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When he kissed her and then had sex with her, she complied because she felt she had no choice, she said.

"What else was I supposed to do in that situation?" she asked.

Those last words are the testimony of a female airman who kept silent about her alleged rape for fear of reprisal.

What else was she supposed to do in that situation?

Before seeing The Invisible War, my husband had an easy answer to her question:

  • She shouldn't have followed the first illegal order - leaving her room after hours.
  • Once she followed the first illegal order, she should have should have said NO to the following illegal requests.
  • Once she was raped, she should have reported it.
It sounds so simple, doesn't it? Especially when the real answer is that her instructor should never have made illegal requests in the first place. This is what is happening in the military; the victims of sexual assault take the blame.

When we answer this young airman's question, we really need to do it in context. Her assault took place at Lackland AFB during basic training. The first six weeks of training are spent learning how to be a Warrior. Yes, with a capital W. Welcome to today's Air Force at War.

This Warrior Training culminates in Week 6, affectionately called The Beast:

Trainers have worked hard up to this point to take trainees and "Remove them from their comfort zone," to strip them to the bone and then show them what they can achieve together as a unit. You don't make decisions based on what is best for YOU. You makes decisions based on what is best for your unit.

It isn't until Week 7 of the 8-week training that they even discuss Sexual Assault Prevention and Reporting. They wait to have the conversation about ethics until after they've pushed these kids to their utmost limits.

It should come as no surprise that the trainers who are under investigation waited until the last weeks of training to sexually assault their victims.

After seeing The Invisible War, my husband would be honest enough to say that he isn't sure how to answer that young airman's question. He does know that she never should have been placed in this situation in the first place:

Defense attorneys have emphasized that the men did not threaten the women that night. The women never told them no, and never told them to stop.

But the trainees said that saying no was not an option. The consequences seemed unfathomable.

"I really truly don't know what they would've done," one of the women said. "And that's more terrifying than knowing what someone is going to do."


Let's demand the Obama Administration to show this film to all potential commanders as well as to all trainers of our military recruits. Let's give them the complete story about sexual assault in the military and help more men and women like my husband understand that after sexual assault, there isn't always a right answer, there is just the right thing to do:

HALT Sexual Predators in the Military - Sign the Petition, Share Widely

Our Goal today is to get a total of 500 signatures on the petition by the end of the day. Currently we are at 216 244 at 2pm!

Originally posted to Military Community Members of Daily Kos on Tue Jul 03, 2012 at 05:10 AM PDT.

Also republished by House of LIGHTS and Rape and Domestic Violence.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Good News - has been working (20+ / 0-)

    hard to fix issues. They were down for about 24 hours yesterday.

    If you've had trouble in the past, try again today, please and see if they fixed the issues with the website.

  •  Invite Friends to Help Gather Signatures (12+ / 0-)

    I've added this public invite to Facebook:

    Please feel free to invite your friends to help!

  •  Is this film going to be shown nationally (15+ / 0-)

    I haven't seen it advertised in Raleigh at all.  I'd like to see it.  

    #Equal Love Equal Rights

    by The Nephew on Tue Jul 03, 2012 at 05:29:27 AM PDT

  •  Well we all know that the DoD has consistently (33+ / 0-)

    created lame training, and lame reporting procedures for sexual harassment and sexual assault.

    When I was in, they thought they could cure rape and harassment on the training base by giving ONLY females a curfew. Males stayed out all night at strip clubs to "study" females turned into a pumpkin at midnight.

    I can tell you that as someone who adhered to that curfew, it didn't work.

    Then it was to curb female drinking. Because if only you girls wouldn't drink, then you wouldn't get raped! HA!

    Then it was to curb foul language--because *THAT must be it! LOL.

    A man who will attack you when you are down, will do it regardless of the circumstances.

    The military has never grasped the fundamental notion that a person who rapes and harasses women [or anyone] is a predator, cut and dried. That they are opportunists, always looking for a way to have *their way. That no amount of religion, punishment, reward, or threats will make them stop.

    Putting someone like that, or leaving someone like that in the Uniform is giving them permission.

    It also lets the females know, it puts them on notice.

    I feel sorry for the first dumb ass recruiter that calls my house for my girls. He is going to think he fell into a snake pit of decaffeinated Drill Sergeants when I get done with him.

    Equal Opportunity my ass.

    •  The film knocks this out of the park... (24+ / 0-)

      that is the message they got across to my officer husband - it's not the women, stupid! It's the predators!

      I swear if the military doesn't use this film for training then they are more stupid than I ever thought!

    •  Ha. A female curfew. When I was at university... (24+ / 0-)

      ...a zillion years ago, in loco parentis was still a very big deal, coed dorms were not yet on the agenda and women living in dormitories and "Greek" houses had an 11 p.m. weekday and 1 a.m. weekend curfew. To protect them, so it was said.

      Men were free to come and go as they pleased. Only a handful of women and their male allies spoke up to say, wait-a-minute-why-are-women-being-locked-up-shouldn't-it-be-the-men?

      Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

      by Meteor Blades on Tue Jul 03, 2012 at 07:30:23 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  We had a curfew when I was in college form 67-71. (6+ / 0-)

        Didn't prevent rapes. One young woman narrowly escaped re-enacting the shower scene in Psycho in the communal bathroom--she threw the soap at his eyes and got away. another was held hostage in her dorm suite--the man used the bars on the first floor windows to climb to the second story and break in. Both dorms were locked dorms; you needed a key to get in.  Neither rapist was a student.

        The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

        by irishwitch on Tue Jul 03, 2012 at 12:43:56 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I think religion is likely part of the problem (8+ / 0-)

      My husband was Navy for 15 years of our 23 year marriage.
      When he banned rape jokes from the shop he supervised, a CPO (E7) told him he was violating first amendment rights.  He pointed out such jokes were contrary to good order and discipline and violated the UCMJ's rules of conduct. Fortunately the MCPO (who was also the MCPO of the base as well this division) and his Division O agreed with him.

