Sharp Rise in Sexual Assaults of US Female Soldiers by Male Soldiers - Page 2 - U2 Feedback

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Old 03-19-2007, 08:16 PM   #16
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The military by definition is a culture of force and violence. Add the presence of women as equals, threatening the status and hegemony of the men, and there you have it. Sexual harassment training isn't going to do shit to stop a rape.


And these are the men who are afraid of the big, bad homos? It seems that keeping straight men out of the armed forces might be a better idea.
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Old 03-19-2007, 08:20 PM   #17
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I cannot say. I have not been in combat for extended periods of time, away from my family for extended periods of time, on repeat trips into a combat zone for extended periods of time.

I can say that it has been my observation that STRESS in general brings out sides of people that are usually kept in check. My own addictive compulsiveness, for example, definitely gets worse and pieces of my personality, that I would love to convince myself are no longer there, come out.

Maybe, there are other stats, drinking durgs, depression, ect...ect...that are not being reported as well.

It does not excuse their behavior.....
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Old 03-20-2007, 01:14 AM   #18
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I don't doubt that the extraordinary pressures of a combat environment play a role here, and are in many cases a catalyst for male soldiers committing acts they probably wouldn't have otherwise. (And as Angela noted, in the big picture we're of course talking about a relatively small group of male soldiers here.) But that simply isn't an adequate response, as in this case these men's problems are having a direct and unacceptable effect on the safety and well-being of fellow soldiers, not to mention unit cohesion and morale.

This article, which was linked to in the salon piece cited by the Monitor, mentioned that the number of recruits admitted via waivers has increased 42% since the war in Iraq started, in an attempt to help meet recruiting goals. While I gather it's impossible to determine precisely what percentage of those recruits had criminal records including sex crimes, it's certainly a red flag with reference to this topic, I would think. Men with those kinds of records really shouldn't be in the military at all.

I can agree that "more sexual harassment training" probably (well, demonstrably) misses the mark as far as what exactly is going wrong here, but that huge spike in reported assaults even after the task force was commissioned makes it clear a better plan is needed. From the sound of it, perhaps one of the things they should prioritize is creating an environment in which female soldiers feel less reluctant to speak up when assaults occur for fear of reprisals, stigmatization, being branded as 'weak' and 'not able to cut it', etc. And of course, consistently treating assaulting a fellow soldier as the serious crime it is. While I can appreciate that it's perhaps a bit too easy to get careless with generalizations about 'the culture of the military' as a catchall explanation for the problem, on the other hand, to the extent that there may still be significant numbers of male soldiers who tend to regard female soldiers as unworthy and unwelcome interlopers, that too is unacceptable and only adds fuel to the fire.
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Old 03-20-2007, 01:19 AM   #19
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I agree with angie that a soldier is not something special but rather another person in society that decided to go shoot at things then rather sit at a desk, but what I find alarming is that this is in a place where trust is absolute tantamount!
How can a woman soldier go on a recon mission with some men if she is frightened they are going to gangbang her in the middle of the iraqi desert. I mean a soldier has to trust their fellow soldier with their LIFE, so I find that the fact there have been 2300 reported rapes in the last year or so to be absolutely disgusting in that sort of environment. I mean of course you're always going to get nutjopbs in the armed forces because you gotta be slighty off centre to be able to kill people (even if its in the name of your country) and obviously long periods without sex and stuff may cause some testosterone levels to rise or something, but maybe soldiers need to be injected with the hormone stuff they give sex offenders so for the length of their duty overseas they don't get horny?

