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Female Soldiers Battle Sexual Violence

Posted on Apr 18, 2009
female soldier

Women at war all too often do battle on two different fronts, as author Helen Benedict says in her new book, “The Lonely Soldier: The Private War of Women Serving in Iraq.” There’s the fight they signed up for and the one that can make them targets of their fellow soldiers in the most isolating and devastating ways.


In Iraq, women still only make up one in 10 troops, and because they are not evenly distributed, they often serve in a platoon with few other women or none at all.

This isolation, along with the military’s traditional and deep-seated hostility towards women, can cause problems that many female soldiers find as hard to cope with as war itself— degradation and sexual persecution by their comrades, and loneliness instead of the camaraderie that every soldier depends on for comfort and survival.

Between 2006 and 2008, some 40 women who served in the Iraq War spoke to me of their experiences at war. Twenty-eight of them had been sexually harassed, assaulted or raped while serving.

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Mark E. Smith's avatar

By Mark E. Smith, April 23, 2009 at 5:00 pm Link to this comment

Vancemack writes: “Not ‘the truth’, Mark.”

If anything I wrote, even one single point, was not true, then you could have refuted it instead of making ad hominem attacks on me.

Vancemack: “YOU. YOU are boring and honestly…Im all out of tin foil for your little hats.”

Ad hominem.

Well, you’ve done your job. That’s all that can be expected of those who are just doing their jobs. Now go enjoy yourself. The Air Force mission for dominance in cyberspace only is effect during regular working hours, so nobody can triple-dip on weekends anyway.

Some readers may not care much for those who casually dismiss serious problems, refuse to hold anyone accountable for crimes, and rely on personal attacks because they have no logical arguments. If they check out any of the books I listed in a previous comment, they’ll learn a lot of things our government doesn’t want them to know. That’s the only reason I continued the discussion.

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By Leefeller, April 23, 2009 at 4:53 pm Link to this comment

This topic is about women in the military, it would seem women would have a better point of view then listening to males rant their sexist opinions on women rights? 28 out of 40 is not a positive number for abuse and harassment, it does not matter if it is women, minorities or munchkins, the numbers of abused need to go down or eliminated entirely.

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By vancemack, April 23, 2009 at 4:35 pm Link to this comment

Not ‘the truth’, Mark. YOU. YOU are boring and honestly…Im all out of tin foil for your little hats. You are on your own from now on buddy. Not to mention…the weekend is here and I plan on enjoying it…a nice long bike ride…do some yard work…working in the garden…hope the phone doesnt ring.

Have simply TOO MUCH fun yourself this weekend! Something tells me you are in DESPERATE need of it!

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By Mark E. Smith, April 23, 2009 at 3:29 pm Link to this comment

Of course. How much blood do you have to have before the government declares you an Indian or a Jew. One grandparent? Two?

Just because a non-citizen joins our military and fights for this country, doesn’t make them a citizen. They have to apply, be found eligible, and formally granted citizenship. Just because somebody enters this country, lives, works, and pays taxes here, doesn’t make them a citizen. They have to either be born here, or have entered the country on a legal visa and then applied to become a citizen.

You know of anyone who was ever granted a visa to live here by the indigenous peoples of Turtle Island? Is a Crown Grant to loot and plunder the same as a legal visa?

It’s all a hilarious joke to you, but perhaps not to survivors of torture, genocide, racial and sexual discrimination, and other U.S. policies. Well, f*** ‘em if they can’t take a joke, and joke ‘em if they can’t take a f***, right? Don’t worry, be happy. The truth is boring and must be dominated by lies at all costs. If you can’t argue against the truth, blast the truth-teller with ad hominem attacks. Maybe they’re not Aryan enough. Maybe they don’t have the right credentials. Maybe they’re crazy or can be smeared and discredited in some other time-honored way.

Nobody is denying that this is a racist, sexist culture, the only problem is that some are perfectly okay with that and will attack anyone who wants to even talk about trying to do something about it. It’s all being taken care of, right? Not any of our business? The top brass have it all under control and if it keeps getting worse, that’s a failure of the culture, not of leadership?

The United States government holds no clear title to a single inch of Turtle Island. It might have, had it not violated every treaty it ever signed. A government that even today continues to exempt itself from international laws and treaties, and even today continues torture and wars of aggression as formal government policy.

The problems of rape and sexism in the military are no different from the problems of fiscal irresponsibility and mismanagement in government. When there is no accountability, those in power do whatever they want with impunity and can even laugh about it, but not everyone thinks it’s funny.

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By vancemack, April 23, 2009 at 2:38 pm Link to this comment

You are freqin hillarious. He was granted an HONORARY association with a small tribe…same as any other politician that visits them…and they havent recognized their own honarary associations since the mid 90s. He has NO Indian blood. He parades around with long hair, colorful jackets clutching an eagle feather ALA Dumbo…and…and…

No…Elelphants dont fly…except in fairy tales…and fairy tales is the only way that Ward Churchill is an ‘Indian.’ Wanting it to be so because it supports your points doesnt MAKE it so. Who says so? Indians.

Oh…but hey…they HAVE traced his ancestry back to the 1700’s…and on a positive note…he IS a ‘native’ American.

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By Mark E. Smith, April 23, 2009 at 11:57 am Link to this comment

The United States is a sovereign nation. Who decides who is a U.S. citizen and who isn’t? Russia? China? Or the United States itself?

Native American tribes are sovereign nations. Who decides who is a tribal member and who isn’t? Russia? China? The United States? Or the tribes themselves?

I ran an ER in Afghanistan, I know a little bit about paternalism and how good it makes do-gooders feel. Not everyone on earth was put here for your entertainment or to feed your noradrenaline addiction.

Somehow the deaths of millions of Indians and the continuing murders of those seeking justice and redress for broken treaties, isn’t genocide or hate, just collateral damage and unsolved (possibly because still deliberately uninvestigated) crimes, but mentioning any of it is a “hate diatribe.”

One thing I learned on the street was that without regard to ethnicity, sex, age, religion, or any other factor, my brothers were those who had my back. And not a one of them was ever assigned or ordered to.

In a democracy, the supreme power is vested in the people, not in their leaders, their representatives, or their public servants. In a hierarchy, the supreme power is vested in those at the top. When a hierarchical chain-of-command as strict and powerful as that of our military, fails to ensure the safety of women, the only rational explanation is that it doesn’t want to. Probably because it is having too much fun.

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By vancemack, April 23, 2009 at 10:37 am Link to this comment

Ward Churchill is LESS an Indian than I am. He was granted an honorary membership in a tribe. Other than that he wears his hair long and acts like an Indian. Oh…but he has all the same hate diatribe down that you connect with, so, of COURSE he is an expert on Indian affairs.

Camping is being homeless with STYLE baby!

