Updated March 2015.
(Written by an American expat living in Germany)
Military rape by US service members (colloquially known as GIs) have a long history dating back well before World War 2 and is an ongoing crime that the US military both in a contemporary and historical setting has never come to grips with. Though improvement has been made we can, must and should strive to do better. This means providing both contemporary and historical reparations to the victims of military rape both in the United States and abroad in all theaters of US military operations, both contemporary and historically based on evidence established before courts of law. Until we take responsibility so as to ensure that reparations have been made to victims of military rape, this is a problem that will continue to form a blight and stain on American society. We therefore can and must do better to protect victims of historical and contemporary military rape. A new book claims that 190,000 women in post-World War 2 Germany were raped by American GIs. Further, statistics from 2012 show that military rape is ongoing issue wherein there were believed to be 19,000 incidents during 2010 according to a CNN report. This article therefore takes a close look at the ongoing issue of military rape, both from a historical and contemporary perspective.
During World War 2 it seems that the crime of rape by American GIs was under reported according to a new book written by…
German historian Miriam Gebhardt, well known in Germany for her book about leading feminist Alice Schwarzer and the feminist movement, has now published a new volume casting doubt on the accepted version of America's role in German postwar history.”A link is given to the full German Spiegel magazine article above. Certainly whatever side of this argument we happen to be on, 70 years after the end of World War 2 we should now at least be at this point where we should be able to have an honest and frank discussion on this issue in World War 2 history.
“The work, which came out in German on Monday, takes a closer look at the rape of German women by all four victorious powers at the end of World War II. In particular, though, her views on the behavior of American GIs are likely to raise eyebrows. Gebhardt believes that members of the US military raped as many as 190,000 German women by the time West Germany regained sovereignty in 1955, with most of the assaults taking place in the months immediately following the US invasion of Nazi Germany.
The author bases her claims in large part on reports kept by Bavarian priests in the summer of 1945. The Archbishop of Munich and Freising had asked Catholic clergy to keep records on the allied advance and the Archdiocese published excerpts from its archive a few years ago.”
There aren’t very many writers writing on the issue of military rape. In fact there aren’t very many writers who are brave enough to write about the crime of military rape in American culture, as it seems to be somewhat of a taboo subject in American culture to this very day.
Military rape statistics in 2014 America are still an absolute nightmare. The support given to rape victims in America is clearly inadequate, as is open and frank discussions about the crime of military rape in a contemporary as well as historical setting in the American society.
“If you serve in the U.S. military and you rape or sexually assault a fellow service member, chances are you won't be punished. In fact, you have an estimated 86.5% chance of keeping your crime a secret and a 92% chance of avoiding a court-martial.The above quote is from CNN 2012 and it gives the contemporary perspective of the subject matter of military rape, whereas the Spiegel magazine gives important historically background information on the issue of military rape dating back to the post-World War 2 era as a historically backgrounder.
These disturbing statistics illustrate an ongoing epidemic of rape and sexual assault in the military that Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta believes amounted to 19,000 incidents just in 2010. A culture of acceptance combined with few prosecutions against assailants and the conflicted chain of command structure discourages victims from reporting crimes.”
This allows us to get some perspective on the continued need to provide protection information and support to victims of contemporary and historical military rape, where to date the US military providing redress and compensation to victims of military rape must be seen as willfully inadequate. Clearly our group at the Daily Kos wants to support writers who write about this difficult subject matter which needs to be part of our public discourse in any open and free society.
Anyone interested in publishing on this issue or any other issue, please contact my library group. As we have a particular interest in helping people to get published. We want to support your writing and help you to become a more widely read author. To that end I invite you to contact our group either directly or through the dkos mail. Our goal is to help you get published on topics of your choice. Particularly if they seem to be taboo subjects related to the crime of rape because authors in America seem to be a particularly difficult time in getting published when writing about the subject matter of sexual violence in American culture.
Clearly this isn’t something that can or should be swept under the carpet. In an open society there must be space made available to talk about this subject matter both in a contemporary setting as well as a historical setting, dating back to World War 2 or beyond. Clearly no one wants to be blacken the image of American males at home or abroad as there can be profit in that for anyone but at the same time in an open society, we must be able to have an open and honest discussion about this type of criminal activity and how we in America should approach this subject both in contemporary and in historical terms to support victims and take prudent steps to help such crime prevention by providing reparations to victims from public monies, both at home and abroad as a form of contemporary and historical redress for military rape victims which is both a historical and ongoing problem that the US military has yet to fully come to grips with as an institution where these types of crimes have been reported. From the elite service academies to all military installations and theaters of operations, both in the United States and abroad in a contemporary as well as historical setting.
(Editor’s note: To avoid confusion, this article was originally written in 2011 but has been edited/updated with new information from 2012 and 2014. To avoid confusion, the comments from readers below do not reflect the updated information. )