      I've noticed that a lot of the military seem to come from the Bible Belt, and from conservative churches.  Those areas of the country tend to divide women in madonnas and whores--and it's still pretty likely that they regard women who'd join the military as sluts. Their religion tends to endorse that view, since Good Girls stay home, get married and make babies, and whores do not.  

      The rise of fundamentalism among the chaplains likely adds to the problem.

      Oh yeah--curfews.  Years ago when Golde Meier was mayor of Jerusalem, there was a serial rapist in the city who was particularly brutal and vicious to his victims. The  council  considered a curfew that would keep women indoors after 7 pm.  Golde quite rightly pointed out that WOMEN weren't doing the rapist and thus didn't deserve to be punished. SHe proposed a curfew for the men.  The curfew idea was promptly dropped.

      The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

      by irishwitch on Tue Jul 03, 2012 at 12:40:41 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Keep in mind, that kind of brutal sense of humor (4+ / 0-)

        might also be a product of the collective youth of the people serving. Being in the military is a young person's game, and so on one hand you have people doing very dangerous, dirty, stressful jobs--growing up fast and acquiring skills to be self starters and self-directed.

        But on the other hand, that age shows when the kids hit the drink, when they date, how they gossip, and what they *think is funny.

        People will laugh about a lot of atrocious things, because their only basis of reference might be from the boob tube or the intertubz. Later when they get some real world experience under their belt, they will have the sense to feel some shame for what they used to laugh at.

        •  Don't make excuses for them. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Rape is rape--and if you haven't learned that by 18, you're not likely to learn it. The subordinates had no problem--just a 30 year old chief who was old enough to know better. He was a jerk who didn't much care for women in "his" military and used to inflict extra duty on a young single Mom who was chronically a few minutes late for the required PT session he ran.  The base daycare didn't open until 6:15. She was there several minutes before that to drop off her kid, but no matter how fast you hustle, it takes time to get the baby inside, and settled with spare clothes, diaper bag, etc. Then she had to drive to the other end of the base for PT.  She got there as fast as she could without speeding. I would ahve hated to see how he'd have treated a rape victim.

          I spent 15 years on bases, and I know a lot of young military types. The good ones KNOW rape jokes are unacceptable.  They know that rape and sexual harassment are wrong--criminal, in the case of rape. I think if more NCOs made it clear that such behavior, such disrespect of half of the human race, is not something that will be tolerated, it would die out. But too many men, in and out of the military,  DON'T think it's unacceptable. They turn a blind eye, or they are guilty of far worse themselves. If it had been made clear to those DIs that their trainees were not there to be aprt of their personal harem, it would not have happened.  But they didn't get a clear message from their superiors, because they looked the toehr way.

           There are hardcore misogynists in civilian life too-- I had one as a boss; he sexually harassed all the girls in his department, and when we reported him, one after another, for groping us after we'd made it plain we didn't want his attentions, we were all sent to less desirable sections and he got transferred (and promoted).

          The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

          by irishwitch on Tue Jul 03, 2012 at 06:19:35 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I was in the military, so I think I can have an (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Ginny in CO

            opinion too.

            •  You're entitled to have one (0+ / 0-)

              But I am sick and tired of people making excuses for it. The guys at Lackland aren't kids. Most of the military rapists aren't either.  And I get fed uo with the "they're young, they'll learn" mentality, because the truth is, they DON'T learn because society tolerates the "boys will be boys" attitude.

              What the military needs to do is take a damned hard line on rape, sexual assault, and harassment. Of the many rapes that are reported, only a tiny proportion are even investigated as a crime. If the woman isn't a virgin or works with the guy or was even vaguely polite to him, all too often, they decide she asked for it. And of those that go to trial--in most cases they get a dishonorable discharge, setting misogynist rapists free to prey on civilian w omen--where the cops often agree with the wink-winka attitude of the military.

              Maybe if more people had the guts to do what my husband did, they'd be setting the tone for the new guys, the younger ones. Instead you get more of the "boys will be boys" crap.  If you know that JOKES about rape aren't acceptable, you might think twice about actually raping.  I think anti-rape training belongs early on in boot camp, as part of professional development and reshaping someone into a soldier.  When you toss it in at the end, it becomes an afterthought.

              Wanna talk stress? My husband has been in combat too. He worked the flight deck on a carrier for 8 years. Yet he considered treating rape as a joke to be unprofessional, and not something to be overlooked. His kids stayed out of trouble and learned to respect their female colleagues. I think they're better sailors because of him.

              I know you were a soldier. I was a rape crisis volunteer for two years. As well a a Navy Wife who helped that young Mom who worked with my husband deal with date rape and carrying her pregnancy to term.

              The last time we mixed religion and politics people got burned at the stake.

              by irishwitch on Tue Jul 03, 2012 at 08:41:41 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Well if you think that is an excuse, then (0+ / 0-)

                you too are entitled to an opinion.

                People change.

                They grow up, they do develop some sense.

                People did bad things to me, and it sucked. But If I sat here and told you that I never held an opinion, never did anything off color, never made a mistake, never did anything that I later regretted, then I would be a liar.

                I too grew up eventually and got some perspective and learned some things.

                Maybe they did too. I can always hope. How cool would it be, if some of the turds that were so damn mean, grew up and regretted how they treated me?

                How cool would that be if somewhere out there, that regret spurred them to not do it again.

                I would like to think that some of these people went through some kind of positive transition. Maybe in reality they didn't. I don't know. But I do have hope.

                That's not an excuse.

                That's just the realization that sometimes, something good can emerge from situation or a mindset that wasn't.

              •  I refuse to dehumanize them over something that (0+ / 0-)

                happened nearly 25 years ago, Not without seeing how they turned out first. Especially not the ones who were kids.

                No some of the older adults--well that is where we might not be so different in our opinions. Those older folks in command positions might be a whole other ball game.

