southwest. it has a special connection to military heroes. during world war ii, the marines enlisted navajo men from this area to transmit hundreds of coded messages in their native language across enemy lines. known as the navajo code talkers, they helped lead america to victory and one of them was private james largo, great grandfather to 21-year-old celeste. the marines have been part of your family history. has it been a source of pride
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for you? >> yes, my grand grandpa was a navajo code talker. my grandpa, he was an aviation jet mechanic. my dad was this the marine corps. the marines are the toughest branch and i wanted to be the best. >> celeste returned home to new mexico where she grew up on reservation with her twin thor and her parents. >> get muddy, get dirty, oh, well, we will watch the clothes. they would have so much fun. >> celeste was such a happy, happy little girl. always a doer, always a leader. >> in high school i was into my studies. i took six a.p. classes my senior year. i was in the navy rotc at school. >> after graduation she followed had her father's footsteps and joined the military. she became the first woman in hadar family to become a marine. >> i was actually pretty happy
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because she wanted to represent that warrior spirit that we all -- native americans have. >> what was it like when you first got to boot camp? >> it was very challenging. you will be hiking with your 50-pound pack up these hills, and it feels like you are crying because your sweat is going into your eyes. but i was so motivated. when i first got my eagle globe and anchor, i cried. i wanted to become a drill ekt instructor. i wanted to make a career out of the marines. >> in 2019, celeste arrived in booford, south carolina, ranked as private. how often are you talking to her while she's there in. >> she would call me about five times out of the week, at least. >> that's how i am with my mom, too but she sounded happy? >> sounded happy, yes. >> i wonder what it was like as a woman to be living day to day in a culture where everyone is built to be warriors?
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>> at first i liked it but then something about it wasn't right. during the weekends all marines do is party. that's the culture. and that's what i did. >> it was a party culture that celeste had little experience with. and in her first two months she was cited twice for underaged drinking. >> i never drank sol alcohol in my life until i went into the marine corps. >> was there a lot of dating? >> yes, but the males go crazy on bays. like it's annoying because that's all they think about. and i just was kind of always disgusted. >> as an out gay woman, celeste wasn't interested in dating men. but that didn't stop some from pursuing her. >> a couple months after i first got into the marines my superior officer started acting weird. he would always talk about sex, show me mucaad pictures on aye his phone try to hold my hand. he knew i was gay but he still wanted the sleep with me. >> because this officer was of a higher rank, did you feel
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intimidated about saying anything about the things that he was telling you and showing you? >> if i didn't give him that attention back, he would have made my life hell. >> celeste feared that the superior officer might cross the line. from harassment to something worse. but she didn't anticipate what would happen with a fellow marine who she considered a friend. one weekend in 2020, celeste and a friend took a sight seeing trip off base. >> he had this girl he wanted to see. they met on tinneder. after we ate we were going to go to some club, but we decided to get a hotel. it was a two-bed room. the girl fell asleep and it was just me and my friend. and we were just talking. and we had a few drinks. i struggle with sleep a lot. and i took sleeping medicine.
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and it hit me really hard. all i remember is just falling asleep. >> that morning, celeste had a horrible feeling and asked her friend if anything had happened. he brushed her off. but his story soon changed. >> three days later, on snap chat, he messaged me, do you know what happened that night? and i told him, i don't remember anything. what happened? he's like, well, did you know we had sex that night? and after he told me that, i just completely broke down. and i got really sick. why would you have sex with me? like, i did not give consent. >> when celeste returned to base, she reported her sexual assault to an army chap lane.
