Nightly News | February 15, 2011
>>> back now with an nbc news exclusive investigation and fair warning , this has to do with a disturbing topic. it's about what a group of women say is a danger inside the u.s. military , where they have elect elected and volunteered to serve. a danger they say the leadership is ignoring at their expense. the allegation is that a large number of women are victims of sexual assault and harassment while on active duty.
>> reporter: 25-year-old rebecca havrillo was an army sergeant in 2007 , serving as the only female member of a bomb squad in eastern afghanistan. even though she faced enemy fire from the taliban, her most harrowing experience was what happened in her last day in afghanistan when a fellow sergeant trapped her in his room.
>> at that point he pretty much said you're not leaving until i get what i want and pushed me down on the bed and used his body weight at that point to hold me down and proceeded to rape me.
>> reporter: her assailant took photos while he raped her and the pictures were later posted on a porn site .
>> you want to talk about feeling completely and utterly exposed.
>> reporter: today 14 current and former service members filed a lawsuit charging the fpentagon turned a blind eye .
>> often itthe cases are covered up.
>> reporter: in 2009 there were 3,200 sexual assaults in the military. fewer than one fourth are ever prosecuted. kay whitley runs the prevention assault and response office.
>> sexual assault has no place in our armed forces , that's why the department is committed to preventing the crime from ever occurring.
>> reporter: after a night of drinking in the barracks, sarah says a superior officer climbed into the bed where she was sleeping and forced himself on her.
>> i was panicked. i didn't say anything.
>> reporter: after reporting the incident she said she was still forced to work in the same office as her assailant.
>> i was told i needed to suck it up until the end of the investigation and continue to treat him with respect.
>> reporter: who told you to suck it up?
>> all of them.
>> reporter: how did they put it?
>> words were, marines don't cry.
>> reporter: the pentagon wouldn't comment on the lawsuit itself. but a spokesman says dod takes this issue very seriously and says this is now a command