                The likelihood of them changing is lower. But then it's the older ones that are running things that are the root of the problem.

          •  I'm an Air Force vet, and this makes me angry (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            the change to "warrior" made me sad. This, though, is just wrong.

            It didn't used to be this way, by the way.  The boss who gave me the guts to spit in the eye of a misogynist in a civilian job was my first boss -- my Air Force NCOIC.

            LBJ & Lady Bird, Sully Sullenberger, Molly Ivins, Barbara Jordan, Ann Richards, Drew Brees: Texas is No Bush League! -7.50,-5.59

            by BlackSheep1 on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 08:39:33 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  Way too much power (27+ / 0-)

    I have always thought that military superiors have WAY too much power over subordinates and an E2 has the same power over a subordinate E1 that a General has over a whole army.
    In the military  the boss you work for (or the instructor who teaches you) can have you imprisoned, confined to barracks, fined, reduced in rank or can monkeywrench your career ON THEIR WHIM! On their say so!
     They can tell you who you can and can not associate with, even what books you can't read. Any of the above punisment can be applied if you associate with the wrong person or read the wrong book. Or espouse the wrong political views. Or say no to rape
    Nowhere else in our society does a boss or a teacher have such complete control over your life than in the military. Such a system is just ripe for abuse and the system is full of it. And will be untill its changed.
    Its a wonder to me not that women join but that ANYBODY joins.

    Happy just to be alive

    by exlrrp on Tue Jul 03, 2012 at 05:34:42 AM PDT

    •  Yes (23+ / 0-)
      It should come as no surprise that the trainers who are under investigation waited until the last weeks of training to sexually assault their victims.
      Yes, wait for the victims to be fully inculcated into a system where they know that orders MUST be followed and are aware of the penalties for not following them.
      Then start the assault

      Happy just to be alive

      by exlrrp on Tue Jul 03, 2012 at 05:39:01 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Rapists can wait a long long time. (11+ / 0-)

        One of my rapists started following me every other day in his new white cadillac on my way to school when I was 15. He smiled and waved.

        I figure he was whacking off with every encounter and phone call and the anticipation was tremendously exciting.

        It was not so easy to follow me on the way to high school because I did not have to go by his house. So he made stalking phone calls. "You were wearing stockings today."

        I did not understand sexual predators then, so it never occurred to me my dirty caller was Duke Milaci, owner of the biggest night club and restaurant in Trenton. I never heard his voice before. I only saw smiles and waves.

        He waited until I was of age, and offered me a job, I went to the interview and he knocked me onto the banquette in the dining room and when I fell he was on me. Then he had an associate, who was in the club when he did me, drive me home. It was 1961. There was nobody to tell. No one would have believed me.

        I have an advertisement in Craig's List right now to try and see if there are others he did. I know there are. Sexual predators of his stripe do not stop.

        My first rape happened before I could talk. I have been sexually assaulted by a doctor, my Father and Mother, one of my bosses and a stranger I never saw before.

        17% of rapes nationally happen to minors. 13% of them to children (boys and girls) under the age of 12. These stats are from memory.  They could be slightly off. I have made my self an expert on sexual abuse. Knowing what I have been dealing with all my life is my way of healing and protecting myself.

        The majority of men are rapists in my opinion. There are opportunity rapists who think you deserve it because you are a "cock teaser" who did not come across when they bought dinner. Maybe they rape once or twice in their lives. The sexual predators make rape a way of life.

        That is the way it is. It is true that women do commit sexual assault. But in far less numbers as far as we know. We do not know precisely because we have only begun to acknowledge and investigate sexual abuse and the rape of women and children.

        The first personal rape diary I ever read here was invaded by men who wanted to talk about false reporting about rape by women.  This is a sick place but do not take that personally. You are only behaving like most other folks behave when this comes up. It is icky and you do not want to hear about it.

        I used to be Snow White. And then I drifted. - Mae West

        by CherryTheTart on Tue Jul 03, 2012 at 08:50:11 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Cherry, I recommended. .. (3+ / 0-)

          ...your comment because you are speaking about your experince, and I think it is very important to bear witness to these personal stories.   {{Cherry}}

          •  Thanks for the hugs. (4+ / 0-)

            I need them right now. Gratefully accepted.

            There have been a lot of rape diaries because of the Sandusky thing. And i am coasting at the moment on the edge of mania because it is stressful to read these diaries for a survivor who is also bipolar.

            I have considered making this a diary. Indeed, I think a series of diaries. There is a lot to say. Better out than in.

            I just do not know if I can deal with the endemic shit I am going to get if I say what I said above more publicly than a comment.

            And I am some manic. I will take your face off if you fuck with me when I am manic and I won't care what I have to pay for the aggression in the moment. And that is not good. I like it here.

            Coincidentally, I am writing a book about this stuff and reading a lot of Andrea Dworkin. If articulate survivors do not talk about this stuff, we cannot learn. If we do not learn, casual rape of women and children will not stop or abate ever.

            But it costs me a lot. A lot.

            I used to be Snow White. And then I drifted. - Mae West

            by CherryTheTart on Tue Jul 03, 2012 at 10:45:57 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  This is definitely a societal problem... (4+ / 0-)

              it isn't something that just started happening, to military or to civilians. I know it must be very hard to keep seeing it come up so often but the first step in any healing is to talk about the issues. Maybe we as a society can finally start to heal? It's only when that happens, that the victims have any chance of healing, IMO.

              Thanks for your comment, CherryTheTart. I will keep my eyes open for the diary when you decide it is the time to write it.

              •  Well said. (3+ / 0-)

                We have to talk about it. The problem when you talk about it is that they (casual people who just post here) rape you all over again with their ignorance.

                You know what it says in the Bible? It says that a woman raped in a town is guilty if she did not call out loud enough to be heard. I forget where it is. I cannot remember every Biblical citation.

                Can you think of a reason a woman might not call out? I can.