But go ahead. Pick at the words. No…better yet…just continue to stay a miserable little person kicking against the pricks. Its working WONDERS for you so far.

And me? Hell YES I live and have a LOT of fun doing it. And yes…I work hard working with people that are struggling. On top of the 40 hours I spend at my ‘real’ job, I spend 32 hours a week in the ER helping people. And Im pretty damn good at it…and I dont JUST say so myself.

Keep scourging yourself though. Its working GREAT.

Like I said…you BORE me.

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By Mark E. Smith, April 23, 2009 at 9:20 am Link to this comment

Actually, Ward Churchill is a very reliable source. After carefully studying every single one of the more than 40,000 footnotes in his published works, the university that was searching for a cause to fire him found only five that were questionable. Pretty hard to find anyone that prolific who is also that accurate. But even the questions were matters of interpretation, not actual errors of fact.

Vancemack writes, “Life is pretty freqin fantastic…even amidst all the evil, tyranny, and oppression.”

Yes, it is…..particularly for those who are perpetrating the evil, the tyranny, and the oppression. Perhaps not as much so for their victims, on whose stolen lands they camp and fish, but victims are easily written off as not being credible. Who should people listen to, the distraught and often incoherent victims of torture, or the calm and confident torturers with the authority of government behind them?

It must be hard out there for a mack, sincerely trying to help the casualties of government policies he helped perpetuate and still supports. How clueless is somebody who advises a person who was homeless for most of their life, to go camping?

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By vancemack, April 22, 2009 at 7:59 pm Link to this comment

Ward Churchill? Now THERES a reliable source on Indian affairs!

You win. America bad…creator of evil…inventor of oppression…originator of slavery and all things wicked…got it. Honest to God…people like you just BORE me to no end. Ive read your website. Listen…do yourself a favor…put on the tinfoil hat and hide under the bed. They will still find you and oppress you…but you might last a day or two longer.

Better yet…dude…go buy a jet ski…do a little camping…fishing…LIVE. Life is pretty freqin fantastic…even amidst all the evil, tyranny, and oppression.

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By Mark E. Smith, April 22, 2009 at 5:24 pm Link to this comment

Have you read any of Ward Churchill’s books, particularly, “A Little Matter of Genocide,” “Agents of Repression,” or “Perversions of Justice”?

What about Paul Farmer’s book, “Pathologies of Power”?

Winona LaDuke’s classic, “All Our Relations”?

On the question of women, the must read is Dale Spender’s, “Women of Ideas and What Men Have Done to Them,” but also Prof. Gerda Lerner’s “The Creation of Patriarchy,” and “The Creation of Feminist Consciousness.”

Stan Goff’s “Sex and War,” has a few things to say. And anything by the late Juan Santos

The United States still does not acknowledge the woman who discovered nuclear fission, Dr. Lise Meitner. Physicists say that she discovered only the mathematical basis for fission, as if there was some other, more important basis for discovery. The same experiments had been performed by many chemists and physicists, but none were able to interpret them. Without the mathematical formula there could have been no nuclear pile. The denazified war criminal who got the Nobel Prize for fission, Otto Hahn, admitted openly that he had never studied either math or physics. He was incapable of making the discovery for which he was credited. Meitner had doctorates in both math and physics and was one of only about a dozen members of Einstein’s inner circle who understood his theories at the time. But females weren’t allowed in the laboratories of the Kaiser Wilhelm Institute, so Hahn pretended to be the scientist and Meitner pretended to be his assistant, but only Meitner could design, oversee, and interpret the experiments that Hahn helped carry out. When people called him “The Father of the Bomb,” Einstein said that the bomb had no father, it had a mother, Lise Meitner. Yet when I was in grade school, at a time when we were doing “duck and cover” exercises, I was taught that there had never been any female geniuses. It was decades before I understood that I’d been lied to.

Meitner died while futilely seeking funding to seek safe ways to dispose of radioactive wastes. The money went to weapons instead. Policy makers assumed that somebody would figure it out sooner or later, but of course it still hasn’t been figured out. That may be because if there has been another genius of Meitner’s caliber born since, she probably never had a chance to go to school and died of AIDS in some third-world brothel.

A mind, or a planet, is a terrible thing to waste.

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By vancemack, April 22, 2009 at 4:36 pm Link to this comment

Perhaps. Perhaps I have. FROM those indiginous people that I work with at the walk-in center on a very REGULAR basis…people that arent afraid of history…not politically correct revisionist hystery. grin

I agree…women should be safe from assault not just in the military but in all walks of life. I hope we progress to that point.

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By Mark E. Smith, April 22, 2009 at 4:27 pm Link to this comment

Vancemack, you have been taught some untruths about indigenous peoples. But there’s no way I’d be able to open your mind, so I’m not going to try.

What I will say is that not everyone thinks that destruction of our only habitat is progress, technology, or development.

There is no clean air left on earth. None. Scientists have gone to the north and south poles, the tops of the highest mountains, the middles of the oceans and jungles, and the remotest, least populated areas, and could not find any air without toxic man-made pollutants.

There is no place left on earth where the trade winds haven’t deposited long-lived, microscopic, carcinogenic radioactive particles from above-ground nuclear tests and, more recently, depleted uranium weapons. Even if there was some way to gather up these particles and safely dispose of them, which there isn’t, we can’t afford to.

It is not evolution to destroy the only habitat you have, one which sustained us for millenia until patriarchy decided that the earth was not our Mother, but our slave, and that we could do with it as we wished.

Nowhere in your education did they teach the Old Cree Prophecy:

Only after the last tree has been cut down,
Only after the last fish has been caught,
Only after the last river has been poisoned,
Only then will you find money cannot be eaten.

Some of us seek out ancient wisdom, and some do not because they think they know it all. After all, they have pieces of paper that say so. The joke is that while they have always been able to trade those credentials for sustenance, once the empire and its currency collapse, they will find that credentials, like money, are also pieces of paper that cannot be eaten. And that those who know who was responsible for the collapse, may not be sympathetic.

The key to survival is altruism, not dominance. That is a picture so big that very few “civilized” people can grasp it.

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By vancemack, April 22, 2009 at 6:48 am Link to this comment

Hundreds of years ago the “Native Americans” (really…they prefer ‘indians’...or their tribal name…or aborigines or ‘first people’ in Canada) roamed the country long before the Europeans ever arrived fighting, conquering, enslaving. tribes would meet…spend a day in celebration…then fight. The bravest fighters on the losing side would (if still alive) be given the opportunity to join the winning side. If they refused they were killed in the most brutal ways. Their women and children were taken, treated as slaves…and worse.

Look to the south…the history of the Incans…the Mayans. Conquest was the societal norm. Eeeeevil Americans didnt invent it. They didnt invent slavery. Point of fact…as a society, this country has ‘evolved’ at a far faster rate than most.

