The Marine Corps is under investigation after allegations that numerous Marines — both potential, current and former service members — shared compromising photos of female colleagues on social media.
One victim, Marisa Woytek, told The Washington Post that photos were taken from her Instagram page and posted to a Facebook group titled Marines United several times in the past six months without her consent. The group had nearly 30,000 members, most of which were active-duty U.S. Marines, Marine Corps veterans and British Royal Marines.
“Even if I could, I’m never re-enlisting,” she told the paper. “Being sexually harassed online ruined the Marine Corps for me, and the experience.”
Woytek says she was alerted of the photos by others on social media and were shown the horrifying comments that accompanied them. She told The Washington Post that several of the comments alluded to sexual assault and rape.
According to Reveal, one member of the social media group suggested that the member getting the photos should “take her out back and pound her out,” while another suggested other types of sex — “And butthole. And throat. And ears. Both of them. Video it though… for science.”
Many of Woytek’s female colleagues experienced similar situations but were reluctant so speak out in fear of retaliation. However, Woytek says that by bringing the incidents to light, she and other women “have a voice now.”
While the Marine Corps has yet to address the situation directly, the highest-ranking officer did denounce all types of harassment.
“For anyone to target one of our Marines, online or otherwise, in an inappropriate manner, is distasteful and shows an absence of respect,” Gen. Robert B. Neller said in a statement. “I expect Marines to give their all to be the best human beings, teammates, and Marines possible.”