Morgan Robinson, a National Guard soldier, killed herself after she was raped by a group of fellow American soldiers while she was deployed overseas. Morgan’s mother Debbie Robinson told CBS News that she believes her daughter killed herself because of the mental trauma from the experience.
“To think that that’s what took her life — that’s what broke her. They wanted her body. And they took her soul,” Robinson said.
She had a terrible experience in the military which involved constant abuse from her fellow soldiers and the authority figures on base. While she was deployed in Kuwait, she was sexually assaulted multiple times by one of her supervisors. She reported the abuse, but nobody did anything to address the allegations.
Shortly after, Robinson was then sent to Afghanistan, where multiple soldiers ganged up on her raped her. Her previous experience with reporting sexual assault in the military discouraged her from reporting what took place in Afghanistan, and she committed suicide just four months later.
The Army began an investigation into Morgan’s death and gave the family a report, but most of it was redacted.
The parts of the document that were still visible said, “Sergeant Robinson suffered sexual, physical, and psychological trauma while deployed. The sequel of this trauma was a factor in her death.”
Debbie Robinson was horrified by the report.
“I just didn’t understand how they could actually stand there and look me in the eyes, and hand that to me,” she said.
Debbie believes that the military is responsible for her daughter’s death because they failed to take her initial sexual assault allegation seriously.
“They can’t police their self. How can you investigate yourself? You can’t,” Debbie said.
“[It was] a job that she loved. It was for her country. Everything just plays over and over and over in [my] head, thinking, ‘Did I miss something? Could I have done something?’” she added.
The Army said in a statement that officers conducted a full investigation into the sexual assault report and took “appropriate” action against the supervisor, but did not say what that action was.
“The department remains committed to our goals of ending sexual assault in the military, providing the highest quality response to service members and holding offenders appropriately accountable,” the Army’s principal policy adviser Elizabeth Van Winkle said.
Earlier this year, the family of Vanessa Guillen, another soldier who died at the hands of abusers from her own military base, called on recruits to think twice about joining the military because it has been a hostile environment for many people, especially women. The death of Vanessa Guillen, who was just 20 years old, sparked a “Me Too” movement in the US military, with soldiers coming forward with their stories of sexual assault.
The Defense Department’s fiscal year 2019 report on sexual assault in the military said there were 7,825 incidents of sexual assault reported among soldiers, which is a 3% increase compared to 2018.
According to a 2011 report, at least 25% of women serving in the U.S. military have been sexually assaulted, and up to 80% have been sexually harassed. The report found that women in the US military were more likely to be raped by fellow soldiers than they were to be killed in combat.