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This week I was devastated by the way women are treated in Morocco. How could a law, as in something legal and condoned by society, allow a rapist, as in someone who forced himself on a woman, would be able to twist his crime into something innocent, noble even, if he married his victim? (Sanctity of marriage?) So Amina Filali, an innocent teenage girl except for the fact that she was female and that she was raped, which is her fault because she’s a girl and, well, you know that is inherently evil (a cultural original sin that seems to transcend all cultures), was placed in the care of a man who obviously has violence issues rather than his being carted off for some anger-management training in the Western Sahara.

A few weeks ago I was all fired up about the heinous way women are treated in Afghanistan; the brutal absurdity of imprisoning women for being raped and of forcing them to marry the men who raped them; and how unhealthy it is for a society to give men absolute power over women.

Then my boyfriend said that I should think about how many women in the military are raped; “Google ‘rape military,’” he said. Then he mentioned a female soldier who accused a man (working for a contractor) of raping her, and how he got off with barely a slap on the wrist. And her, he said, she was jailed.

He’s right: All the wrongs committed against women cannot be dropped on the laps of Moroccan and Afghani men. We can’t just pooh-pooh the men of Afghanistan who conceal women behind burkas and walls, and who torch their schools, and rape them with bestial impunity, because the rest of the world doesn’t exactly present a shining example of gentlemanly behavior.

And then I thought of forced ultrasounds, both the transvaginal kind and the cool-jelly belly sort. And this War on Women (or are they calling it the Defense of the Purity of Women Campaign?) that these pale American men, upstanding citizens all, are waging on women because we’re, you know, not as smart and important as they are. Just because someone has a boy part, what makes him the arbiter of what is or is not right for those of us without the big dingle dangle?

Women in the Congo, Bosnia, Kuwait, Sudan, Sri Lanka, and Rwanda have been raped as a course of war, as they have been during other conflicts, and throughout history. Reports of Libyan soldiers raping citizens surfaced a few months back, as have sexual assaults by Egyptian police against demonstrators.

I googled “us military rape statistics,” and 2,230,000 results came up. That’s a lot of stories about men in the military who rape, and women (in the military and civilians) who have been raped by our representatives.

And here in the US, where we attempt to look down on their mistreatment of their women, well, we actually have a term for when a man doesn’t get that “no means no.” Date rape is not quite akin to opening a door for a woman. And the acceptance of the twisted logic of “she asked for it” by wearing a dress that was too tight or too revealing, or by being out too late, or by drinking too much is a psychic rape of all women. Women do not ask to be violated. No, we Americans are not beacons in any one’s night.

People say that in Afghanistan it is an expression of their culture. Yeah, sure. Men take every right from a woman except the right to inhale and exhale and we let “culture” cover for that constant humiliation and exercise of power. Then what is it here? Can someone state as truth that rape is a reflection of our culture because we so degrade women by objectifying and sexualizing them? Have we let the deviants define us?

Is the genesis of these rapes by Moroccan men, African rebels, European fighters, and American soldiers the same? Is the problem a universal acceptance of “boys will be boys”? Have we conceded the stage to the bullies?

Googling “rape” brings up 206,000,000 results. No, we cannot breathe a sigh of relief that at least we don’t live there—because we do! Women can be strong, but not as strong as a 200 lb. man with societal support (for what else is indifference?) on his side.

Is rape the scourge of our time? We have defeated illnesses, now we must defeat a sickness. Or is it the arrogance of men? Or are they the same thing?

A person who rapes is sick in the crudest sense of the word. And it is unhealthy to ignore a sickness in our midst. Why are we always protecting men? Why are we protecting those who need no protection? Maybe we women are being forced back to being the weaker sex because society is unable or unwilling to protect us. What does that say about American culture?

Legislatures across the country are now our aggressors, taking it upon themselves to violate women. What’s the difference between Article 475 of Morocco's penal code that lets a rapist become a husband and the laws going through various state legislatures that violate a woman’s sovereignty over her own body?

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Comment Preferences

  •  I've been watching this diary and no comments? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Laura Wnderer

    Wow... just... wow!

    I've not said anything due to my complete exhaustion, as well as the fact I've already written some diaries relating to Military Sexual Trauma which is part of what you've discussed within this diary: rape and sexual assault in the military.

    I posted links to actual government documents, articles, videos, etc with info. Most people received the information well, and had either heard of it but not aware things were really that bad, or hadn't heard of it at all.

    However, I did receive a handful of comments that were not pleasant... which is another reason why I did not comment on your diary until now.

    To be honest, I'm shocked not a word has been said on this.


    Is it true nobody cares?

    Or does this topic really make people, even the progressives here on Daily Kos, that uncomfortable?


    'Tis a bad state we're in if this is the case.

    "One sees clearly only with the heart. What is essential is invisible to the eye." - The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

    by RoseWeaver on Tue Mar 20, 2012 at 12:54:59 AM PDT

    •  Commentless (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      RoseWeaver, the last piece I put up on Daily Kos I wrote that silence is not golden, and that certainly holds true here as well.

      Why is it that people aren't compelled and angered by these statistics about military rape? I have female students who want to go into the military and I am scared for them--it's not the protective environment the safety net for them but yet they don't know it--no one seems to be warning them. Where is the honor code? Where is the honor? Is there any more obvious illustration that our society is damaged than the horrific fact that so many women in the military are raped and harassed by fellow soldiers and officers? These are the men we put up as paragons? Will the system ever allow itself to be weakened so that it can fix itself? And speaking of being representative of the larger system that needs to be fixed--can that be any more evident than in the language men are using about women! And my daughter thinks I'm an anachronism, complaining about how women are treated--if only!

      Thank you for your comment.  

      •  It is too far out of their comfort zone (0+ / 0-)

        This is my guess, Laura. It is the only explanation I have for the silence on this issue. I've noted a trend when it comes to diaries containing content related to rape; there are very few comments on them and very few recommends, and it doesn't matter how well written they are.

        The one diary I wrote which did receive over 200 recommends had to do, in large part, with sexual harassment. I used Rush Limbaugh as a jumping off point for that one. However, I did discuss military sexual trauma, but not as in depth as I would have liked.

        I'd like to write more because there are more links and much more info which needs to be put out there.

        As you say, there are many young women who want to enter the military, but they don't know the truth. We need to inform them... and as soon as possible.

        And you are far from an anachronism!

        "One sees clearly only with the heart. What is essential is invisible to the eye." - The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

        by RoseWeaver on Tue Mar 20, 2012 at 05:22:04 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Not a comfy couch (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          One more thing to be disappointed in. You'd think that rape, anyone's, would be more of a unifying topic. Honestly, what could be more personal than one person's violation of another? Are people so lacking in empathy? Or is it the ole "boys will be boys"? Is it why we have reached 2012 and this War on Women? So maybe what was so upsetting about what Rush said was that far too many people, deep inside, maybe agree with his twisted logic that women should be Ladies and live buttoned up and zipped up. Is it the double-standard of what women need to live by as opposed to what men get to live by? What, on earth, will get men to stop violating women with their bodies?

          Write more! At least it will be out there for those who will let themselves be informed. You never know what the result might be.  

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