i don't know - but obviously its a big problem because its not only a disgusting crime but is also detrimental to the working relationships between men and women soliders, which im sure has a detrimental affect to the way they go about their soldiering business (perhaps a rise in "accidental" iraqi civilian deaths to get out their fear and frustration?) either way every soldier rapist should be put on the next plane home, then via a dishonourable discharge court straight to gaol. Done.
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Old 03-20-2007, 08:06 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally posted by yolland
to the extent that there may still be significant numbers of male soldiers who tend to regard female soldiers as unworthy and unwelcome interlopers, that too is unacceptable and only adds fuel to the fire.
I've noticed that when women begin to rise in status in a particular culture, the men in that culture tend to feel more threatened and lash out, usually using sexuality as a weapon. I'm thinking especially of Pakistan. I remember when Benazir Bhutto became Prime Minister. During her tenure, porn, and the accompanying violence against women, became a serious problem there.
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Old 03-20-2007, 08:12 AM   #21
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Originally posted by yolland
While I can appreciate that it's perhaps a bit too easy to get careless with generalizations about 'the culture of the military' as a catchall explanation for the problem
I've always wondered, but I'm too lazy to do the research, if gang membership and violence increases when the US is off fighting a turf war. As a teacher, I'm charged with keeping my students out of gangs and stopping them from joining a group of people who use force and violence to get another group to submit to their superiority. Yet every time the kids turn on the TV or play a war video game, that's the acceptable method for their country to conduct itself.
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Old 03-20-2007, 08:45 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally posted by martha
The military by definition is a culture of force and violence. Add the presence of women as equals, threatening the status and hegemony of the men, and there you have it.
Yes, perhaps rape and harassment is a way of trying to make/keep the women unequal.

The way the problem will be resolved will be when each soldier is held accountable for his own actions. That IS the problem, they aren't-and the culture of the military promotes that and promotes blaming the women. The culture of the military already treats them as less than equal to start out with, and blames them for the actions of men. It is a sexist culture, no doubt about it. Everyone's blood is red out on the battlefield, but men are still deemed superior somehow. I don't get it. I know I wouldn't want anything to do with it.
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Old 03-20-2007, 08:59 AM   #23
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Yes, perhaps rape and harassment is a way of trying to make the women unequal.
It's a way of reasserting their perceived superiority.
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Old 03-20-2007, 09:56 PM   #24
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I think any woman or man that I served with would disagree with the direction this has taken. But maybe there is a difference between a reserve unit from MA and the rest of the service.

I was fortunate to serve with some tremendous women. Some have gone on to command their own units. I was proud to serve with them. The most physically fit woman in the command structure was a woman at the time I was in. The 1st SgT for my unit, I am proud to call Ma and she calls me and the other soldiers sons. (When she had a heart attack I got into the critical care unit to visit her by telling them I was her son).

We worked hard during Desert Storm and Sortie together. Man or women, the job we did at the time was all we cared about. That and a cold beverage at the end of a hard day.

I guess I have a different perspective.
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Old 03-20-2007, 11:24 PM   #25
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I guess I have a different perspective.
Yes, you do. It's that of a real man. One who isn't threatened by women.
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Old 03-21-2007, 10:41 AM   #26
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Quote:
Originally posted by Dreadsox
I think any woman or man that I served with would disagree with the direction this has taken. But maybe there is a difference between a reserve unit from MA and the rest of the service.

We worked hard during Desert Storm and Sortie together. Man or women, the job we did at the time was all we cared about. That and a cold beverage at the end of a hard day.
For what it's worth, I emailed my younger brother who served in Afghanistan (455th Air Expeditionary, which does include women) to see what his reactions to this story were. He didn't have time for much comment, but the gist of it was that he found the extent and severity of the incidents shocking, the more general climate of harassment somewhat less so, and that in his experience much of a given serviceperson's gender relations experiences in the military are strongly determined by the example set by their unit commander--does he consistently exemplify professionalism in all his dealings with others, and consistently communicate an expectation of the same from them, or does he too often give a nod and a wink to 'frat boy' behavior and the excessive hectoring and intimidation which can result from that (especially for women, in his opinion, who are less accustomed to that kind of dynamic to begin with, plus are likely to receive the most vicious forms of it if no clear limits are being enforced). He does feel that "a thick skin" for being given a hard time by your buddies now and then, including ribald stuff, is "a non-negotiable job requirement" for anyone in the military and that all the women he's served with would fully agree, but that obviously there's a distinction between that and brutalizing or tormenting your comrades, and ultimately it's up to the superiors to manage that dynamic accordingly. Finally, he added that the most distressing part of the story for him was the closing passage of the salon article:
Quote:
The real attitude is this: If you tell, you are going to get punished. The assailant, meanwhile, will go free.