As for the Indians today…what exactly do you THINK will be the consequence when you live on a ‘reservation?’ Creating the reservations was a TREMENDOUS mistake. You don’t have countries within countries…it is a ridiculous notion that doesn’t work.

Sorry…if you are looking for someone to hang their head in shame at atrocities committed hundreds of years ago you are looking to the wrong person. I am responsible for my actions and mine alone. I dont shame easily. I dont know…maybe I tend to look at the big picture as opposed to a tiny little piece and think I can understand the puzzle. Surely someone that has spent time in Afghanistan or anywhere in the middle east during the cold war understands big picture thinking.

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By Mark E. Smith, April 22, 2009 at 2:24 am Link to this comment

A few hundred years ago? The genocide against Native Americans is still going on today. And no, they weren’t imperialist expansionists. Native Americans did not invade Europe. Europeans invaded America.

If you want to see what an anti-fascist looks like, check out this FOX News clip:

Sgt. Matthis Chiroux was ordered to deploy to Iraq, he refused, saying that it was an illegal order and that he would not participate in a war crime, he demanded a military hearing, and he won.

So why are the wars continuing? Could it be that there are a lot of military personnel who don’t understand the Constitution they swore to uphold and defend, don’t happen to be anti-fascist, and are just good little fascists doing their job and following orders, legal or illegal?

Or maybe they’re only brave when they have superior numbers, superior weapons, and are picking on countries smaller and less powerful than ours. Maybe they’re so egocentric that they think everybody is as selfish and amoral as they are. Maybe they have credentials validating all the lies they were taught, and think that makes them smart.

The cover story for the genocide of Native Americans is that we didn’t intend to kill them, we just wanted all their land, they happened to be on their land, so killing them was unfortunate collateral damage in the process of taking all their land, which was all we intended to do. Of course it did begin more than 200 years ago, back when there were no airplanes or bombs and every single one of those millions of Native Americans had to be killed with a knife or a gun. Maybe you believe it is possible to kill millions of people accidentally, but I don’t. Particularly when the speculators who wanted to profit from that land, gave the orders to exterminate the Native Americans whose land it was.

This is NOT the United States of America. This is Turtle Island, and it will remain Turtle Island even if every single person with Native American blood is murdered. That’s because we never had any legal title to it and only obtained it by means of genocide and through fraudulent treaties that we broke. We did not “steal it fair and square,” we stole it by means of genocide and fraud. The military invasion and occupation of a territory that is not yours, with no provocation and for no other reason than greed, is a war crime, always has been and always will be. And even if you have occupied that country for a thousand years rather than just a few hundred, it is still not yours. There is no statute of limitations on war crimes. Empires rise and empires fall, and this one has gotten so big that it is going to be a very hard fall.

Interestingly, many empires have fallen because they became overextended militarily. If they have stand-downs in your area, go talk to some of the organizations helping homeless veterans and ask them why we can’t afford to provide the housing, medical care, and everything else veterans deserve for having fought for their country, at a time when our military budget is bigger than it has ever been.

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By vancemack, April 21, 2009 at 10:59 pm Link to this comment

Of course we have had extremists. Yes McVeigh was one and sure there are others. And where we find it we root it out. We dont glorify it.

Oh…the indian thing. Well…gosh…good thing expansion and conquest was ONLY practiced by the fledging US and not…oh…EVERY nation in history INCLUDING the indians. Oh…I guess they DIDNT engage in those practices.

good thing we HAVE evolved as a human race. ALL of us. Well…MOST of us.

I guess since attrocities happened a few hundred years ago we shouldnt combat extremists today. Shame.

Im all for backing completely out and letting them work it out. Im SURE it would be peaceful.


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By Mark E. Smith, April 21, 2009 at 8:34 pm Link to this comment

Vancemack, if you can find ANY definition of fascism which the United States does not fit, I’d be very interested in hearing it. I am referring to fascism, not Nazi-ism, which is only one form of fascism. Not all fascists adopt the swastika and goosestep, but all fascists meet all accepted definitions of fascism. Nor would quantifying atrocities detract from any definition, as a racist can be someone who had never killed anyone of another race as well as someone who has killed many people of other races.

The fact remains…there is without question a segment of OUR culture that will continue their actions to the death. They glorify in the slaughter and I mean most absolutely BRUTAL slaughter of any that don’t accept or bow down. This dates back to the genocide of Native Americans, who were slaughtered in the most brutal ways imaginable, often bounties being placed on them as if they were animals so that their killers had to remove body parts in order to collect the bounty, continues in our wars of aggression, and is even a lucrative part of a segment of our sports culture where fights to the death using any means have become more popular.

If you think we have no extremists, may I remind you of the Oklahoma City bombing by Timothy McVeigh.

The myth of American exceptionalism and superiority dies hard, but it is still a myth. We are no more moral than any other country and a lot less moral than many which adhere to international treaties, including the Nuremberg Principles, the Geneva Conventions, the Convention Against Torture, and the Magna Carta which guaranteed the right of Habeus Corpus. In this regard, part of the problem we are discussing may be due to the failure of the United States to ratify the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women. For that matter the United States and Somalia are the ONLY two countries in the United Nations that have not ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

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By vancemack, April 21, 2009 at 6:25 pm Link to this comment

I dont ascribe those evil and violent characteristics to all muslims. I stated specifically extremist. In point of fact I enjoyed the time and associations I have made in the middle east.

The fact remains…there IS without question a segment of their culture that will continue their actions to the death. They glorify in the slaughter and I mean most absolutely BRUTAL slaughter of any that dont accept or bow down. We have fought them…we will continue to fight them…because the alternative is to give in. And that simply doesnt sound like a whole lot of fun.

We dont fight war for fun.

And I disagree with the definition of the country and even the government (of which I am NO fan) as classically ‘fascist.’ But then…you can morph the word into any definition you like.

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By Mark E. Smith, April 21, 2009 at 5:37 pm Link to this comment

No, Vancemack, you won’t change my mind.

I’m old now and I’m fortunate enough to be in senior housing, but for most of my adult life I was homeless. I have never been above the poverty line, never owned a car, and never felt arrogant.

In the late ‘60s, early ‘70s, I lived in Afghanistan for almost five years. I’m quite familiar with Moslem cultures and I found them no more violent than our own.

If you think that being homeless in the United States is a comfort zone, you’ve never been homeless. It is more like a combat zone where you are in danger 24/7 and never get a break.

Do you know what fascism is? Did you ever actually read Smedley Butler‘s “War is a Racket”? Mussolini, who was himself a fascist dictator and had reason to know, defined fascism as the merger of business and government. General Smedley Butler explained clearly that is what we have in this country.

One of us may be privileged and arrogant at the expense of the other, but it doesn’t seem to have occurred to you that it might not be me.