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she filed a restricted report that allowed her to confidentially disclose the details of her assault. >> after the report, you get provided medical services. and i was seeing counselling. but the counsellors -- they don't really deal with sexual assaults like really good. you have got to work. it's just a waste of time. i first started noticing something was off in mid march. celeste seemed very frustrated. it semd like night and day. she went from this really really happy active very determined young lady to just very withdrawn, depressed. >> for several months, celeste says she kept this secret from her parents and tried to cope with the trauma of her assault on her own, turning to alcohol to numb the pain. in june, she asked the military to admit her to in-patient rehab. but her request was
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celeste decided to unrestrict the report of her attack. >> i wrote a letter to my command. it detailed everything, what happened that night, how i was feeling, how depressed i was. and that's when he called me in and we talked about it. he tried to be positive, but then in another letter i mentioned something about my superior, that he was also doing misconduct. and he wasn't on my side anymore. >> there is an immense amount of rur to report to the chain of command, to your boss, to say, i was sexually assaulted. but once that report is made and investigated, that investigation is turned over to the commander to make a decision whether or not the case is prosecuted. >> how qualified are commanders to be able to deal with things like sexual assault? >> the military has clung to this idea that commanders, even
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though they are not lawyers, they are the ones qualified to make prosecution decisions. but they are not. >> and what are the fundamental p flaws with this kind of system? >> the starting point is the commander's knowledge of the accused. if they think highly of them, that's going the impact how the case is processed. >> as a lawyer, colonel christensen witnessed this kind of bias firsthand. and after years of representing the accused he felt he had to make a change. >> i could not stands up in court again and call a woman a liar that i believed was telling the truth. >> from that point on, the colonel primarily worked as a prosecutor and a judge. and in 2010 was named chief prosecutor of the air force. but, to his frustration, he rarely found himself representing sexual assault victims. few cases ever reached his desk. it is a pattern of inaction that continues today n. 2020, the u.s. armed forces investigated
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5,640 allegations of sexual assault. of those, only 4% went to trial. and in the end, there were only 156 convictions. why are conviction rates so low? >> poor investigations, the wrong people making decisions. one of the most common things we hear is oh, this is a he said-she said case. it immediately discounts the allegation, makes it sound like it is unprosecutable. there is definitely a culture of disbelief, where very little credit is given to the victim. >> i felt like i was going crazy because no one was listening. >> all of a sudden, it was, i don't like it here. and that was a big shock to me. i said, what's going on? she goes, well, my knee hurts. i said, celeste, please, why do you want to get out? i know it's not your knee, please tell me. and she got really quiet for a second. and that's when she told me
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that -- that she was raped. that's when everything made sense. >> tell me about when you heard this from your daughter. >> broken hearted. numb. not knowing what to do, where to turn. >> when you went into boot camp what was the party line about sexual assault? >> we were taught to report it and that it's not tolerated. >> so you believed that if sexual assault were to happen that they would deal with it swiftly? >> i thought they would, but they -- they didn't. i got the awesome new iphone 13 pro and airpods, and t- mobile is paying for them both! and this is for new and existing customers. upgrade to the iphone 13 pro and airpods both on us. this week only, at t-mobile.
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after celeste reported her sexual assault, she quickly sensed that her fellow marines did not believe her, and she began to spiral. for the first time in her life, she checked into a mental hospital on base. the doctor diagnosed her with ptsd and described eight different medications. >> i started going to a darker hole with depression and started thinking suicidal thoughts. one night, i decided to overdose on pills.
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>> celeste only has vague wrecks of what happened later that night, after an onduty officer entered her barracks to check on her. >> he looked like my sexual assaulter. he walked up to me. i freaked out and i guess i grabbed his neck. i started yelling, i am being sexually assaulted. they told me to calm down but i didn't calm down. >> the next morning celeste woke up in the psychiatric hospital. she says no one talked about what happened the night before. a month later, she attempted suicide again. this time, the marine corps locked her up in a military jail own as the brig. celeste was charged with violating military code on the night she o.d.'d and assaulted three officers. did you even know why you were being sent to the brig? >> i didn't really know why because in my mind i had a ptsd
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episode. >> upon arrival, celeste tells me she was kept in solitary confinement for three days. >> that's when i knew it was intentional. >> what was intentional? >> the retaliation. after she reported they were intentionally trying to silence her. >> if you try to speak up in this military, you are going to be reprimanded one way or another. >> would you say that the military intentionally tries to discredit victims? >> i don't know if i would say intentionally, but i would say habitually. it is the social retaliation. it is professional retaliation. so while you are telling your story over and over to investigators, suddenly now you are a problem child because you are experiencing trauma and you are being sent to mental health to see if they can force you out that way. >> celeste kept copies of the letters she wrote to command and her medical records. i wanted to see for myself how the marine corps was handling her case.
