Rape is Rampant in the U.S. Military

Joint Colors of the U.S. MilitaryAl Jazeera reports:

Sexual assault within the ranks of the military is not a new problem. It is a systemic problem that has necessitated that the military conduct its own annual reporting on the crisis.

A 2003 Air Force Academy sexual assault scandal prompted the department of defense to include a provision in the 2004 National Defense Authorization Act that required investigations and reports of sexual harassment and assaults within US military academies to be filed. The personal toll is, nevertheless, devastating.

Military sexual trauma (MST) survivor Susan Avila-Smith is director of the veteran’s advocacy group Women Organizing Women. She has been serving female and scores of male clients in various stages of recovery from MST for 15 years and knows of its devastating effects up close.

“People cannot conceive how badly wounded these people are,” she told Al Jazeera, “Of the 3,000 I’ve worked with, only one is employed. Combat trauma is bad enough, but with MST it’s not the enemy, it’s our guys who are doing it. You’re fighting your friends, your peers, people you’ve been told have your back. That betrayal, then the betrayal from the command is, they say, worse than the sexual assault itself.”

On December 13, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and other groups filed a federal lawsuit seeking Pentagon records in order to get the real facts about the incidence of sexual assault in the ranks.

The Pentagon has consistently refused to release records that fully document the problem and how it is handled. Sexual assaults on women in the US military have claimed some degree of visibility, but about male victims there is absolute silence.

Pack Parachute, a non-profit in Seattle, assists veterans who are sexual assault survivors. Its founder Kira Mountjoy-Pepka, was raped as a cadet at the Air Force Academy. In July 2003 she was member of a team of female cadets handpicked by Donald Rumsfeld, at the time the secretary of defense, to tell their stories of having been sexually assaulted. The ensuing media coverage and a Pentagon investigation forced the academy to make the aforementioned major policy changes.

Some would argue that the U.S. military isn’t at all unique in this regard, but that every army in the world has such a problem.  To which I’d reply that’s proof militarism is not ennobling.  Read more here.

, , ,

  • Hadrian999

    one of the problems that comes from an indoctrination process that preaches ultra macho agression as a virtue
    and might makes right ethics along with a reporting process in which the people you report a rape too are probably buddies with the perpatrators.

    • Butter Knife

      Even where perpetrators and authorities are not friends, which I understand many COs are not personal friends with their troops, the culture is one of keeping problems quiet and resolving them in-house. I suspect that many rape perpetrators ARE disciplined, perhaps in ways we would find harsh or cruel, even where those individuals are not made publicly accountable and the actual crimes are kept silent.

      I don’t say this to condone the military’s handling of sexual assault within the ranks (or without, for that matter), merely to point out that what we on the outside see is almost assuredly just a small part of the picture. Much like the Catholic Church, there is so little transparency to the military’s internal affairs and culture that any fight to to change how they handle a problem needs to begin with a fight to see the current situation.

      • Hadrian999

        i saw it from the inside, and generally the first line of reporting was an NCO
        inside the ranks reporting a superior of any kind of wrong doinglead to you getting labeled a troublemaker,an end to promotions,the worst assignments and getting busted out of the unit. if they want to change things they need to make CID the first line of reporting, they operate outside the rank structure

        • emperorreagan

          Of course, there’s little reason for anyone to reform anything, since the high ranking officers and their civilian counterparts at the top of the DoD are all on the money train and would prefer not to upset it with pesky ethics questions. Who wants to open that can of worms with respect to the US military…

        • Butter Knife

          Well, yes, one of the great flaws to a non-transparent system is that, almost inevitably, it leads to behaviors we would not accept if we could see them. If the people to whom you are reporting have a vested and conflicting interest in making the issue vanish without reflecting poorly on them or going any further than absolutely necessary, it’s hardly a surprise that the issue is not dealt with appropriately, and certainly not with any sort of consistency.

  • Hadrian999

    one of the problems that comes from an indoctrination process that preaches ultra macho agression as a virtue
    and might makes right ethics along with a reporting process in which the people you report a rape too are probably buddies with the perpatrators.

  • Butter Knife

    Even where perpetrators and authorities are not friends, which I understand many COs are not personal friends with their troops, the culture is one of keeping problems quiet and resolving them in-house. I suspect that many rape perpetrators ARE disciplined, perhaps in ways we would find harsh or cruel, even where those individuals are not made publicly accountable and the actual crimes are kept silent.

