Mary F. Calvert Named 2017 Guggenheim Fellow

US Army Pfc. Natasha Schuette, 21, was sexually assaulted by her drill sergeant during basic training and subsequently suffered harassment  by other drill sergeants after reporting the assault at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. While Staff Sgt. Louis Corral is serving just four years in prison for assaulting her and four other female trainees, Natasha suffers daily from PTSD because of the attack. She is now stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. Photo by Mary F. Calvert

US Army Pfc. Natasha Schuette, 21, was sexually assaulted by her drill sergeant during basic training and subsequently suffered harassment by other drill sergeants after reporting the assault at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. While Staff Sgt. Louis Corral is serving just four years in prison for assaulting her and four other female trainees, Natasha suffers daily from PTSD because of the attack. She is now stationed at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
Photo by Mary F. Calvert

Mary F. Calvert has been named a 2017 Guggenheim Fellow for her longterm project, The Battle Within: Sexual Assault in America’s Military. The purpose of the fellowship is to provide Fellows with blocks of time to work with as much creative freedom as possible. Calvert has received a 12-month fellowship, which she will use to work on Prisoners of War: Male-on-male Sexual Assault in America’s Military, the current and fourth chapter of The Battle Within.

Prisoners of War tells the heartbreaking story of men who have been victims of sexual assault in the U.S. Military. Of the estimated 20,000 sexual assaults that took place in the military last year, 52% of them were men. 87% of men who are attacked never report the crime. Men who are assaulted face a different set of circumstances. While women may have support networks, and confide in therapists or friends, male victims often take between 20-40 years to even acknowledge the crime or speak about the assault with anyone.

“The silent suffering is devastating,” Calvert told Vantage. “You find men who’ve had broken marriages and substance-abuse problems and sometimes served jail terms.”

Guggenheim Fellowships are awarded to individuals who have already demonstrated exceptional capacity for productive scholarship or exceptional creative ability in the arts. The Foundation receives approximately 3,000 applications each year and awards roughly 175 Fellowships annually.

The Guggenheim Fellowship is an incredible and tremendously well deserved honor. We are pleased to hear of her continued success and glad to know that Calvert will have this support for her vital work.

Calvert received The Alexia 2014 Women’s Initiative Grant for Missing in Action: Homeless Women Veterans, the third chapter in The Battle Within. As we learned from her work, women veterans are the fastest growing segment of the homeless population in the United States and are four times more likely to become homeless than civilian women. For many women, the military was a way to escape a difficult situation, yet lack of advancement and high levels of harassment and sexual assault have driven them out.

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