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after multiple suicide attempts, after being diagnosed with ptsd, after being prescribed so many medications, after a psychotic episode, rather than getting her help, she was sent to jail. what i find in some of the pages makes it sem like either no one was paying attention or they were trying to down play the impact of her rape. the day after celeste's second suicide attempt, the hospital ended up saying that celeste was in no acute distress. despite there being record of her being diagnosed with ptsd and having multiple suicide attempts. inside the brig, another doctor claimed celeste showed no sign of recent trauma, then diagnosed her with borderline personality disorder. that to me just doesn't -- it doesn't sit well. these detailed letters she wrote to her command are very lelling. the marine corps is not safe for my mention and physical
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well-being. i have developed anger, rebe rebellion, anxiety and other problems from military sexual assault. that's depressing because as i go through all this stuff i am watching this young woman who had so much promise and ambition start to self-destruct. one month into lockup with no end in sight, celeste asked a friend to post her story to social media. since vanessa guillen's murder this has become an effective strategy to speak out. >> #, i am vanessa guillen took off like wildfire. >> vanessa opened the door that we have been banging at for years. >> it was -- for the first time, i think, for so many survivors the opportunity to raise their hand and say yeah, this is me too. >> once celeste's story gained
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attention, it wasn't long after the marines offered her a plea deal. >> the prosecutor was trying to charge me for assaults for the ptsd incident. and they wanted me to plead guilty. and i told them, i'm not guilty. that's when me and my lawyer, we worked out this plea deal with the prosecutor to get me discharged completely. >> in a letter to the u.s. marine corps, a military advocate cited a pattern of misconduct as reason for celeste's discharge noting her chain of command found her to be a below average marine who only did work when instructed. for this, they let celeste go with a less than honorable discharge. it is a stark contrast from a statement issued five months earlier where a direct supervisor called celeste's work exceptional, and if in case of a discharge recommended an honorable one. >> when we look at all the data, one in three people who report a sexual assault are forced out of
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the million terry within a year of reporting. >> they are discharged. >> discharged. 25% of those were forced out with less than a if ehonorable discharge. if you don't get an honorable discharge you lose benefits, gi bill, ability to get a va loan, you lose your ability to get medical care for injuries you received while on active duty. >> it could affect their the rest of their lives. >> the rest of their lives. >> at this point there is not much more she can do. the military has dropped the investigation into her aelged rape for lack of sufficient evidence. >> we are in a battle with celeste's offenders. >> and those trying to keep it quiet. fighting against them as well. >> i think it could have been very easy, celeste, for your spirit to have been broken. but is your spirit broken? >> it was. but now it's back together.
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all the odds were against me, but here i am today. >> the road to justice is long and difficult. most survivors never achieve it. but i'm about to meet a woman in florida who is fighting to upend the system. (man) still asleep. (woman vo) so, where to next? (vo) reflect on the past, celebrate the future. season's greetings from audi.