                He has stuffed your clothing in your mouth.

                You are rigid with fear and hoping he will only rape you if you cooperate. If you scream, he may maim or kill you.

                I leave you with the well known Ono/Lennon quote: Woman is the __ of the world. I would type the whole thing, but I probably would not survive the bullshit.

                I used to be Snow White. And then I drifted. - Mae West

                by CherryTheTart on Tue Jul 03, 2012 at 11:41:32 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  It's a big part of why I am want people to go see (4+ / 0-)

                  this film - it really does change the way we think about rape as a society. I felt it as I watched it. I watched my husband experience the same change. And two other military officers as well. They were open to the change, for sure, but they didn't even realize it until after they had seen this film. It's not a magic pill but it certainly is a step in the right direction.

                •  That is a tough situation that I can at least (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  partly understand. I have a lot of anxiety issues and the last 3.5 years have been too lousy for me to even think of posting.

                  When you do get ready, the thing I think you should definitely do is a blockquoted statement explaining the additional sensitivity you have to responses -at the beginning of the diary. Amazes me how some people read too fast, or just stop at some point and go comment.  

                  It is terribly important that people who are willing to risk speaking out do not get the ignorant comments. It not only hurts them, others who are trying to get to the point they can speak are most likely going to be silenced for another interval. When we support the people who have taken the risk, the ones watching and waiting are likely to have less anxiety going into it. The more who tell those personal stories, the more doubters will finally realize the imagination is in their minds, not the victims.

                  Maybe Rebecca, Roxine and the two groups here should come up with a standard block of basic info that goes at the top of any of these diaries. Stats, the realities of experiences that lie dormant and are suddenly triggered.

                  If the group members are notified when someone is posting a personal rape diary, they can check it out and do back up as needed.

                  I won't care what I have to pay for the aggression in the moment. And that is not good. I like it here.

                  Have some more hugs :) I'm glad you like it here. I've noticed your comments are usually just a little different in the way you articulate what others have said. Sometimes that makes all the difference to people reading. If they have any experience themselves, it can help them speak of it. If they don't, it can help with empathy for what victims need others to understand.

                  Meanwhile keep writing. You do it well and the practice will make it even better.

                  I've also noted what an independent soul you have, happy birthday ;)

                  "People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone. " Audrey Hepburn "A Beautiful Woman"

                  by Ginny in CO on Tue Jul 03, 2012 at 09:13:39 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

    •  If they knew the truth (17+ / 0-)

      Maybe they wouldn't.

      Its a wonder to me not that women join but that ANYBODY joins.
      MST is a topic I discuss when I give my High School talks.

      White-collar conservatives flashing down the street, pointing their plastic finger at me..

      by BOHICA on Tue Jul 03, 2012 at 05:40:53 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  E2s do not have power over E-1s (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      In fact E1-3s are treated about the same. It's only when someone is given extra authority in that bracket [like a class leader or some such], or when one makes it to E-4 that a person begins to accumulate a little bit of authority.

      •  Actually I would say E5 (NCO) (0+ / 0-)

        Never underestimate stupid. Stupid is how reTHUGlicans win!

        by Mannie on Tue Jul 03, 2012 at 09:46:07 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  It certainly becomes a more dramatic difference (0+ / 0-)

          true. Other factors come into play.

        •  I believe this may vary from branch to branch (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          or at least did when I was in -- a PFC in the Army over on Fort Sam could be a far bigger jerk to slick-sleeves in the same shop than was tolerated on Lackland or Kelly between E-1 to E-3 personnel (we didn't do corporals in the Air Force).

          LBJ & Lady Bird, Sully Sullenberger, Molly Ivins, Barbara Jordan, Ann Richards, Drew Brees: Texas is No Bush League! -7.50,-5.59

          by BlackSheep1 on Thu Jul 05, 2012 at 08:45:36 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  They did when I was in (0+ / 0-)

        Just as I was getting out (after 3 years in the Army) they made the E2 have the "Mosquito wings" and the E3s got the rocker arm. Before that, the E1s and E2s had no stripe and the E3s had the mosquito wing.
        somebody with a stripe on his arm is going to have it all over someone with no stripe in anybody's army and I'll just bet there are still E2s in charge of E1s, else they wouldn't give them a stripe.
        Perhaps in other services they did it different. Perhaps its different now, but thats the way I remember it

        Happy just to be alive

        by exlrrp on Tue Jul 03, 2012 at 05:00:01 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  As I say in my sig (25+ / 0-)

    the language needs to change from "Don't get raped" to "Don't rape".  The women in the military can be doing everything right, everything to protect themselves, but until the responsibility is put on the predators themselves, and the chain of command for proper follow-up, nothing is going to change.

    I’m a feminist because the message is still "don’t get raped" not "don’t rape"

    by Avilyn on Tue Jul 03, 2012 at 05:45:28 AM PDT

  •  I can not help but think (8+ / 0-)

    That if women were given equal opportunity in the military there would be over 50% of those in command would be women.

    Statistically that is not the case. So by maintaining their promotion misogyny the U.S. Military has prevented the checks on the rape culture there.

    Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance.

    by Horace Boothroyd III on Tue Jul 03, 2012 at 05:55:18 AM PDT

    •  You really think that? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      In an organization in which sheer physical strength is one of the most important personal attributes, you think women would naturally rise to 50% of management? Do you think that if women weren't discriminated against by the NFL that half of the players would be women? It's an exaggerated analogy, but one can't deny that for many of the careers in the military that physical strength is an essential element in success.

      •  I must disagree. I think that analogy (9+ / 0-)

        is too extreme (no offense, it reminds me of Jindal's comparison of Mardi Gras to the ACA). My analogy may be too extreme too, but I think of Queen Elizabeth I, who managed to transform her whole country from a rule of might to ruled by mind. Despite the rights her birth gave her, she was surrounded, alone, yet changed a whole government and the world.

