Professor of Journalism, Columbia University
Helen Benedict is a novelist and journalist specializing in social injustice and war. Her most recent writings have focused on women soldiers, military sexual assault, and Iraqi refugees, and she is credited with breaking the story about the epidemic of sexual assault of military women serving in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Her articles and books on this subject – the novel “Sand Queen” (2011, Soho Press) and the non-fiction book, "The Lonely Soldier: The Private War of Women Serving in Iraq," (2009 and 2010, Beacon Press) -- won her the Ida B. Wells Award for Bravery in Journalism in 2013, when she was also named one of the “21 Leaders for the 21st Century” by Women’s eNews. In 2015, she was a finalist for the U.K. Liberty Human Rights Arts Award for her play, “The Lonely Soldier.” In 2010, her work also won the Exceptional Merit In Media Award from the National Women's Political Caucus, and the Ken Book Award from the National Alliance on Mental Illness.
Benedict's non-fiction book, “The Lonely Soldier,” inspired a class action suit against the Pentagon on behalf of women and men who were sexually assaulted in the military and also inspired the 2012 Oscar-nominated documentary about sexual assault in the military, “The Invisible War.” Her earlier book, “Virgin or Vamp: How the Press Covers Sex Crimes” is widely taught in journalism and law schools and has helped to change the way several newspapers cover sexual assault, while her book, “Recovery: How to Survive Sexual Assault” is used by rape crisis centers around the country. She has testified twice to Congress as an expert on sexual assault in the military.