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By vancemack, April 21, 2009 at 5:05 pm Link to this comment

I can show you the pictures from some of the attrocities committed by the Iraqi troops in Kuwait…slaughter of men women in children in ways that wont leave my mind…but I highly doubt it will change your mind about the fascist nature of our government. I dount the pics of bodies in Husseins warehouses will have much impact either, nor the mass graves, nor the village of Hallabja, nor the human shredders. I also doubt the real stories of global attrocities committed by fundamentalists…the rape, mutalation and saughter of children in front of their parents…whose only crime was to not only be NOT muslim but a specific sect of muslim…

but that wont change your mind. Thats OK though…

My military experience took me from having virtually zero education opportunites to two advanced degrees and three carreers. And I never once had to brutalize a woman or treat them inappropriately. Im proud of the job i did in my carreer and also of the great majority of men and women serving in the US military. They have provided this blessing and curse of affluence so that people in this country havent ever really known what it felt like to be threatened. Arrogance earned by another mans efforts.

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By Mark E. Smith, April 21, 2009 at 4:08 pm Link to this comment

With regard to the elections, you make some good points, Vancemack. Mine is that the president in 2000 and 2004 was sworn in BEFORE the popular vote count was even finished. That’s because our Constitution does not allow us to vote directly for President or Vice-President and the popular vote is merely symbolic. In a democracy, the popular vote would be the final say in the matter and no President could be sworn in before the votes were counted. I fully agree with you that there’s not a dime’s worth of difference between the two major parties, to which I would add that the only difference between them and the various third parties is that the third parties haven’t been corrupted by power yet.

But as for treating females equally, please bear in mind that the reason that males outnumber females in the military is due to historic discrimination against females. Let me give you an analogy. Suppose that males were allowed to participate in marathons, but females had their feet bound for centuries to ensure that they would only be able to walk with difficulty and would not be able to run at all. Then footbinding is abolished. A female with bound feet is taken to the starting line of a marathon. All the male runners are already halfway to the finish line. The female’s feet are unbound and she is told, “Now you are equal and you may also race. Go!”

In a fair race, if anyone jumps the starting gun, they are sent back to the starting line and the race is restarted so that everyone has an equal start. In a fair race, there are classes of runners and newbies don’t have to compete with those who have trained and previously won competitions. If somebody had a head start, the race is not equal. Males have an enormous head start in the military. Look at the percentages of female officers. It is NOT treating everyone equally to give some a big head start and then tell those who were not allowed to participate previously, that they are now equal and to put them at the starting line when those who were allowed to participate previously are already close to the finish line.

If the reason that some people were barred from participation was discrimination, then they will need protection, particularly if such discrimination is deeply ingrained in the culture.

We do live in a fascist country that is engaged in wars of aggression (crimes against humanity), but due to globalization and the outsourcing of jobs, many young ‘uns foolishly choose to enter the military thinking that it might be a way to gain an education and survive. That’s a gamble at best, but since the military actively recruits females, it should find ways to compensate for its historic discrimination against females.


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By Mark E. Smith, April 21, 2009 at 4:07 pm Link to this comment

Putting a lone female into a group that has already male-bonded, is a recipe for disaster. The military knows that and deliberately does it anyway. If the military considers females the enemy, then it shouldn’t be actively recruiting females. If it considers females to be persons, humans, and citizens, then it should not deliberately place them in harm’s way when doing so cannot benefit any conceivable military purpose. Placing a lone female in an otherwise all-male unit is not equal treatment, does not contribute to unit cohesion, and endangers the female. Until integration, best judged by the point where there are equal numbers of male and female commanding officers, is reached, the military has to compensate for past discrimination by ensuring the safety of females who do not have an integrated chain-of-command to rely on.

The military is fully aware of and utilizes the phenomenon of male-bonding, but it discourages female bonding under the theory that any female who befriends another female is a lesbian. That’s discriminatory in and of itself, since the military actively encourages male-bonding but actively discourages female-bonding. The placement of a lone female into an all-male unit is a deliberate decision by the top command to encourage male troops under their command to rape female troops. When a lone female is placed in an all-male unit and then raped, not only should the rapist be prosecuted, the highest level of command who signed off on that placement should be court-martialled and automatically found guilty of statutory rape. Any officer who doesn’t know better is too stupid to be an officer.

In reality, of course, to quote Gen. Smedley Butler, war is a racket. It isn’t unit cohesion or military efficiency that concerns the top brass, but keeping themselves on the gravy train. Until the recent bailouts, only the military had the ability to spend tax money with so little oversight that it could lose, mislay, and be totally unable to account for more than two TRILLION dollars in a single year. And this at a time when funds for medical care for wounded veterans was being cut.

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By Leefeller, April 21, 2009 at 1:41 pm Link to this comment

As the sexists discuss why women are raped, should be or should not be raped, we have an opinion letting it all hang out and then some. Stereotypes of the military mind an opinion, hopefully that is all for the bigoted approach to life is so much easier on the brain.

It should be known, brain washing does not only entail being in the military? Seems some in the Military would be smarter than proposed as all the same. What is natural humanity, compared to unnatural humanity?

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By Political Insurgent, April 21, 2009 at 1:26 pm Link to this comment

Women get raped by their fellow soldiers when they try to assimilate into the misogynist, demented, inhumane world of the military?

*shock and surprise*

Why would a woman want to bother? So she can prove she’s got what it takes and all that bull puckey? The military was designed to mold a certain type of mind. A mind that has no stop-signs; that can see beauty and culture in everything ugly, disgusting and horrific; that is capable of overriding natural humanity instilled in the soul.

A woman who subjects herself to that type of brainwashing will either suffer at the hands of her indoctrinated companions, who have been taught to view her the same way they are taught to view an enemy—as sub-human…OR she will successfully become one of them. And being one of them is worse than anything in the world.

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By vancemack, April 21, 2009 at 1:01 pm Link to this comment

I read your essay…and keep in mind this is from a lbertarian perspective…not conservative or liberal…

But any time people go on about vote fraud it isnt hard to distinguish their bias. Since there never was a recount in the state of Florida…only specifically and politically straegically targeted recounts designed to bring about a specific response no one really knows the actual voter counts in Florida. Since the left didnt demand every soldiers absentee ballot be counted, their verbal rheotric is simple political bias and has no basis in fact. And how often do you hear people on the left talk about the democrat voter fraud in several states and proven ballot stuffing in universities or the tendency of the democrats to use buses to pick up the homeless, take them for hot meals, buy them cigarettes and alcohol, and then cast their vote for them…or…

you get my point obviously. Integrity demands that you drop bias or you come across as just another partisan whack job.

And for the record…my candidate didnt pull a single state…so…no tears…no fears…and does anyone thing Gore or Kerry would have been a dimes difference than Bush? If so…Ive got a war in Bosnia…and now Afghanistan…I can sell you…

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By vancemack, April 21, 2009 at 12:49 pm Link to this comment

Mark…as I said from the very beginning…I UNDERSTAND your position regarding sending the lone female soldier to a unit. I DO think thins is a little…“careful what you ask for”...because once you break down those walls…you have to treat all soldiers equally which means making allowances for female troop numbers will be seen as sexist.