        "The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed, and hence clamorous to be led to safety, by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary." H.L. Mencken, 1925

        by cv lurking gf on Tue Jul 03, 2012 at 06:45:23 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  It's not just that. Misogyny and mistreatment (9+ / 0-)

        of women exists in organizations that are well represented by both genders nonetheless.  One can hope that a higher percentage of women could lead to policies and effective policing of policies that at least reduce such incidents, but it's far from guaranteed, especially given the power that lone low-level officers can have over the people under them.

        Now that I've said the less controversial part of what I was writing, now for the more controversial part: that part of this stems from the fundamental nature of an organization where you're teaching people to ignore their instincts in order to train them to kill, and where you have a natural selection of people who come for, yes, diverse reasons, but one of those reasons is that such an institution is an automatic draw for those who glorify violence.  An organization which seems to promise to let them fill that need.

        I live in a country without a military and with a police force that doesn't even carry pepper spray.  The young people who are like that (mostly men) often actually leave the country (not a cheap move) to be able to join a military (usually Norway's, to the point that Norway even advertises here, but also other nations' militaries).  So the excuse of "no, almost everyone who joins the military is really doing so because of the money or because they want to serve their country" is simply not true.  A lot of young people (again, predominantly men) grow up idealizing a culture of violence.

        •  I joined because I was poor and had no prospects (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          angelajean, Mannie, Ginny in CO

          for being otherwise.

          I know plenty of people who go into the military, because it offers them a living wage, health insurance, and a chance at higher education and at technical training.

          It might not turn out the way we expect, but given what many of us come from in terms of poverty, it's better than being discriminated against at Walmart with no Health Insurance, No Living Wage and No Chance at College or any meaningful technical training.

      •  This is not true in many ways (9+ / 0-)

        First, if we are talking about getting to command - this is the officer ranks.  Physical strength is less necessary, a fit woman can certainly manage.

        Second, let's take the Navy:

        Non-line positions - storekeeper, laundry, yeoman, religious specialist, journalist, postal clerk, photographer's mate, lithographer, legalman, musician, counselor, ocean systems tech,  personnel, disbursing clerk, data systems tech, engineering aide, corpsman, medical etc.

        Operations - quartermaster, sonarmen, operations specialists, air traffic controller, aerographer's mate, crypto, electronics ratings, instrumentman, intel specialist, info systems tech

        Fact is, if you are physically fit and can handle a 25 lb load, that's all you need for well over 50% of the jobs in the Navy.  I don't know the Air Force as well, but I suspect the same is true.

        So yes, I would expect there would be far more women in command.

        Liberalism is trust of the people tempered by prudence. Conservatism is distrust of the people tempered by fear. ~William E. Gladstone, 1866

        by absdoggy on Tue Jul 03, 2012 at 07:14:58 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  You haven't met me have you? (6+ / 0-)

        There are only a small percentage of males I could not physically best and most of those are professional athletes.

        And what is physical about riding a desk?

        Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance.

        by Horace Boothroyd III on Tue Jul 03, 2012 at 07:51:12 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Granted a small percentage of women would be able (6+ / 0-)

        to compete equally with the men across the board with that regard, however the fact that we have to fight tooth and nail for the opportunity to compete on that level makes it very clear, that in reality, this is not an Equal Opportunity situation.

        This is coming from a female person who used to help load full fuel cells on occasion, when they were absent people on the flight line.

        I still have, in my old age, way better than average physical strength and amazing stamina.

        All that physical ability got me, was called names and harassed in the military. Apparently no *actual [read normal acceptable] woman should be able to pull her weight, much less pull it with you sitting on top of it.

        •  I would follow up with--I am so tired of the (10+ / 0-)

          physical strength excuse:

          Even a very strong and skilled woman can be raped, if caught off guard, and or outnumbered.

          Just like assaulting a man, even a strong one.

          All you need is the element of surprise and enough people to hold that person down.

          Or to betray a position of authority by abusing that position to set a person up.

          That's not weakness on the part of the target, that's betrayal on the part of the Perp[s].

          When will these ding dongs get this?

          These women were betrayed.

          Assuming I am weak [or any given woman for that matter] or will be weak because of my vagina is a major mistake on anyone's part. And it pisses me the fuck off when people are basically talking about ME as if I weren't here and don't know what it's like, 1. to serve, as if 2. I don't know what is required physically [I was there remember].

          I would love to see any mealy mouthed mofos talk all this smack about weak women, serve under exactly the same circumstances and do it as well as many of us did. I would love to see that. They talk so much smack--those basement internet warriors--WHATEVER!

          I put you in a female's uniform and have you do our work, and then put up with that shit and we will see just how strong you are in reality.

          Yep, it's a demanding job, it's already a stressful job, but you throw in a heap of betrayal not only from fellow service members but from your own fellow citizens, and then cry me a river how hard it is.

          •  There's an award-winning Hollywood movie in there (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            … just needs someone to write the screenplay.

            I put you in a female's uniform and have you do our work, and then put up with that shit and we will see just how strong you are in reality.

            The Dutch kids' chorus Kinderen voor Kinderen wishes all the world's children freedom from hunger, ignorance, and war.

            by lotlizard on Tue Jul 03, 2012 at 12:10:01 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  There have been a few. (4+ / 0-)

              Gi Jane addressed some interesting issues,
              The General's Daughter,

              And there was another movie about a high ranking Naval Officer that was a Lesbian--I am sorry I do not recall the name of that movie, perhaps someone else will remember.

              I really am sick of all this talk, as if someone like me failed, and did so because we were innately weak to begin with.

              It's a argument that misrepresents the problem.

              You put anyone in a situation where they *HAVE to live in close quarters with others, and then set them up to be hated, vilified, and victimized by "Corrective Rape" and "Corrective Sexual Harassment" and I guarantee that person, even the strongest, healthiest person will not do well. I don't care what their gender  or sexual orientation happens to be.

