COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (CBS4) – More than a dozen current and former cadets talked about being sexually assaulted and harassed at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs in a special investigation aired on “CBS This Morning.”
Emily Hazen and Melissa Hildremyr both said the AFA was their “dream school” — but say they abandoned their military careers after they were sexually assaulted by fellow cadets.
“I was sexually assaulted my freshmen year… and the sexual harassment I endured eventually made me leave,” Hazen told CBS News.
Hildremyr said she was sexually assaulted by two fellow cadets but she didn’t want to report it because they were all drinking underage.
When Hildremyr did file a report, she said officials accused her of lying and blamed her for the attack.
“They made me feel like it was my fault this had happened to me. Like, yes, I was drinking under age and I shouldn’t have been doing that,” Hildremyr said. “They were [too]. But it was my fault that I got sexually assaulted.”
Several cadets who reported being assaulted said they experienced retaliation by their peers and their commanders.
Two current cadets spoke to CBS News but chose to remain anonymous.
“I am at some house. I don’t know where I am. And he is raping me. And then he — I can’t — I can’t fight him off. I can’t do anything,” one cadet said. “And I was going to take it to my grave.”
“I was terrified of reporting. Because I’ve heard of things that happen to people. And it did happen to me. So it’s not horror stories,” she continued. “It’s victim blaming. It’s rumors. It’s your career on the line.”
Another cadet told CBS News she wished she had never reported being assaulted.
“I regret it every day. I regret it every day, because of everything that came after,” she said, crying. “I just wish that I had never came forward. Because I never asked to be assaulted.”
“It’s the most unfortunate thing. You go there, ’cause you want to protect your country. And they — they don’t protect you,” she said.
Read more from the cadets here.