Last week, I wrote a piece to Mr. Romney asking him a simple question:
So, Mr. Romney, if you are elected President, would you fight to change the law that prevents an active duty servicewoman from having an abortion, especially if that woman became pregnant due to rape by a fellow soldier?I think it's only fair that I ask you the same question. Sir, if you are re-elected, will you fight to change the law that prevents an active duty servicewoman from having an abortion, especially if that woman became pregnant due to the rape by a fellow soldier?
You see, our military has a long, sad history with rape. Unfortunately, as proven by the latest scandal at Lackland AFB, Texas, this history has not yet been laid to rest. The film, The Invisible War, explains the problems faced not only by our servicewomen and men who have been assaulted but also explores how the actions of military commanders can actually make things worse.
I would be remiss if I didn't give you the same opportunity I gave to candidate Romney. Tomorrow, Tuesday, September 4 at 2pm this stunning film is playing at the Democratic National Convention. You and your fellow Democrats have a chance to do something the Republicans passed up - comment on the content of this film.
While The Invisible War played at the RNC, I can't find any opinion pieces from Republicans who went to see it. In truth, this amazes me because I saw this film at a political convention, Netroots Nation 2012, and I couldn't stop thinking about it. The film compelled me to write again and again about the topic of Military Sexual Trauma. Then the latest sexual assault scandal at Lackland AFB compelled me to write more. I won't stop writing until we stop this horrendous belief that rape comes in different forms and that some women deserve the attention of sexual predators because they somehow asked for it.
President Obama, I know that you don't believe that any woman deserves to be raped. But you need to understand that in today's military, there are still people who believe that some rape is legitimate. There are people who are willing to turn a blind eye when a case looks too difficult to prove. There are people willing to counsel victims but not prosecute perpetrators. And this is in YOUR military ranks. As Commander-in-Chief, you have the ability to change so many attitudes just through your own actions and words. Look what you accomplished with the repeal of DADT. The predictions of breakdown in discipline, of mass resignations, of problems unspeakable in front of polite company, none of these came to pass.
Your strength is needed on this issue as well. If you were to watch The Invisible War and recommend that all your officers, from the newest butter-bar to the most senior General, watch this film, we would see a marked change in attitude towards rape in the military, a change that we need to happen immediately.
And then, maybe, just maybe, we can find a way for a legal medical procedure to be made available through the military health care system so that any woman, active duty, guard, reserve, spouse, or daughter can have access to the care she needs when she needs it. This military wife asks you to take up the standard for all these women and fight for their legal rights.