She self-published a book about being gang-raped and used personal journals she's kept since the 1985 event: "The 'M' Word: My Story of Being Gang Raped in the Military." The "M" word refers to military sexual trauma. She wrote the book as an homage to other women and men raped in the military, some of whose lives ended violently.
As a teenager, Kurtz was proud to enlist, even dreaming of becoming an officer, but seven months into her service, several soldiers raped her at age 19 on the U.S. Army base in Kaiserslautern, Germany, she said.
Her assailants drugged her, and the rape left her pregnant. She had an abortion.
For 11 months, she demanded her chain of command file charges, but she suffered reprisals, she alleged.
"Every week I went up there, they said they're still investigating and I was getting a lot of retaliation at the time, and demoted," she said.
When asked for a comment Thursday, the Army said it couldn't immediately respond to Kurtz's alleged rape because research involves seeking records from nearly 30 years ago.
But Army spokesman Lt. Col. S. Justin Platt added Friday: "Army leaders are committed to -- and accountable for -- eliminating sexual harassment/assault incidents by creating a climate where soldiers feel safe from this threat and a climate stigma free pertaining to reporting."
In 2006, the government found the military's Criminal Investigation Division records regarding Kurtz's 1985 case, and those documents allowed her to receive 100 percent disabled veteran benefits for the post-traumatic stress disorder she suffers from the assault, she said.
To this day, she said, she cannot trust people. She has been through more jobs than she can count, she said. She and her daughter's father, whom she met in the Army, parted ways when the daughter was 2 years old. She hasn't been able to date anyone since and now attends support programs with other women who have been raped in the military, she said.
"People say we're demeaning our country and our service. That's not it," Kurtz said. "We love our country and our service."
But, she said, "possibly being raped" shouldn't be part of the job description.