March 07, 2007

Sexual Assault and the American Army

This is a shocking report about the way that female soldiers are treated in the United States Army. I don't know anything about the research done but it seems to be good quality and the author Helen Benedict cites three studies which claim that a majority of women in the United States Army have been raped or sexually assaulted during their time of service. Quotations from serving female soldiers who claim that

"There are only three kinds of female the men let you be in the military: a bitch, a ho or a dyke"

or
You walk into the chow hall and there's a bunch of guys who just stop eating and stare at you. Every time you bend down, somebody will say something. It got to the point where I was afraid to walk past certain people because I didn't want to hear their comments. It really gets you down.

or
My team leader offered me up to $250 for a hand job. He would always make sure that we were out alone together at the beginning, and he wouldn't stop pressuring me for sex. If somebody did that to my daughter I'd want to kill the guy. But you can't fit in if you make waves about it. You rat somebody out, you're screwed. You're gonna be a loner until they eventually push you out.

are truly shocking and need investigation. Given that women are bravely fighting and dying in Iraq it seems to me self evident that they shouldn't be sacraficing that whilst risking sexual assault or worse- I don't know if this is a problem in other armed forces (the British forces have a longstanding problem with bullying and I would not be surprised that for similar reasons they would have a problem with sexual assault)- but it definitely seems like the Pentagon needs to get a grip on the situation. This is an article everyone should read in order to keep the pressure up for proper procedures to protect women who go and serve in the army.

3 comments:

ashok said...

I'll definitely show the article to some of my female friends in the Army. They've complained of some things, but usually things get straightened out.

Thanks for bringing up the topic - definitely not the most pleasant thing to discuss.

Gracchi said...

That's good to hear- the author here seems to be of the opinion that things aren't straightened out so its nice to hear that things can go right as well as wrong. But yeah it is the kind of thing we need to confront- cheers for a typically constructive comment.

Ellee said...

A very disturbing story, especially today, International Women's Day.