Men Tell Their Stories of Rape in the Service

In September, The New York Times published my project about men who have been sexually assaulted while serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.

When the NYT expressed interest in publishing this work, I knew the end product would be dignified and elegant. The staff did not let me down.

Beth Flynn is one of the best photo editors with whom I have ever entrusted my work and I could not have worked with a more sensitive and dedicated reporter as Dave Philipps.

Many others at the NYT had a hand in polishing this story and giving it beautiful display. Thank you Adriana Ramic, Rumsey Taylor, Jonathan Wolfe and Pat Lyons for your hard work.

A very special thank you goes out to Jim Estrin, who has been supportive of this long-term project since it’s inception six years ago.

It is so gratifying, in this day and age, that a media outlet is still willing to publish work about such a difficult and sensitive issue such as rape. I applaud the courage and fortitude of this fine newspaper!

I received generous support from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the Getty Images Grant for Editorial Photography and the W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund Fellowship in order to document this underreported human rights issue.

Even with all this support, this project would not have been possible without the courageous veterans who opened up to me and trusted me with their stories.

I will be forever grateful to you all.

To those veterans who are still living in the shadows of life and struggling to make sense of the trauma inflicted on them.

Please know that you are not alone.


Posted on Sunday, December 8th, 2019 under Blog, News. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

3 responses to “Men Tell Their Stories of Rape in the Service”

  1. Langdon Owen says:

    My son MST and PTSD after six years in USAF. Eight years later he is at the end of his rope–talks of homicide/suicide.

  2. Bill Brunson says:

    Absolutely one of the most disturbing and advocacy-provoking pieces I have ever read, Mary.
    I talk with men a lot about this kind of speaking out, since both genders seem to be under different kinds of pressures not to speak of abuse. Men and women are both trained to ‘suck it up’ in different ways, and are shamed when we do not – but that is changing.
    THANK YOU for this incredibly moving photojournalism piece –

    PS: I experienced what I would call (compared to the men in your report) a ‘mild’ sexual attack while a college music student in Mississippi in the 1970’s. I left the college and enrolled elsewhere, but never spoke of the incident or even thought of speaking of it, for years. Perhaps if I had reported my professor, he might have been exposed so that other of his male voice students would not have been victims later. He is still alive and in his late 80’s now – retired and working as a “harmless” old church organist in a small Mississippi town now. I have written a short story about him (not mentioning his name, but those who know me will know who I am writing about) and will be publishing it this year. This will satisfy the sense of justice that I have toward a now declining old man…

    Thank you again for your work – I knew nothing of you until today. Keep up the fine, caring work that you do, Mary.

    William C. (Bill) Brunson

  3. The Thinker says:

    Female rape was ignored by society. Now male rape needs to be acknowledged and prosecuted and society, or call it civilization, will take a leap forward.

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