Which brings up an issue that lies at the core of every soldier's heart: comradeship.

It is for their comrades that soldiers enlist and reenlist. It is for their "battle buddies" that they risk their lives and put up with all the miseries of sandstorms, polluted water, lack of sanitation, and danger. Soldiers go back to Iraq, even if they've turned against the war, so as not to let their buddies down. Comradeship is what gets men through war, and is what has always got men through war. You protect your battle buddy, and your battle buddy protects you. As an Iraq veteran put it to me, "There's nobody you love like you love a person who's willing to take a bullet for you."

So how does this work for women? A few find buddies among the other women in their squads, but for most there are no other women, so their battle buddies are men. Some of these men are trustworthy. Many are not. How can a man who pressures you for sex every day, who treats you like a prostitute, who threatens or punishes you if you refuse him, or who actually attacks you, be counted on to watch your back in battle?

"Battle buddy bullshit," said García from the Military Police. "I didn't trust anybody in my company after a few months. I saw so many girls get screwed over, the sexual harassment. I didn't trust anybody and I still don't."

If this is a result of the way women are treated in the military, where does it leave them when it comes to battle camaraderie? I asked soldier after soldier this, and they all gave me the same answer:

Alone.
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Old 03-27-2007, 05:58 PM   #27
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Maybe it starts at the military academies


ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - The Naval Academy said Tuesday it is investigating allegations of lewd behavior and heavy drinking by a group of midshipmen on a spring break Caribbean cruise.

One passenger wrote that she and other women were groped, and that some of the midshipmen offered alcohol to teenage girls on the cruise.

The allegations hit as the academy has been trying to stop alcohol abuse and sexual impropriety following two sexual misconduct cases allegedly involving academy football players.

"The Naval Academy is reviewing allegations of possible misconduct involving midshipmen aboard a cruise ship during spring break," March 10-18, the academy said Tuesday in a statement.

"Typically, midshipmen are in a leave status during this time and are expected to abide by the academy's clear standards regarding appropriate behavior both in and out of uniform," the statement said.

The investigation began after a woman on the Carnival Cruise Lines ship Glory complained in an e-mail to the academy that a group of eight to 10 male midshipmen were acting in a "lewd" manner, The (Baltimore) Sun reported Tuesday.

"I was 'felt up' by one of the very drunk men and I was given the misfortune of watching them grab and disrespect every woman they could get close to as well as seeing them offer underage (15 and 17 year old) girls at our table alcohol," the woman wrote.

In a March 18 posting on cruisecritics.com, another passenger described "a group of boys from the Naval academy" who were "being very loose with their hands when talking with the ladies."

The academy has suffered bad publicity since star quarterback Lamar Owens Jr. was charged with raping a female midshipman in January 2006.

A jury found Owens not guilty of rape but convicted him of conduct unbecoming an officer and disobeying a lawful order. Vice Adm. Rodney Rempt, the academy's superintendent, recommended Owens be dismissed despite his acquittal. Owens is appealing.

Another former football player, Kenny Ray Morrison, faces a general court-martial Monday on two counts of indecent assault and two counts of conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman for allegedly assaulting two female midshipmen during separate incidents last year.

The academy earlier this month outlined plans to have its 4,000 midshipmen take classes this fall to raise awareness about sexual harassment and its consequences. Women make up about 19 percent of the academy's student body.
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Old 07-31-2008, 07:00 PM   #28
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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- A congresswoman said Thursday that her "jaw dropped" when military doctors told her that four in 10 women at a veterans hospital reported being sexually assaulted while in the military.