Working within what we know we have…there are ways to bring about change.

There is another phenomenon that no one on active duty would dare talk about and that is the “Queen of the desert” syndrome. basically what that means and I have seen it first hand…I spent 4 years in the middle east at 13 different locations…is that some of the women in the service KNOW their numbers game…and know they are one the few if not the only game in town…and they flaunt it.

Now…everyone retract claws…Im not suggesting this is all or even the majority but it is a LOT of women and while they dont deserve assault they certainly dont do themselves or others any favors.

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By Mark E. Smith, April 21, 2009 at 12:06 pm Link to this comment

There aren’t too many things I can do to change the world, Vancemack, but if I was in charge of our military policy, one of the first things I’d do is ensure that no lone female was ever assigned to an all-male unit.

I would not assign females to any unit in a combat zone until there were enough females to constitute at least a third of the unit.

That way, females would not appear to be unusual, out of place, or undefended.

There’s a little essay I wrote some time back that you might find amusing:

Consensual Political Intercourse

I would never encourage people to take unnecessary risks, and I would certainly hope that a sane military would never force them to. Our military has, on occasion, been known to send troops on suicide missions, and such poorly thought out orders did result in some officer fraggings in Viet Nam. Strategically, in an adversarial situation, unless a move has a chance of resulting in more casualties to the enemy than to your own side, it is not a wise move.

While I support the freedom of individuals to make bad choices, I do not hold them blame-free when they do. However when their choices are made for them and they are deprived of free will in the matter, it is those making the decisions who are responsible and who should be held accountable.

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By Leefeller, April 21, 2009 at 11:53 am Link to this comment

Don’t ask, Don’t tell should be banned from the military for then the Gays could promote their gayness and the women their womanliness and the non selected males can cry in their beer,  worrying about the gays having the hots over their hairy asses in the showers, it would take much of the pressure off the women.  One only has to look at history and the relationships between some of the Spartans or all of them as far as one knows, gives pause to what the real problem is.

Rape has been said not to be a sexual crime instead a controlling crime of humility towards the victim.  Seems the same mental solipsistic attitude a criminal attitude of disrespect for others and in this case the female.

Drunkenness is not an excuse for committing crimes nor promiscuity or forced fraternizing of fantasy fulfillment,  must disrupt the basic intent of the solders job.

Women need to bugger the male with creativity and force humility on the male, this is the only way to have real equality.  Reality of as it stands, speaks otherwise.

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By vancemack, April 21, 2009 at 11:33 am Link to this comment

“It’s hard to get a grasp on the prevalence of sexual assault in the U.S. military. The Veterans Administration consistently cites a 2000 study that found 23 percent of women reported sexual assault while in the military. But a less-publicized VA study from 2003 updated that figure to 28 percent.

Experts think the figure could be higher, especially given that the VA’s numbers were gathered before women began playing a heightened role in U.S. military efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The 2000 VA study also reports that 55 percent of women experienced sexual harassment in the military. And a 2005 study estimates that more than half of women in the reserves and National Guard suffered sexual assault or harassment during their service, according to news reports.

The military says it has taken steps to address the issue.

Two years ago, the Department of Defense introduced “restricted reporting,” which allows the victim of a sexual assault to bypass chain of command and make a confidential report.

This is taken straight from NPR…

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By vancemack, April 21, 2009 at 11:31 am Link to this comment

“Department of Defense conducted a large study of sexual victimization among active duty populations and found rates of sexual harassment to be 78% among women and 38% among men over a one-year period. Rates of attempted or completed sexual assault were 6% for women and 1% for men. Rates of military sexual trauma among veteran users of VA healthcare appear to be even higher than in general military populations. In one study, 23% of female users of VA healthcare reported experiencing at least one sexual assault while in the military.”

Taken directly from the VA-nothing altered…

Id really like to see which ‘study’ they have taken their facts from because they GROSSLY misrepresent what the VA is actually saying.

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By vancemack, April 21, 2009 at 11:25 am Link to this comment

Of course in a war zone you work on unit cohesion first and foremost. That DOES NOT mean you condone sexual assault.

Women are going to be placed in frontline units. that isnt going to change. As soon as you create new rules for women you will be labelled sexist. Thats a reality.

I would TRULY love to see the research cited by the article you mentioned. I read NUMEROUS articles and they all cite the same figures verbatim…but NOWHERE does anyone actually list the report. i DID do some digging on the VA website. I think those numbers are simply wrong…or at least being misrepresented.

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By vancemack, April 21, 2009 at 11:21 am Link to this comment

I go back to my original satement regarding staistics…and the figures being quoted are just another example. 90/70/30? BS. Likely those numbers are 90 percent at some point report exposure to sexual harassment. that can be anything from blatant sexual harassment to being in the earshot of a dirty joke. OF THE REMAINING 10%, 70% report some form of sexual assault and 30% report rape.

NOWHERE have I seen the actual VA report…however the VA DOES INDEED cite “about 15 percent of female veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan who use VA health care experienced sexual assault or harassment during their military service. The rate among men was much lower—less than 1 percent.”

Thats a FAR cry from the numbers posted in the article WITHOUT citation, and that is MUCH more inline with the criminal numbers we have.

AGAIN…I DO NOT DOWNPLAY the importance of even ONE…

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By Mark E. Smith, April 21, 2009 at 11:16 am Link to this comment

Vancemack, you write, “I accept we have a problem and that we are working to make changes.”

Okay, let’s be honest here. Imagine that you are a commanding officer, a female under your command has been assigned to an all-male unit, and you get a request from that female for a transfer. Upon questioning, the female says that the reason for the request is due to sexual harassment and fear of rape.

What do you do, leave the woman in place and give the men in that unit an EEO training course, or approve the transfer immediately to ensure that the woman isn’t endangered and THEN schedule an EEO class?

I know what I’d do if I was aware of the problem and was trying to do something about it.

The military has always had to deal with problems arising from civilian culture. One example was the difficulty in getting combat troops to actually shoot at the enemy. This was recognized, studied, and various methods were devised to overcome it. It wasn’t 100% eradicated, but great improvements were achieved. If the military can overcome a reluctance to kill, it can probably overcome an eagerness to rape, no matter how deeply it is instilled in the culture or in human nature.

The military is still opposing gays on grounds of unit cohesion. Because there is a theoretical possibility that a gay male in the military might rape a straight male, no openly gay people are allowed in the military. What does it do for unit cohesion when male troops rape female troops? There is much more than a theoretical possibility that male troops may rape female troops, so why aren’t males banned from the military on grounds of unit cohesion?

