Trigger Warning

Image Credit: UniteWomen.Org

In 2005, 19-year old army private LaVena Johnson was the first woman to die in Iraq. The army ruled her death a suicide. Only after her family insisted on seeing photographs taken at the scene of her death did they realize she was found in her tent with a gunshot wound to the head, a broken nose, black eye, loose teeth, acid burns on her genitals (there is speculation that this was done to cover up sexual assault), and a trail of blood leading away from her tent. The army ruled that her death was a SUICIDE. Her father, a doctor who has worked with military personnel for more than 20 years, believes his daughter was raped and murdered. A documentary, LaVena Johnson The Silent Truth,” describing the family’s attempts to uncover the truth, was released in 2010. There is a website with updates, LaVena Johnson, and a petition asking Senator Claire McCaskill to investigate her death. As Cilla McCain, founder of Military Families for Justice asks, would this case by taken seriously if LaVena Johnson were not a black woman? Her parents have established a scholarship fund in their daughter’s name. Donations can be made to The LaVena L. Johnson College Scholarship Fund, P.O. Box 117, Florissant, MO 63032 

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