              It will take a terrible toll on their performance, and on their personal lives, as well as their mental health, and erode their entire concept of what it means to exist with the confines of quote--"Proper Society"--as in it's all bullshit. Because at that point, the nice facade has been ripped away and you get to see the drooling hellish cephalopods up close.

              Setting women up for failure and then berating them for failing--Gee that sounds familiar.

              Only no one expected to come from anyone who in any way represented or symbolized Uncle Sam.

      •  You do not need upper body strength (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Joy of Fishes, angelajean

        . . . in the modern military the way you did in WWII for instance. Women have greater resistance to pain than men, psychological and physical, and better eye hand coordination.

        I have a friend who works with mentally ill folks some of whom are Teens. Sometimes mentally ill folks need to be restrained. It is always done in teams to reduce the chance of injury to both patient and attendant. He said the hardest takedown he ever had was a 100 pound 13 year old girl. Took five people to take her down.

        Women were soldiers in combat in the the Revolutionary War and the Civil War. Several were discovered at Andersonville when they were forced to remove their clothes.

        Strength and determination have nothing to do with body size or gender. It is time for the Armed Forces to enter the new millenium.

        I used to be Snow White. And then I drifted. - Mae West

        by CherryTheTart on Tue Jul 03, 2012 at 04:06:49 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  You can get upper body strength by working out (4+ / 0-)

          We don't just sit on our butts after bootcamp you know.

          We do have physical training requirements and PRTs to run or swim.

          •  I know that. I have been an athlete all my life. (0+ / 0-)

            I am speaking to the idea that men make better soldier than women because they generally have "strength."

            I used to be Snow White. And then I drifted. - Mae West

            by CherryTheTart on Tue Jul 03, 2012 at 11:42:33 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Well I disagree. Males don't always make better (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              soldiers. And not every man is innately, physically strong.  Males come in all shapes and sizes and abilities just like women.

              The issue here is the use of stereotypes.
              Males make better soldiers because they are stronger, and women make worse soldiers because they are weaker.

              We really need to drop that BS in the dirt, because all it does is constitute the excuse to treat women like shit, via Corrective Harassment in order to encourage them to quit, in order to live down to a self-fulfilling prophecy by misogynists who never wanted us to be openly in the military to begin with.

              Also, Gay Men are not weak or limp wristed. I served with plenty of strapping young gay men in the military too who were not the stereotypical effeminate girl trapped in a man's body.

              And the Lesbians were just fine too. They weren't mean, or bitter, or hateful towards men or anyone else.

              They simply were there just like the rest of us, doing their job.

              You toughen up and your body adjusts if you are given a reasonable opportunity to do so.

  •  When I was 17, I wanted to enlist (22+ / 0-)

    in the Marine Corps. The recruiter drove me to my parents' house in a remote rural area to sign the papers since I was not yet 18 even though I was no longer living at home.

    On the way back, he pulled the car over onto a back road and tried to put a move on me. When I objected, he just shrugged and said, "You better get used to it," and then he took me home. It scared me. A lot.

    The next day he called me to say that he had had my mother sign in the wrong place and that we needed to redo the paperwork in order to proceed with the enlistment. Unfortunately for him, I wasn't afraid any more, just mad. I told him to get lost, I wasn't going to be ANYONE'S sexual toy. Needless to say, he was pretty unhappy, made some empty threats, called me some ugly names. Asshole.

    This was 34 years ago and I'm still pissed. Maybe it turned out for the best, but I should never have been put in that position. Makes me wonder how many other stories like mine are out there.

    A little blue dot in a vast sea of red.

    by deha on Tue Jul 03, 2012 at 06:45:17 AM PDT

  •  i gotta say (9+ / 0-)

    once someone tells you that they will not lie, steal, or cheat, and then proceeds to do just that and get away with it, your sense of reality is a bit skewed. I say this after six years of an affair with a married Lt.Col in the Air Force.

    Anyone who scoffs at happiness needs to take their soul back to the factory and demand a better one. -driftglass

    by postmodernista on Tue Jul 03, 2012 at 07:18:49 AM PDT

  •  Thank you for hammering on this issue... (13+ / 0-)

    ...Until it is really really taken seriously, which means until it is actually DEALT with, this must be presented repeatedly. Fortunately, more and more people are getting the message.

    Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

    by Meteor Blades on Tue Jul 03, 2012 at 07:25:48 AM PDT

    •  call me hard headed (7+ / 0-)

      I can't leave this one alone. 25000 sigs is a little overwhelming but it's nothing compared to being raped.

      Thanks for your support MB!

    •  The funny part is, the DoD keeps "handling it" (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Joy of Fishes, Ginny in CO

      every time it comes to a head and yet nothing big changes.

      Tail Hook, Aberdeen, the Air Force Academy, now the AF Tech Schools so forth and so-on---and those are the BIG cases. We aren't even dealing with all the individual cases that arise every year, and all the cases that are never reported, but then show up in VA filings decades after the fact.

      AND FYI---The Veteran's Affairs Dept is part of the problem too, and has been for a long while. Imagine taking someone who suffers rape related PTSD while in service, sending her to an agency that mimics the DoD in form and function and then make her tell the story[s] of the worst things that probably happened to her in her own life, each time to some new stranger.

      The most shaming, degrading things and she has to repeat this to disinterested and often unsympathetic or even hostile strangers.

      Then be sure and misdiagnose her with a personality disorder or tell her because she was abused as a child before ever entering the service, that her rape related PTSD is not service connected, and then throw her out on the street.

      Heap on more hatred if she is gay or if the Vet filing for Rape is Male.

      It re-injures these people on levels you cannot even imagine. It shuts them down, it leaves them unable to function, it disrupts what they have of a life, to the point that if they have a family or a job, it will cause them to be so dysfunctional they will be hard pressed to maintain those commitments or relationships. And if they have substance abuse issues, it will drive them to use more.

      And if they are homeless they might retreat further into the streets to get away from the source of the stress, which also happens to potentially be a source of assistance if they can find an advocate. IF!