Could it be that the military doesn’t really care about unit cohesion and cares only about perpetuating patriarchal traditions of male supremacy and stereotypical gender roles?

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By vancemack, April 21, 2009 at 10:50 am Link to this comment

Oh…and one last note…

since you have such VAST experience working ‘aboard’ a military base…I guess I will have to cede that since it was that way where you ‘worked’ it is that way everywhere. never mind the fact that what you said is just downright freakin idiotic beyond words…

But I suppose guys dont do the same thing in locker rooms…golf courses…board rooms…

oh…and I suppose WOMEN arent subjected to those same stresses from other women.

But…I digress…

In 20 years with the air force and serving with soldiers, sailors, and marines (and with other countries military personnel) did I HEAR sexual comments occasionaly? Sure…hell yes. Did I even make a few myself? Of course. Did it go both ways? Heck…most of the women I worked with had sailor mouths that would make ME blush. Did I ever feel forced or coerced to make a comment? No. Was it the ‘norm?’ No. Did it happen all the time? No. Is it a ‘way of life?’ No.

Have I downplayed the importance? No…as I have said from the beginning…even ONE is too many. But is this a MILITARY problem? No…this is a universal problem. Do I think the militarty does a better job of dealing with it? yes.

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By vancemack, April 21, 2009 at 10:41 am Link to this comment

And btw…Im not ‘just’ a lifer…I also work in the field as a civilian.

Are you ignorant or just plain selective with your ‘hearing’? At no time have I attempted to downplay the problem. I accept we have a problem and that we are working to make changes. I also work at civilian hospitals dealing with the victims of sexual assault. It is not a ‘military’ problem…it is a society/cultural problem.

Does ‘harassment’ exist? Oh come on…hell yes. Is it a problem in the military? You BET. Is it also a problem in your job at Burger King? Hell yes.

Do you think maybe the video culture has an impact on sexualizing young men or influencing their decisions or opinions about women? How about popular music? Hell…how about good ol civilian pornography? How about marketing and advertising? How are those ‘girls gone wild’ videos doing? WOmen arent ever objectified or brutalized and made the subject of titallating TV programs are they? Or part of the story lines in movies?

Rape is a crime. It is a problem. We have it in the military and it exists in the civilian community. It isnt ‘just’ a problem in the military. It IS being addressed.

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By Leefeller, April 21, 2009 at 10:35 am Link to this comment

Chesty Puller the great war hero, wanted to have beer machines in the barracks, it would have given the Marines another one over the Army like real butter in the Chow Hall.

He also wanted to have girls allowed in the barracks, well seems half of his ideas has materialized, but he was not suggesting Women Marines, but ladies of the night instead. Well, things just do not always work out as wanted.

Animal House was a real story.

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By vancemack, April 21, 2009 at 10:32 am Link to this comment

BTW..Im sure you are smart enough to do it, but generally…it isnt too hard to tell which side of bias ANY writer is coming from. All you have to do is look at their context. You can make statistics say ANYTHING you want.

Remember a few years back when “13 children a day were killed by handguns”? You know how they got that number? They added the 18-25 year old gang demographic and counted them as ‘children’ to give their number more punch. Ironic then that since President Clinton often cited that statistic that he then qualified as a ‘child’ molester.

Statistics dont lie…statisticians do. The numbers are what they are. Approximately 2000 soldiers in 8 years reported sexual assault/rapes.

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By vancemack, April 21, 2009 at 10:27 am Link to this comment

Mark…those statistics are so badly skewed they are ridiculous. Look up the actual numbers and look how they got to those numbers…not just slanted hack articles.

Sexual assault ANYWHERE is a problem. The army is working on it. Its not the ‘violent army culture.’

POint of fact…MOST of those assaults occur not in combat areas but in barracks. MOST involve alcohol and partying. MOST of those assaults could be eliminated if women were not told “you have the right to say no right up until the act of penetration and even after” because…great idea…but…not very realistic. MOST of those assaults would be eliminated with care and prevention. Ah…but thats not a PC message.

The military prosecution numbers retty much mirror civilian numbers. Why? Because too often the situation IS one which both parties bear responsibility. We do women a disservice by telling them “its not your fault…you were drunk…you couldnt give consent.” Becasue…come now…do you then give the guys the same excuses?

Look…there are problems in the Army and they are working to address them. Please dont think for a second there arent problems in every walk of life. the army isnt made up of perfect people or animals…it is made up of civilians that join. What…you dont think they bring some of that mentality with them?

there needs to be an OVERALL culture of change.

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By Mark E. Smith, April 21, 2009 at 9:08 am Link to this comment

Most people live their entire lives without ever seeing a rape at a frat party or bar, Vancemack. Unless you’re the rapist, you’re not likely to ever see a rape because rapes aren’t usually done in public where everyone can see them.

But the military is not supposed to be anything like a frat party or bar. The military is not organized for the primary purpose of recreation. The military has discipline, a chain of command, and almost total control over the lives of the troops.

Putting a lone sheep into a pen with a pack of wolves is NOT giving the sheep the same treatment as any wolf, it is knowingly endangering the sheep by feeding it to the wolves.

Did you bother to read the BBC article the above extract is linked to (at the “read more” link)? Here’s what it says:

“According to several studies of the US military funded by the Department of Veteran Affairs, 30% of military women are raped while serving, 71% are sexually assaulted, and 90% are sexually harassed.

The Department of Defense acknowledges the problem, estimating in its 2009 annual report on sexual assault (issued last month) that some 90% of military sexual assaults are never reported.”

Of course, due to your military career, you might be in a position to know for a fact that the military is not telling the truth and that the rape rates are much less than the military claims. Why it would exaggerate something that puts it in a bad light, I cannot imagine, but if you say they’re lying, you’d be in a position to know.

So far, your defense of the military boils down to either ignorance, stupidity, or deliberate lies.

Now it happens that this is the same military that actually has traditionally provided prostitutes for male troops, from the days of “camp followers” to the days of allowing red light districts to grow up around military bases and having officers either approve individual establishments within those red light districts or designate them off limits, although I’m not sure what the military criteria were for such designations.

This is the same military that was racially segregated and therefore knows exactly what happens when traditionally segregated units are suddenly integrated.

Because the military is publicly funded, it should not have rape rates comparable to anything in civilian life. Our government does not fund and command bars and frat parties. Our government does not assign women to bars or frat parties. Our government does not require anyone who goes to bars or frat parties to be trained, take an oath to uphold and defend the Constitution, or be subject to military discipline.

If our military is no different from civilian life, why don’t we just go to bars and frat parties and ask for volunteers to fight our wars?

I suspect that anyone who is wiling to lay down their life for their buddies, would be willing to tell lies for them also. Your loyalties were formed long before the military began integrating females into combat areas.