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i'm in the state of florida, about to meet a 40-year-old veteran of the u.s. air force. harmony suffers from post-traumatic dress disorder and relies on her service dog gunny for support. he's even trained to call 911 in case of emergency. >> gunny, touch phone. touch phone. good boy. but harmony's wounds don't come from combat. they stem from an incident that happened more than 20 years ago, during her first year in air force radiology school. on the night of august 25th, 2000, harmony went to a club on base to grab a quick bite and ran into an instructor. he appeared very drunk. unsure what to do, harmony deferred to an old adage she picked up on the air force. >> on the base they preach being
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a good wing man all the time. to be a good wing man means that you are looking out for your fellow airmen. you never let your airmen drink and drive. >> harmony gave her instructor a ride hope. after she helped him inside, he brully attacked and raped her. >> he slammed me up against the wall. he was like, this is what you want. and he told me that if i told anybody, he would kill me and that nobody would believe me anyways because he was my instructor and outranked me. >> how did you get out of there? >> i honestly don't remember driving home. >> initially, harmony didn't want to tell anyone what had happened. but her injuries were impossible to hide. at a civilian hospital, a rape kit was administered and she was questioned. at the time, harmony was too
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afraid to name her attacker, a man who was part of her chain of command. she wouldn't feel safe until a year and a half later, after she transferred to another base. >> i reported the rape and told them who did it. sergeant collins. >> harmony tells me she filed two separate reports naming sergeant collins. but instead of prosecuting -- >> they didn't do anything. >> it was common practice in the military. close ranked tds and discount the victim. harmony wanted collins punished but her reports went nowhere. she tried to soldier on but the next ten years were difficult ones. what was your condition like psychologically? >> i was having trouble personally dealing with things. i was having trouble with my leadership. i wasn't getting along with my staff. >> in 2011, harmony sought counselling. in one of her sessions, she told
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the story of her rape and once again identified her attacker by name. this time, instead of ignoring her, harmony was discharged. >> once i was discharged, i no longer was entitled to any type of legal defense. i didn't have the money either to hire a lawyer. >> but three years later, long after harmony had given up hope of collins ever being held accountable, she got an unexpected shot at justice. harmony had just moved to florida when she attempted to seek medical benefits from the local v.a. they claimed they had no paperwork documenting her sexual assault. >> i turned in the records, and they said, you just reported a rape. and i was like what do you mean i just reported a rape? i've been reporting a rape. >> so what happened then. >> they researched, and they
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said, hey, the guy is still on active duty. now we're going to prosecute. >> what's what harmony had wanted for so long. finally, the military was stepping up. but as soon as the lawyers got involved, they tried to shut down the case, saying there wasn't enough evidence. harmony wrote the base commander with a personal plea. >> i said, i need you to think of me as a mother, as a daughter, as a sister, and not just an airman. i need you to let me bring my case forward. and the base commander said yes, let her have her justice. and that was basically the first right thing the military had done. >> the trial lasted six days. what was the verdict? >> it was unanimous, and it was guilty. they walked him right out of
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that courtroom. and it was -- it was justice. the sentence was 16 1/2 years. >> but he didn't serve 16 years? >> no. >> what happened? >> the air force happened. i finally got justice, and the air force is taking it away from me. we have to be able to repair the enamel on a daily basis. with pronamel repair toothpaste, we can help actively repair enamel in its weakened state. it's innovative. my go to toothpaste is going to be pronamel repair.
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colonel christensen served in the air force for 23 years, but his military career would come to an ends in the fallout over one case. as chief prosecutor of the air force, the colonel was ordered to italy in 2012 to try a senior officer accused of sexually assaulting a physician's assistant. he convinced the jury of this man's guilt. but miles an hour months later. >> with the stroke of a pen, air force lieutenant colonel james wilkerson, an f-16 fighter pilot was freed from a navy brig after only about four months, his conviction tossed out. the man who freed him, his commanding officer, left hand general craig franklin. >> a shocking turn of events that sent congress into a tailspin. >> my heart is beating past right now, i am so upset about this. >> there was pressure from leadership that i support the process and support the general. and i refused to do that.