      It's so fucked up, words fail me some days.

      I have it good by comparison. Most Americans just don't know what bad is, they cannot imagine that so many men and women you see on the streets are probably vets, and most likely suffering due to a service connected stressor that generated their condition[s].

  •  Thanks for keeping this on our front lines (9+ / 0-)

    Republished to House of LIGHTs and Rape & Domestic violence to get more eyes on it.

    Nothing astonishes men so much as common sense and plain dealing.Ralph Waldo Emerson, 1841

    by SallyCat on Tue Jul 03, 2012 at 07:33:04 AM PDT

  •  I was shocked angelajean (12+ / 0-)

    I questioned my husband's unit commander about how well a raped soldier would be supported after reporting being raped.  He is very rightwingnutty and he hasn't even seen the documentary yet.  But he has had to deal with a lot as a commander on the gut wrenching level, two suicides in the past few months.  He is the only thing that two families have to cling to, one in danger of losing their soldier's death benefits.  His response was that the soldier reporting being raped would have very little support, and he said it was problem and they needed to do something about it.

    My husband thought there was some kind of protocol to be followed when a rape was reported and he thought that some kind of assigned support would be made immediately available like an advocate of some kind.  His commander responded to him, "Uh, No....we don't offer."

    •  your husband's commander is wrong but (9+ / 0-)

      He isn't alone in thinking the way he does. We really need a massive education campaign for commanders. And this shouldn't be a right wing/left wing issue but I'll make it one if have to.

      •  Do you know who is supposed to (7+ / 0-)

        provide advocacy?  The SHARP officer says that he provides information, and he provides as much information about not filing formal charges as he does formal charges.

        •  I was confused by this at first (7+ / 0-)

          It's the difference betwwen filing restricted & unrestricted. I think it's the latter that gets the victim care and counseling without reporting to the authorities. Disgusting when you think about it.

          If the victim files restricted, the case should move beyond the unit commander. Panetta recently changed this. But I believe it's the SHARP officer who should be providing better advice in the first place. I wonder what legal rights are... can the victim immediately ask for a lawyer and should her commander immediately comply? I think you've given me some homework.

          •  I was raped when I was 16 (8+ / 0-)

            Just giving someone information who is traumatized and have it coming from such a power structure is IMO another kind of abuse in a way.  We always pick the path of least resistance because we are barely able to keep it together as it is.  I did not feel in talking to the SHARP officer that they are there for any kind of advocacy outside of information because that is "taking a side" in what could be a false accusation.  It is very difficult to be so harmed and have everyone who is a first responder be blank faced and detached.

            •  That is definitely that attitude we need to change (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Joy of Fishes, Militarytracy

              Offering a victim support shouldn't be seen as taking sides. In fact, I would argue that treating all people who report rape as victims might actually make people less likely to issue a false report. I mean, who wants to go through the exam, the questions, etc. for a false report? Seriously?

              I do wonder how many false reports there actually are. In the film, a lot of the women interviewed were accused of crimes like adultery when they reported their sexual assaults. All of their reports are probably considered false.

              •  I do think false reporting (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                exists, and because of the often punitive nature of the military even being implicated in something has sometimes been career destroying for some whether they were guilty or not.

                In talking to my spouse about this, I suggested that all such investigations be conducted by a third party of some kind. And he gets upset about that, it trips some trigger in him.  He says they can't do that but has no credible reason why they can't.  He just seems terrified having any civilian agency take this on.  It is strange and reflexive coming from someone who has championed many equality causes.  I say with much love, what is that about :)?

                He says the military can handle this, but they haven't been able to handle it thusfar.

                •  my husband had a similar response... (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  Wew had spoken a lot about this prior to NN12. Queue The Invisible War. The conversation changed. I know I sound like a broken record but the fim has the abiility to remove the rose tinted glasses through which officers see the world. It doesn't necessarily change their mind about how to fix the system, but it make them question the idea of rape prevention. If we could at least change the culture from one of blaming the victim to one of ranking individuals taking advantageous of their position, that would be huge.

          •  Not terribly surprising, and my head is still (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            trying to explode. Knowing what standards of care emergency response has put together in American hospitals.

            NY state professional protocols and guidelines for sexual assault victims. The page 1 Introduction to the SAFE* program and bottom of page 3 Interdisciplinary Model covering coordination of care from all involved; are clear on the importance of how these victims need to be treated with compassion, respect, and urgency, including law enforcement personnel when the victim is filing a report. These programs often include SANE* members. (*trained/certified Sexual Assault Forensic Evidence and Nurse Examiner.)

             And by volunteer organizations.

            Two RAINN pages for assault victims as to what care they should receive and how they would be treated.

            Communicating with law enforcement

            Preserving and collecting forensic evidence

            Outraged AGAIN by how our military members just don't rate top notch care. Hey they're tough, no need to coddle them. And of course, like PSU, we sure don't want word to get out that this shit goes on here.

            "People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone. " Audrey Hepburn "A Beautiful Woman"

            by Ginny in CO on Tue Jul 03, 2012 at 10:37:09 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]


        They think they know there might be protocol?


        THEY THINK?

        If they don't know, then they shouldn't be in charge.

        Rape is common enough that it shouldn't be a distant issue that one barely touches upon in the ranks.

        •  How do they make rank? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Joy of Fishes

          Talking from Army expierence (as such other branches may be slightly different)

          Officiers: A LOT is based on OER (Officer Evaluation Reports)  Basically officiers are rated by their next higher ranking officier.  Now do you think an officier will bring up something as ugly as rape in his command to his superior?  Or do you think he will put on a stupid horse and pony everything is fine show?

          One bad OER can kill a career, as such, no officer will really want to make waves.  The few that care will get a bad OER, never advance in rank and be QMP'd (Quality Management Program) out [Basically asfter so smuch time not advancing beyond a certain rank they kick you out..higher the rank longer before they show you the door]

          And to advance to E6 and beyond there are NCOER's (Non Commisioned Officer Evaluation Reports).  Same principle as above.