So is the military too stupid to know that putting a lone woman into an all-male unit endangers the woman, ignorant of the rape and sexual harassment it claims to be combating, or lying about and exaggerating the statistics?

Actually, I’ve worked aboard a military base and I know for a fact that sexual harassment of women was mandatory, not optional. Any time a female was in an area with males, if one male made a sexist remark, any other males present who did not laugh or make similar remarks, or who didn’t react at all to the presence of a woman, were immediately suspected of homosexuality, a designation that could cost them their security clearances and their careers.

But as a lifer, you know that, so your pretended naivete is nauseating.

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By Patrick, April 21, 2009 at 8:40 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

What do people expect?  There is a lack of understanding what the military is and unrealistic expectations on the the part of women who join.  All through history camps of prostitutes have sprung up or are recruited to service military personnel.  When you get a pack of males together and train them to kill other human beings you get a variety of traits that are not considered desirable by society.

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By vancemack, April 21, 2009 at 6:54 am Link to this comment

I am saying and I believe the numbers bear it out that a woman is FAR more likely to be sexually assaulted as a result of her attending a bar or frat party or simply as a victim of circumstance than they are being assigned as a single female soldier in a unit.

One of the blessings of the womens rights movements has been that women are not singled out or given different treatment. Thats also a curse. However I dont think just being a woman in a unit…even the lone woman…makes you a mark for sexual assault. i also think the articles bias (citing the military’s “deep seated hostility towards women”) is skewed…in 20 years of active duty and five years of follow on service I have not seen the ‘deep seated hostility’ directed towards anyone other than those that couldnt or wouldnt carry their weight. But that isnt typically what we are talking about. We are talking about women that become victims of rapists…no other word need be applied. The rapist in the army is a scumbag and no more or less prone to committing the act than the rapist in the civilian sector.

And as bad as it IS (and I dont at all downplay it) there is a much made ballyhoo and fuss about sexual assault in the military and the simple fact is that it is FAR less likely to occur in the military than on a college campus or on civilian streets.

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By Mark E. Smith, April 20, 2009 at 7:52 pm Link to this comment

Vancemark, women in the military do not CHOOSE what units they’re assigned to.

It isn’t at all like going to a frat party or a bar, which is a woman’s choice.

Now if you’re saying that women are equally risking rape by going to a frat party, a bar, or joining the military, there are many sorority women who go to frat parties with their sorority sisters and stay together so that they don’t get raped, there are many women who go to bars with their female friends and stay together so that they don’t get raped, but women who join the military can’t choose the units they are assigned to, so they can’t stay together to protect each other.

But if the military really cared about reducing the rape rate, it wouldn’t assign a lone female to an all-male platoon. In such a case it is the top command that is forcing a lone woman to go to that “bar” or “frat party” all by herself against her will. That can only be due to intent to harm women, or stupidity, so which is it?

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By vancemack, April 20, 2009 at 6:11 pm Link to this comment

While I see the merit of your argument the fact remains that 1-women have been battling for that status for female soldiers for years…not likely to change, and 2-in a professional unit women and male soldiers should be seen as us vs them. And in the VAST MAJORITY of units they are not. Do they struggle to fit in sometimes? Sure. But for the most part our soldiers are VERY professional and the facts bear it out.

There are LOTS of other considerations, but the fact remains. Minority women are attacked daily. Female college student minority AND majority are being attacked. Violence against women is seen in every forum. I am not happy it happens in the army, but i do recognize the work and steps we are taking.

I suspect your suggestion might get the same response if you told women at college campuses to stop going to frat parties or all women to stop hanging out at bars.

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By Jacks, April 20, 2009 at 4:36 pm Link to this comment

D. Pendelton:

Are you that foolish to believe legalizing prostitution will magically end misogynistic violence?  Please.  It’s not puritanical to be against the rape trade.  All you do when you legalize it is encourage the enslavement of women (and girls) as it is nothing more than the commercialization of rape and anti-female violence in general.  Read up on what happened in Vegas afterward: the illegal trade grew exponentially, dwarfing the legal sector, which is just legalized rape according to the women who “work” there (The Guardian wrote about this last year or so).  If this was any other industry, such “legal” work would be considered sweatshop labor, at best.  Again, that’s legalized prostitution.

Besides, rape (and other acts of anti-female violence) is not about a “sexual” release (Haven’t these men heard of masturbation?).  It’s about a strong desire to unleash their hatred of women and girls.  Sexuality is just the weapon of choice.

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By Mark E. Smith, April 20, 2009 at 3:31 pm Link to this comment

Vancemack, if the military is aware of sexual harassment and rape, and cares about it, I have a very simple suggestion that might be able to save them a lot of money.

Instead of putting a single female in a platoon of fifty or more males, and then spending a lot of time and money trying to educate the males not to rape the female, why doesn’t the military consider NOT putting a single female with a bunch of males?

Units should be not “integrated” with tokens who are then subject to the usual dangers. Units should only be integrated when there are enough available females that they would constitute more than a third of the unit and have at least a minimal chance of defending themselves.

I have yet to see our military deliberately send one person up against a vastly numerically superior enemy force, as that would be suicide, not intelligent military strategy. The decision to put females in harm’s way is deliberate on the part of the highest levels of command and is not done out of ignorance or negligance. If they were that stupid, we might as well not have a military, because we’d never have a chance of winning any military battles at all.

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By vancemack, April 20, 2009 at 2:34 pm Link to this comment

a few points…

One-The military isnt ignoring it, they are spending a tremendous amount of time and money re-educating new recruits…recruits that come in from…oh yeah…YOUR communities, and YOUR universities…with YOUR attitudes and tendencies towards rape and violence towards women.

Two-I doubt most people that read the article even bother to THINK before they make their own knee jerk biased responses.

Three-The rates of sexual harassment and sexual assault are MINIMAL when compared to the civilian world. One in three minority women is sexually assualted in the civilian world. One on four female college students is sexually assaulted in the civilian world.

There have been approx 2000 cases of reported sexual assault in the Army in 8 years. If we offer that the instances of unreported sexual assault in the Army are similar to those of the civilian world (factor of x5), there have likely been approximately 10000 sexual assaults in that 8 year period or an average of 1,250 per year. With a Dept of Army population of approx 300,000 women serving in active duty or civilian capacity (DOA numbers are approx 1.2 million military, civilian, and contractor personnel worldwide), the instances of sexual assault on women in the Army is 1 in 240. The instances of sexual assault in the USA of all women is 1 in 6.

Not downplaying it…just pointing out what is easily and obviously missed when people do this kneejerk response to start blaming a violent military culture.

And I reiterate…the Army is investing tremendous blocks of resources working with the top college and civilian organizations in the country to even further reduce those numbers…because even ONE is unacceptable.

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By feckless, April 20, 2009 at 9:58 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I worked on a survey of female members of the military after the first gulf war.