    I don’t say this to condone the military’s handling of sexual assault within the ranks (or without, for that matter), merely to point out that what we on the outside see is almost assuredly just a small part of the picture. Much like the Catholic Church, there is so little transparency to the military’s internal affairs and culture that any fight to to change how they handle a problem needs to begin with a fight to see the current situation.

  • Hadrian999

    i saw it from the inside, and generally the first line of reporting was an NCO
    inside the ranks reporting a superior of any kind of wrong doinglead to you getting labeled a troublemaker,an end to promotions,the worst assignments and getting busted out of the unit. if they want to change things they need to make CID the first line of reporting, they operate outside the rank structure

  • 5by5

    For heaven’s sake, do NOT call it “MST”. I am reminded of George Carlin’s words about Shell Shock and PTSD:

    ___________
    “I don’t like words that hide the truth. I don’t like words that conceal reality. I don’t like euphemisms, or euphemistic language.

    And American English is loaded with euphemisms. Cause Americans have a lot of trouble dealing with reality. Americans have trouble facing the truth, so they invent the kind of a soft language to protect themselves from it, and it gets worse with every generation.

    For some reason, it just keeps getting worse. I’ll give you an example of that. There’s a condition in combat. Most people know about it. It’s when a fighting person’s nervous system has been stressed to it’s absolute peak and maximum. Can’t take anymore input. The nervous system has either (click) snapped or is about to snap.

    In the first world war, that condition was called Shell Shock. Simple, honest, direct language. Two syllables, Shell Shock. Almost sounds like the guns themselves. That was seventy years ago.

    Then a whole generation went by and the second world war came along and very same combat condition was called Battle Fatigue. Four syllables now. Takes a little longer to say. Doesn’t seem to hurt as much. Fatigue is a nicer word than shock. Shell Shock! Battle Fatigue.

    Then we had the war in Korea, 1950. Madison avenue was riding high by that time, and the very same combat condition was called Operational Exhaustion. Hey, were up to eight syllables now! And the humanity has been squeezed completely out of the phrase. It’s totally sterile now. Operational exhaustion. Sounds like something that might happen to your car.

    Then of course, came the war in Viet Nam, which has only been over for about sixteen or seventeen years, and thanks to the lies and deceits surrounding that war, I guess it’s no surprise that the very same condition was called Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Still eight syllables, but we’ve added a hyphen! And the pain is completely buried under jargon. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

    I’ll bet you if we’d of still been calling it Shell Shock, some of those Viet Nam veterans might have gotten the attention they needed at the time. I’ll betcha. I’ll betcha.”
    ____________

    It’s not “MST” it’s RAPE.

    RAPE.

    One syllable.

    Simple, honest, direct. Face it.

    Face that in order to recruit more cannon fodder for an illegal war, we lowered recruitment standards so much, that we let in people with criminal records – including records for things like assault, battery, rape, and spousal abuse.

    All while kicking out 14,000 honorably serving gay people who have no criminal records, but have earned gobs of medals for heroism.

    Brilliant. Just brilliant.

    Hopefully, now that the idiotic policy of DADTDP is gone, we’ll see what the Canadian military saw once they fully integrated sexual minorities into their military (something, incidentally, that they approved the same year – 1992 – we were putting all of our military into the closet).

    The Canadian military saw no damage to esprit de corps, but what they did see was a DRASTIC reduction in the number of sexual assaults (and assaults across the board), in part, because women now felt free to REPORT not only the assault but any sexual harassment that may have led up to it, and therefore get the rapist bounced from the military and put into jail.

    Why did a woman feel freer to report in the Canadian military? Because she knew that if she did report the assault, she couldn’t be counter-accused of being a lesbian – a common threat a woman faced if she reported sexual harassment by a man.

    In general, by dealing forthrightly and honestly with sex, the entire workplace simply becomes more professional.

    But hiding behind yet another euphemistic abbreviation or acronym is NOT going to help accomplish that.

    These women were RAPED by their colleagues in a betrayal of not just them personally, but in a betrayal of the military code of honor, and a betrayal of the country itself. And the slime who engage in it should be breaking rocks in Leavenworth for ETERNITY for it.

    • Andrew

      Did you read the entire article? More men than women are being raped.

      • Hadrian999

        it works both ways, if a man gets raped and reports he has a very real fear of being accused of being gay by his attacker, that law was a total trainwreck.

  • 5by5

    For heaven’s sake, do NOT call it “MST”. I am reminded of George Carlin’s words about Shell Shock and PTSD:

    ___________
    “I don’t like words that hide the truth. I don’t like words that conceal reality. I don’t like euphemisms, or euphemistic language.

