I received an essay in my email a couple days ago that made me do some thinking and a little more reading. I’ve been thinking every since what I could write about it. I wanted to say how it made me feel as a woman, as an American, or simply as a human being. But I can’t get past one simple word. Disgust.
So just some facts ….
The Pentagons own figures show that 3,000 women in the military were sexually assaulted in 2008, up 9% from 2007. In Iraq and Afghanistan the figure rose 25%. The Pentagon also reports 80% to 90% of assaults go unreported.
In civilian life you get support from doctors, lawyers, and advocates. In the military you get a chaplain and nothing more.
Women are typically removed from their units ‘for their own protection’. Only 8% of cases reported end in prosecution or are even investigated. This compared with a 40% prosecution rate in civilian life. Amazingly 80% of those convicted are honorably discharged. In other words you can rape but don’t be gay. Talk about don’t ask don’t tell.
A Duke University shows that military language reveals an “unabashed hatred of women” all the time. Even with a force that is now 14 percent female, and with rules that prohibit drill instructors from using racial epithets and curses, those same instructors still routinely denigrate recruits by calling them “pussy,” “girl,” “bitch,” “lady” and “dyke.” It also cites a Naval academy chant “Who can take a chainsaw, Cut the bitch in two, Fuck the bottom half, And give the upper half to you …”
Typically the victim is a junior ranking woman whose average age is 21 and her assailant is an NCO whose average age is 28. She will have to face her assailant every day and risk being punished by her commanding officer as a ‘troublemaker’. The very fact of reporting the assault will make her look weak to her unit.
Women in Iraq say they don’t drink anything after 7 PM so they don’t have to risk going to the bathroom during the night.
Like I said disgust.