Veterans of the Marine Corps — whose photos were disseminated without their consent — spoke out Wednesday on the nude photo scandal that has jolted the U.S. military. Meanwhile, U.S. lawmakers have called for an investigation into the Marine Corp’s culture in the wake of the shocking news.
In a letter to Armed Services Committee chairman Senators John McCain, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand asked that the committee hold a hearing on whether the recent dissemination of nude photos of current and former servicewomen was part of a larger “culture of disrespect for female service members.”
The news of Gillibrand’s request came on the heels of comments made by Erika Butner, a Marine veteran who said that her photo was one of those posted to a “Marines United” Facebook page without her consent.
“As a Marine Corps veteran, I am disheartened and disgusted with this scandal,” said Butner, 23, on Wednesday during a news conference with her lawyer, Gloria Allred. “Victim blaming and the excuse that some are giving that ‘boys will be boys’ needs to stop.”
Butner said she first heard of the group in August, when a friend of hers was posted to the page without her consent. In January, she notified the Naval Criminal Investigative Service and Google about a shared drive posted to the group that contained naked photos of more than two dozen service members. Comments posted to the group described the victims graphically — in some cases advocating that they be raped or sexually assaulted. Names, ranks, and duty stations of the victims were also shared.
The “Marines United” page has since been taken down, but active duty Marine Lance Cpl. Maris Woytek, who appeared with Butner on Wednesday, has warned that other shared drives are still active.
“These people aren’t stopping,” Woytek said. “They’re making it a point to be worse.” For more on the story and footage from Butner’s press conference, watch the video below.
Read the full story at NBC News.