The military, rape, and suicide

We have to come to grips with why the rates are so obscenely high. – Dr. Matthew Miller, an epidemiologist and suicide expert.

Katie Lynn Cesena suicide at age 24The suicide rate of female veterans is six times higher than the general population.

“The 2011 death of 24-year-old Katie Lynn Cesena is one of a dozen cases The Times identified in Los Angeles and San Diego counties. Cesena’s death highlights two likely factors in the rates.

“First, she had reported being raped by a fellow service member. The Pentagon has estimated that 10% of women in the military have been raped while serving and another 13% subject to unwanted sexual contact, a deep-rooted problem that has gained attention in recent years as more victims come forward.

“The distress forced Cesena out of the Navy, said her mother, Laurie Reaves.

“She said her daughter was being treated for post-traumatic stress disorder and depression at the VA Medical Center in San Diego and lived in fear of her purported rapist — who was never prosecuted — and his friends.

“Cesena had started writing a memoir and shared the beginning on Facebook. “I would like to dedicate this book to the United States Navy and all the men and women who have bravely served our country with humility and have been raped and were brave enough to tell someone, whether anything came of it or not,” she wrote.

“The second factor was Cesena’s use of a gun, a method typically preferred by men…”

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