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>> it's a pretty bold move to go against this entrenched system. >> yes. after i chose not to defend the general, i knew my career was over. >> in the aftermath, the colonel retired while the military created a new loop hope in its justice system n. 2018, a military appeals court ruled sexual assaults occurring between 1986 and 2006 would be subject to a five-year statute of limitation. it was a ruling that released at least three convicted rapists from prison, including the man who raped harmony. >> because the rape happened in 20 2000, he won his appeal. >> here's where harmony's story and colonel christensen's story come together. harmony wanted to fight the appeal. she contacted protect our defenders and met its new
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president, retired colonel crispson who wanted her to do something drastic. >> he said you need the take your case to the supreme court. >> the united states supreme court. >> he said, it is not very likely. they only accept 87 case as year. but i said, i'm going to get it there. i'm going to take it to the supreme court. >> for harmony, it was yet another uphill climb. her case couldn't go anywhere without the military's permission. it took a year of persistent letter writing from harmony and pressure from congress, but the military finally gave in. >> when the solicitor general brings a case to the supreme court, the supreme court about half the time grants reviews. i felt confident going in. it was a clear injustice. my only concern was it was an injustice that only affected the military, and would the supreme court care? >> in december of 2020 they delivered their ruling. >> supreme court deciding in favor of aport st. lucie veteran
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and rape attack you are survivor who wanted her attacker back behind bars after an early release. >> that was important because the lower military court had been extremely hostile to victims and had gone out of their way to overturn verdicts convicting sex offenders. they needed to hear loudly that they were wrong. >> i was just jumping for joy. i called everybody. you know? i was like, we did it. we won! >> the supreme court win sent harmony's rapist back to prison. for her, it was a significant victory. but ultimately, it didn't change the law. and today, that's harmony's new mission. together with florida representative brian mast they have created a bipartisan bill called harm me's law that, if passed, would eliminate the statute of limitation for prosecuting military sexual
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assault. harmony wants to make sure no rapist walks free because of a technicality. it's a step in the right direction. but what is it really going to take to hold the military accountable? >> this is a message to the generals and admirals. it's time to reform. ♪ ♪ this is how we shine... at zales. the diamond store.
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sexual harassment will not be tolerated. >> sexual abuse is criminal conduct. >> the people will be held accountable. >> the air force goal for sexual assault is not simply to lower the number. the goal is zero. >> there is no room whatsoever in the army for saul harassment, sexual assault. >> year after year, promises of zero tolerance haven't solved the problem. but today in the wake of vanessa guillen and other tragedies the military is finally acknowledging it needs to do something different n. february, the new secretary of defense, general lloyd austin, called for an independent review the mil military's response the sexual assault. >> i take this issue of sexual assault very, very seniorsly. we have been working at this for a long time in earnest but we haven't gotten it right. >> four months later the he came forward with a list of
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recommendations, including taking prosecutorial power out of the commanders' hands. >> this kind of independent advocacy where someone is 100% focused on the victim and reporting outside of the commands structure is the best practice. it's what victims need, somebody 100% on their side. >> this could have been a major help to celeste and harmony, and i wanted to know what the military had to say about their cases. when we reached out for comment, we received a letter directly from secretary of defense general lloyd austin. he wrote that while he couldn't comment on specific cases he does take the commission's recommendations serious and vows to work with congress to reform the system. he continues to say this is not a short-term problem and will not be solved by short-term strategies. every commander, civilian leader, and member of the force must be a necessary part of the solution. we aren't afraid to change what we do, how we prosecute, and how
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we better prevent sexual assault crimes. this is a leadership issue, and we will lead. now, we wait, to see if actions follow words. the path to reform has maddeningly slow. but several months after we completed filming, celeste came one step closer to justice. there has been a big break in her sexual harassment claim against her superior officer. other survivors have come forward against him with their own allegations of abuse. for celeste, it's validation that she's not in this fight alone. and now, she can take steps toward healing. >> come on, celeste. hey, sub, how are you doing? >> as a combat veteran kenny knows first hand the restoring power of equine therapy. and for the first time, he's introducing it to his daughter. >> all of these horses here are similar to us. they have ptsd just like we do. i have been working with him for
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many months. so he's able to be pet like this. this is going to help you through your life, celeste. >> can i give him a hug? >> that's all he wants. it takes time, celeste, but it will get better. >> i don't think a rape victim every heals. you have just been given a life sentence. it never goes away. >> despite everything that's happened, harmony does have renewed hope. >> for the first time i can just keep looking forward and not backwards that victory came along with being able to breathe. >> celeste and harmony's allegations of sexual assault happened 20 years apart, but they faced the same disbelief, the same retaliation. it's not enough to say we have a problem. there needs to be accountability and justice, not just lip service. the brave men and women who fight to protect this country
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deserve it. >> announcer: the following is a cnn special report. >> china's visionary leader, dong xiaoping threw open his country's doors to the world with dramatic reforms and a piece of advice. hide your strength, and bide your time. the hiding and biding are over

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