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Even though the man confessed to having sex with her, Ms. Cioca said in the lawsuit she was told if she pressed forward with reporting the sex as a rape, she would be court-martialed for lying. She said the man pleaded guilty only to hitting her and his punishment was a minor loss of pay and being forced to stay on the base for 30 days. She said she was discharged from the military for a “history of inappropriate relationships.”

“You think of a Coast Guardsman, you think of somebody in the military holding themselves at a certain level,” Ms. Cioca said. “When somebody walks up to you and shakes your hand and says, ‘Thank you for your service,’ little do they know they’re shaking the hand of a man who rapes and beats women in the military. “

She said she continues to suffer from numbness in her jaw and has nightmares.

“My body hurts every day. My face hurts. I get the most horrible headaches. My body has been trespassed. The honor that I had was stripped from me. I’m no longer proud of myself. People tell me thank you for your service, but my service wasn’t what it was supposed to be,” Ms. Cioca said.

Anuradha Bhagwati, 35, executive director of the Service Women’s Action Network, said the Defense Department’s own statistics show that fewer than one in five of these cases are even referred for court martial. She said unit commanders are the judge and the jury in these types of cases. Too often, she said, perpetrators are given non-judicial punishments.

“A lawsuit like this is needed because change cannot happen on the inside. DoD has had literally decades, perhaps more, to change the culture within the military. They’ve proven that they can’t, and even the minor changes they’ve made the last few years are so superficial,” Ms. Bhagwati said.