A government report indicates that the numbers could be even higher.

Rep. Jane Harman, D-California, spoke before a House panel investigating the way the military handles reports of sexual assault.

She said she recently visited a Veterans Affairs hospital in the Los Angeles area, where women told her horror stories of being raped in the military.

"My jaw dropped when the doctors told me that 41 percent of the female veterans seen there say they were victims of sexual assault while serving in the military," said Harman, who has long sought better protection of women in the military.

"Twenty-nine percent say they were raped during their military service. They spoke of their continued terror, feelings of helplessness and downward spirals many of their lives have taken since.

"We have an epidemic here," she said. "Women serving in the U.S. military today are more likely to be raped by a fellow soldier than killed by enemy fire in Iraq."


As of July 24, 100 women had died in Iraq, according to the Pentagon.

In 2007, Harman said, only 181 out of 2,212 reports of military sexual assaults, or 8 percent, were referred to courts martial. By comparison, she said, 40 percent of those arrested in the civilian world on such charges are prosecuted.

Defense statistics show that military commanders took unspecified action, which can include anything from punishment to dismissal, in an additional 419 cases.

But when it came time for the military to defend itself, the panel was told that the Pentagon's top official on sexual abuse, Dr. Kaye Whitley, was ordered not to show up despite a subpoena.

"I don't know what you're trying to cover up here, but we're not going to allow it," Rep. Henry Waxman, D-California, said to the Defense official who relayed the news of Whitley's no-show. "This is unacceptable."

Rep. John Tierney, the panel's chairman and a Democrat from Massachusetts, angrily responded, "these actions by the Defense Department are inexplicable."

"The Defense Department appears to be willfully and blatantly advising Dr. Whitley not to comply with a duly authorized congressional subpoena," Tierney said.

An Army official who did testify said the Army takes allegations of sexual abuse extremely seriously.

"Even one sexual assault violates the very essence of what it means to be a soldier, and it's a betrayal of the Army's core values," Lt. Gen. Michael Rochelle said.

The committee also heard from Mary Lauterbach, the mother of Lance Cpl. Maria Lauterbach, a 20-year-old pregnant Marine who was killed this year, allegedly by a fellow Marine.

Mary Lauterbach said her daughter filed a rape claim with the military against Marine Cpl. Cesar Laurean seven months before he was accused of killing her.

"I believe that Maria would be alive today if the Marines had provided a more effective system to protect the victims of sexual assault," she said.

In the months after her daughter filed the rape claim, she said, the military didn't seem to take her seriously, and the onus was on "Maria to connect the dots."

"The victim should not have the burden to generate evidence for the command," Lauterbach told the Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs. "Maria is dead, but there will be many more victims in the future, I promise you. I'm here to ask you to do what you can to help change how the military treats victims of crime and to ensure the victims receive the support and protection they need and they deserve."

Another woman, Ingrid Torres, described being raped on a U.S. base in Korea when she worked with the American Red Cross.

"I was raped while I slept," she said.

The man who assaulted her, she said, was a flight director who was found guilty and dismissed from the Air Force.

Fighting back tears, Torres added, "he still comes after me in my dreams."

The Government Accountability Office released preliminary results from an investigation into sexual assaults in the military and the Coast Guard. The GAO found that the "occurrences of sexual assault may be exceeding the rates being reported."

"At the 14 installations where GAO administered its survey, 103 service members indicated that they had been sexually assaulted within the preceding 12 months. Of these, 52 service members indicated that they did not report the sexual assault," the GAO said.

The office found that the military and Coast Guard have established policies to address sexual assault but that the implementation of the programs is hampered by an array of factors, including that "most, but not all, commanders support the programs."

"Left unchecked, these challenges can discourage or prevent some service members from using the programs when needed," the GAO said.

Tierney said, "what's at stake here goes to the very core of the values of the military and the nation itself.

"When our sons and daughters put their lives on the line to defend the rest of us, the last thing they should fear is being attacked by one of our own."
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