    And American English is loaded with euphemisms. Cause Americans have a lot of trouble dealing with reality. Americans have trouble facing the truth, so they invent the kind of a soft language to protect themselves from it, and it gets worse with every generation.

    For some reason, it just keeps getting worse. I’ll give you an example of that. There’s a condition in combat. Most people know about it. It’s when a fighting person’s nervous system has been stressed to it’s absolute peak and maximum. Can’t take anymore input. The nervous system has either (click) snapped or is about to snap.

    In the first world war, that condition was called Shell Shock. Simple, honest, direct language. Two syllables, Shell Shock. Almost sounds like the guns themselves. That was seventy years ago.

    Then a whole generation went by and the second world war came along and very same combat condition was called Battle Fatigue. Four syllables now. Takes a little longer to say. Doesn’t seem to hurt as much. Fatigue is a nicer word than shock. Shell Shock! Battle Fatigue.

    Then we had the war in Korea, 1950. Madison avenue was riding high by that time, and the very same combat condition was called Operational Exhaustion. Hey, were up to eight syllables now! And the humanity has been squeezed completely out of the phrase. It’s totally sterile now. Operational exhaustion. Sounds like something that might happen to your car.

    Then of course, came the war in Viet Nam, which has only been over for about sixteen or seventeen years, and thanks to the lies and deceits surrounding that war, I guess it’s no surprise that the very same condition was called Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Still eight syllables, but we’ve added a hyphen! And the pain is completely buried under jargon. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

    I’ll bet you if we’d of still been calling it Shell Shock, some of those Viet Nam veterans might have gotten the attention they needed at the time. I’ll betcha. I’ll betcha.”
    ____________

    It’s not “MST” it’s RAPE.

    RAPE.

    One syllable.

    Simple, honest, direct. Face it.

    Face that in order to recruit more cannon fodder for an illegal war, we lowered recruitment standards so much, that we let in people with criminal records – including records for things like assault, battery, rape, and spousal abuse.

    All while kicking out 14,000 honorably serving gay people who have no criminal records, but have earned gobs of medals for heroism.

    Brilliant. Just brilliant.

    Hopefully, now that the idiotic policy of DADTDP is gone, we’ll see what the Canadian military saw once they fully integrated sexual minorities into their military (something, incidentally, that they approved the same year – 1992 – we were putting all of our military into the closet).

    The Canadian military saw no damage to esprit de corps, but what they did see was a DRASTIC reduction in the number of sexual assaults (and assaults across the board), in part, because women now felt free to REPORT not only the assault but any sexual harassment that may have led up to it, and therefore get the rapist bounced from the military and put into jail.

    Why did a woman feel freer to report in the Canadian military? Because she knew that if she did report the assault, she couldn’t be counter-accused of being a lesbian – a common threat a woman faced if she reported sexual harassment by a man.

    In general, by dealing forthrightly and honestly with sex, the entire workplace simply becomes more professional.

    But hiding behind yet another euphemistic abbreviation or acronym is NOT going to help accomplish that.

    These women were RAPED by their colleagues in a betrayal of not just them personally, but in a betrayal of the military code of honor, and a betrayal of the country itself. And the slime who engage in it should be breaking rocks in Leavenworth for ETERNITY for it.

  • emperorreagan

    Of course, there’s little reason for anyone to reform anything, since the high ranking officers and their civilian counterparts at the top of the DoD are all on the money train and would prefer not to upset it…

  • Andrew

    Did you read the entire article? More men than women are being raped.

  • Hadrian999

    it works both ways, if a man gets raped and reports he has a very real fear of being accused of being gay by his attacker, that law was a total trainwreck.

  • Anonymous

    Article is very interesting,thanks for your sharing.I will visit this site.And welcome to wedding dresses online shop.We supply supply high quality Cheap wedding dresses,wedding dresses 2011.We have been dress business 20 years and you can trust us completely.Our wedding dress shop have Evening Dresses,Prom Dresses,mother of the bride dresses,A-Line Wedding Dresses,Empire Wedding Dresses,Bridesmaid Dresses and so on.You can find your dream Beach Wedding Dresses here.We do retail and wholesale wedding dresses business.Choose http://www.weddingdressesshop.co.uk/, get your wedding dresses UK right now!

  • Butter Knife

    Well, yes, one of the great flaws to a non-transparent system is that, almost inevitably, it leads to behaviors we would not accept if we could see them. If the people to whom you are reporting have a vested and conflicting interest in making the issue vanish without reflecting poorly on them or going any further than absolutely necessary, it’s hardly a surprise that the issue is not dealt with appropriately, and certainly not with any sort of consistency.

21