The U.S. Department of Defense is investigating hundreds of Marines who used social media to solicit and share hundreds — possibly thousands — of naked photographs of women service members and veterans.
Since Jan. 30, more than two dozen women – many on active duty, including officers and enlisted service members – have been identified by their rank, full name and military duty station in photographs posted and linked to from a private Facebook page.
In one instance, a woman corporal in uniform was followed at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina by a fellow Marine, who surreptitiously photographed her as she picked up her gear. Those photographs were posted online in the Facebook group “Marines United,” which has nearly 30,000 followers, drawing dozens of obscene comments.
One member of the Facebook group suggested the service member sneaking the photos should “take her out back and pound her out.” Others suggested more than vaginal sex:
“And butthole. And throat. And ears. Both of them. Video it though… for science.”
Senior officials with Headquarters Marine Corps have verified that incident as well as the distribution of photographs of other active duty and veteran women through the page and links out to a Google Drive.
The photo sharing began less than a month after the first Marine infantry unit was assigned women on Jan. 5. It underscores ongoing problems of sexual harassment within the military ranks and could hurt recruitment of women. Officials within the Defense Department confirmed it also puts service members at risk for blackmail and jeopardizes national security.
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