          What I just posted is facts from the time I was in, it is by no means an endorsement by me of the screwed up way in which it is done!

          Never underestimate stupid. Stupid is how reTHUGlicans win!

          by Mannie on Tue Jul 03, 2012 at 09:58:24 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Blah Blah Blah (0+ / 0-)

            Do you think that some dumb ass that has poop on his snoot is going to impress someone like me? Is that kind of politics going to inspire good order and discipline or unit cohesion?


            Sorry dude, I am so tired of the bullshit. One always hopes that it will stop with your own case, but when it just becomes a perpetual motion machine, you get to the point where you just cannot even be nice about it any more.

            •  I only explained the theory (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              GreenMother, Joy of Fishes

              I do NOT support it!

              Big difference between understanding why crap is done the way it is and supporting it.

              I do NOT support that current system bred for ass-kissing incompetents who are more afriad to rock the boat than do what is morally correct!

              I agree with your anger & hope you don't lump me in with those jackasses!

              Never underestimate stupid. Stupid is how reTHUGlicans win!

              by Mannie on Tue Jul 03, 2012 at 12:43:49 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  Given the obvious existing problem... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    2thanks, LSophia, Joy of Fishes

    ...POTUS as CIC of US military should require all branches to institute prior to any training begins that all "trainees" and regular armed forces personnel receive "articles of personal behavior conduct"...presented by highest ranking officer in units chain of command making it very obvious and understand that this type of conduct will not be tolerated no matter the circumstances...period!

    Our nations quality of life is based on the rightousness of its people.

    by kalihikane on Tue Jul 03, 2012 at 08:44:13 AM PDT

  •  Thank you, SallyCat, for republishing this diary. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LSophia, Mannie, angelajean, Joy of Fishes

    House of LIGHTS
    (Loving Inspiration, Giving Hope To Survivors).

    A place for survivors of physical, sexual, psychological, and emotional abuse, assaults, and bullying.

    A place for the people who support them.

    A quiet place for all voices to be heard.

    A safe place where we can learn to educate, support, and protect our children and each other.

    If you would like to join House of LIGHTS, please kosmail SallyCat.

    (Remember, if you join any group, you must Follow that group (click the heart on the  group's home page) to see their diaries in your Stream. Delivery of the group's diaries to your Stream is not automatic.)

  •  The training on what sorts of commands a member (5+ / 0-)

    of the military is allowed to refuse to follow, even when given by a higher ranking officer, is an important part of basic training, but it needs to be given up front on day 1 and it isn't.  It's criminal that recruits aren't told the circumstances under which they have a right to refuse orders until after they've been taking orders for weeks and weeks.  The window of time in which it's easy for officer to abuse their authority by preying on the ignorance of the new recruits about this is far too long.

    Heck, even having that window of time last one single day is too long.

  •  The military can train men to do unfathomable... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    angelajean, Joy of Fishes

    ...things. Except, apparently, to get them to refrain from committing rape.

    That's the absurdity of it, and the crime.

    I have no objection to giving women advice on how to protect themselves in the given society. But the military also creates that society. It is therefore responsible for that society's mores.

    It's unacceptable that an institution that molds and shapes people, that breaks them down and builds them up, that instills an entire way of life and way of thinking, can't get "train our soldiers not to rape" on it's to-do list.

    Barack Obama: Gives people who tortured other people to death a pass, prosecutes whistleblowers. Change we can believe in!

    by expatjourno on Tue Jul 03, 2012 at 02:48:07 PM PDT

    •  I think that you need to write about that. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      expatjourno, Joy of Fishes

      It is one of those facts that is so blatant but so missed that everyone will immediately understand what you are talking about and wonder why they never thought to verbalize it themselves.

    •  It is not that. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Predators will be drawn to the military for the opportunities it gives them to hurt/rape.

      That means that the military will consist of more than the usual number of rapists and thugs precisely because it is the armed forces.

      You would think this would be obvious. Well, the more women who serve, the more obvious it will become. And the less the wall of denial will be able to stand.

      I used to be Snow White. And then I drifted. - Mae West

      by CherryTheTart on Tue Jul 03, 2012 at 04:18:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  It says a lot about our culture, that we need (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      angelajean, expatjourno

      training that tells soldiers not to rape. Because those soldiers were civilians at one time, and they were exposed to most of the same pop culture the rest of us are exposed to.

      So if the military isn't handling this well, consider the source of our personnel, they don't come from the moon you know.

      But that being said, I see it another way. Most of the men and women who join are mostly good people. But the system is such right now, that it reflects a sort of unholy union of Victorian notions of women's sexuality with 1950s notions of women's place in society. What this does is allow the command structure to ignore rape, which of course only happens to sluts.

      Sluts are not protected like good girls and wives [who know their place], Sluts are get what they deserve, which serves two purposes. It punishes them for not being proper women and it reminds "proper women" to not get caught being improper--whatever that means that day.

      A man who rapes in uniform probably offended long before he signed a contract. And will rape when he is out if given the chance, and most likely will hit civilians, local nationals or women in uniform--whichever presents the most likely opportunity to do so without being caught.

  •  The baffling thing to me is.... (0+ / 0-)

    not that this stuff (saying "NO!" and screaming for HELP) isn't taught until near the end of Basic (altough that IS problematic), but that it's not taught in freaking HIGH SCHOOL or EARLIER.

    And that the trained response is not "Shoot, stab, cut, punch, kick, bite, scar the fuckwad so bad he'll need a closed-casket funeral".

    It's the ARMED FORCES of the United States.  All of us should be ARMED, with weapons, knowledge and a fight that won't quit until our hearts give out.

    As far as any military rapists found guilty... death by lashes.  Bullwhipped until they die, in public, on TV.

    But I'm merciful that way.  YMMV.

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