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Last year, Pfc. Natasha Schuette reported her Fort Jackson, S.C., drill sergeant for sexually assaulting her during basic training. Now, she’s the subject of an Army training video aimed at fighting sexual harassment and assault within the service.
Schuette, 21, is stationed at Fort Bragg, N.C., while her drill sergeant, former Staff Sgt. Louis Corral, serves a four-year prison sentence for assaulting her and four other female trainees in the 193rd Infantry Brigade.
Sgt. Maj. David Stewart of the Center for Army Profession and Ethic approached Schuette this year about telling her story to a larger Army audience.
“He just randomly sent me an email one day and was like, ‘I really think your story’s powerful,’ ” Schuette told Army Times. “I want to know if you would make a case-study video.”
She sat down with a production crew and told her story on camera, which CAPE edited into a 15-minute presentation on identifying the red flags leading up to sexual assault, as well as the proper way to handle an allegation and subsequent investigation.
Schuette detailed the suggestive gestures and comments her drill sergeant made to her, including asking whether she thought any of the other females in her bay might be willing to have sex with him.
She also described the retaliation she suffered at the hands of the other drill sergeants in her company, and her company commander’s failure to follow up with her complaint.
The video made its way to Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno, who showed it to a room full of two- and three-star generals, as well as high-ranking noncomissioned officers, at the Army’s annual Sexual Harassment and Assault Prevention summit in June.
Lt. Col. Kathleen Turner, the chief of staff’s spokeswoman, confirmed that commanders have since shared the video with their staffs.
“Commanders saw the value in sharing this product with their personnel because of the compelling story involved,” Army G-1 spokesman Paul Prince added. “As for future use as part of the SHARP training program, it is premature to say at this time.”
Schuette said she has received about two dozen emails from leaders in the Army, Air Force and Navy. She said becoming a voice for sexual assault prevention has helped her turn a negative situation into a positive one.
“I keep stressing this: It wasn’t the Army’s fault,” she said. “And I just want to say, “Hey, Army. I know you’re trying and I know it got dorked up along the way, but I’m here to stand behind you and help modify your program and make it better. That way, more people do come forward.”
In addition to coming up with a system to give incentives for job performance to SHARP coordinators, Lt. Gen. Howard Bromberg, deputy chief of staff for personnel, suggested to Army Times that the G-1’s office might look into allowing junior enlisted soldiers to volunteer for the jobs.
Schuette said that’s something she’d be interested in.
“I would hope to be able to get to experience other victims’ stories and really feel around how we can change the program,” she said. “It takes a whole bunch of victims to be able to change the program, not just one.”