It is anecdotal, but sexual violence against women seemed epidemic.

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By Leefeller, April 20, 2009 at 8:33 am Link to this comment

Fraternization among troops should be banned, perceived or otherwise. Women and men working together in military situations, can be a problem, but no different than don’t ask don’t tell. Hypocritical actions are not only found in religions and politics.

One would suppose according to some religions, rape of women is a given right, for women are not equal to men. Women in military service is a threat to the manliness of the mans man.

When and if women become equal of men will this all change.

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By tres, April 20, 2009 at 12:22 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

these women have guns and trained for using them, why they didn’t use them?

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By D. Pendelton, April 19, 2009 at 7:16 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

A question.  At one time the French Foreign Legion had some fille de joie billeted with their forces.

They enjoyed a pension when their “work” was finished.

  It would seem that with aggression comes the need for a relief valve, legal only in Nevada.

  Are we still being held back by our Puritian ancestorial ways?

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By Mark E. Smith, April 19, 2009 at 11:24 am Link to this comment

I agree with Fadel, but I do not consider any patriarchal religion to be any better. Islamic and Orthodox Jewish women are sold into marriage, honor killings are common in Islamic countries, and nowhere do women have equal rights and opportunities, not even in the U.S. where it is supposedly the law.

Many male U.S. troops are born again Christians proving that they’re “real men,” and therefore they have no choice but to sexually harass and assault women—to treat women as equals would label them as gay or not “real men.”

The U.S. has historically used evangelicism as a basis for invading other countries for corporate profit. We have no business exploiting other countries, no less invading them.

Some troops imagine themseles on crusades, some want to stand up for America against imaginary terrorists, some want to lay down their lives for their brothers (often by raping their sisters), and some simply couldn’t find jobs and didn’t want to be hungry and homeless like so many millions in this richest country in the world.

Women are no more safe from rape in the U.S. than women are in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The choices are no better for females (bitch, ho, dyke, as reported in the “read more” BBC article at the link) in any U.S. high school or workplace than in the military.

Patriarchy subjugates and oppresses females, but it gives males no choice but to kill or be killed. Patriarchal “civilization” is much worse than the law of the jungle, because it has resulted in billions of unnecessary deaths.

The basis of all patriarchal religions is that we are not part of the earth, but its owners, and that males have the right to own land (our habitat which was meant to nourish and support all), animals (which have as much right to live as we have), and other people (slaves, chattel, wage slaves, sex slaves, etc.), rather than the responsibility to treat others as we would be treated.

If something or somebody is not you, it is other, and therefore it should be treated with the same respect that you would want—no exceptions.

By subjugating females, patriarchy pushed us into the same biological cycles as any ecologically non-viable species, with regular overpopulation and die-off cycles. By subjugating females, patriarchy denies us the ability to limit our reproductive rate in accordance with available resources and thus avoid overpopulation and wars the way that an ecologically viable species can.

It is a known fact that the more sexual equality a country has, the better the quality of life for everyone in that country, males, females, and children.

Infants are born with empathy for others, but it is soon trained out of them. They are taught who they are and that others are not like them and therefore should not be treated the same way. All religions have some form of the Golden Rule, but none practice it. The first thing they all teach children is whether they are male or female and that they should act and dress differently, and refer to others differently on the basis of sex. What should be taught is that we are all human, and that we must treat others the same way we would want to be treated, without regard to sex, nationality, religion, age, or any other historically suspect categorization.

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By Fadel Abdallah, April 19, 2009 at 9:09 am Link to this comment

The way I look at this is that people, whether males or females, who are basically brainwashed and trained to kill real or imagined enemies half way around the world and destroy their lives and infrastructure, will not be expected to hold to morality and civilized behavior when it comes to issues of sexuality and proper human conduct in sex relations.

The few images that the world saw coming from Abu Ghreib prison proved that women soldiers were also involved in pervert sexual behavior to humiliate their prisoners. So, while I sympathize with the plight of women soldiers, I believe that sexual impropriety in the army is part of the violent culture that is at the root of military training and brainwashing.

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By skulz fontaine, April 19, 2009 at 6:52 am Link to this comment

The U.S. military will have to change some of their recruiting slogans. ‘An Army of one… rapist!’ Or perhaps… ‘we rape more recruits by ten a.m. than most rapists can rape all day!’ ‘And then there’s ‘Army strong… on sexual assault!’ How about… ‘Join the Airforce… rape a cadet!’
Yeah, the U.S. military has got themselves a problem if not a p.r. nightmare.

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By Purple Girl, April 19, 2009 at 5:28 am Link to this comment

Why Gay Men do not Present a Danger to Unit cohesiveness- because their female cohorts don’t have to worry about being Raped.
Seems to me it’s the Heterosexual males are who should be far more scutanized during enlistment.
Although the majority of enlistee’s are motivated by a desire to serve their country, There are many who enlist purely for the Power it affords them. Much like cops who are caught shaking down gang members. fire Fighters who are found to be arsonists. There are other underlying reasons people choose these types of careers, other than altruism and Patriotism.
It is innately Discriminatory to question womens ability to ‘cope’ with combat. Or that Homosexuals will have adverse effects on the unit cohesiveness. yet never question a hetero males fittness for such duties, or his effect on the unit. Those males who have ‘God Complexes’ are not trustworthy to make crucial decisions, nor behave in the best interest of the group.
They not only seen themselves as righteous, but also the sole Defender of that Righteousness, thus they can do no wrong and will spend no time entertaining the possiblity.But This delusion has been proliferted from the top to begin with (‘Crusade’ Mr Bush?)
This is how 17 innocent civilians are gun down. How a Female soldier is locked in a cargo hold.Wide Spread War Crimes are Instituted . They never thought they were doing anything Wrong- so who would accuse them,regardless of the evidence.

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By betty, April 18, 2009 at 11:26 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Sexual violence is horrible whether on the battle field, in the United States or anywhere in the world. I am a woman that has been deployed overseas in the United States military.

By no means am I dismissing the horrendous act of rape. However, one of the biggest problems that a lot of feminists seem to ignore is when men and women consensually engage in sexual acts in a wartime arena. If you want to be taken seriously you need to focus on the job at hand. Women are not victims. As a military member I refuse to take pity from any group or organization. Don’t feel sorry for me because I’m a woman in the military serving overseas. It’s very insulting. There are plenty of rapes happening domestically. Or how about the fact that many Latin American countries have an astronomical rape problem.

By the way, the military is leaps and bounds better at equality than any organization that I participated in as a civilian. Being a female is what I am in my off time. At work I wear a uniform and do my job just like any other service member.

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By andre, April 18, 2009 at 7:19 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

why are so few people outraged about this issue(even on this site)?

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By AFriend, April 18, 2009 at 4:55 pm Link to this comment

This is a horrible problem we cannot afford to dismiss!

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