Saturday, August 25, 2012

It is a real epidemic, not a isolated thing that has not been tackled and has not been fixed. It is the treatment of women raped in the United States Military. This year’s Sundance Film Festival Award was won by a documentary film called “The Invisible War” that investigated the topic of sexual abuse of women serving in the United States Military. Currently there are 48 ex U.S. service women suing the top officials Leon Panetta, Donald Rumsfeld and Gates for not protecting them from retaliation once they reported the rape. It is not bad enough they were raped? These women get in trouble for wanting their attackers prosecuted?
In the movie Andrea Werner from the Army said, “They actually charged me with adultery. I wasn’t married; he was.” Christina Jones also from the Army said, “They still don’t believe me.” Tia Christopher from the U.S. Navy said, “They took me before my Lieutenant Commander who said, ‘Do you think this is funny? You are the third girl to report rape this week, is this a game?’ This is the kind of sympathy or help the women received.
In defense of these women is a Civil Rights Attorney, Susan Burke. People hate to hear about this issue because most think our military is sacred and can not do any wrong. We want to put our trust in the military because we are all grateful for their service defending us and protecting us. It is very scary that the good guys are in fact and some can be criminals and sexual predators themselves.
Only one percent of all military served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Our taxes were even cut during war time. People want to support our troops. We let them go to the front of the line if we see them at a store or we will buy them a beer in a bar but there are people that are wronged like these rape victims who need to be protected. Instead, they are treated like they are nothing. All they can do is complain to a higher up officer than they are and hope for the best. No trial, no jury no convictions.
In the movie , they make the point that in the military they are victims 3 times. Once when they get raped, once when they try to report it and get reprimanded for doing so and then when nothing is done to make the rapist pay for their crime. You can go to Susan Burke, Invisible War for more information on this dilemma. This is not a new subject. It has happened in Tail Hook in 1991, in 1996 at the Air force Academy and many other branches of the military. It’s not going to go away if the rapists feel they are free of prosecution.
It is not isolated it is a real epidemic now especially that there are so many women being able to serve everywhere. The issue has not been tackled and not been fixed. It is amazingly sad that in 2012 that women are not taken seriously. These women are warriors and part of the force and they deserve to be treated with equality that just is not persuasive yet. Even the attorney has gotten a run around trying to bring this issue to the forefront.
The government will tell you they have zero tolerance and have been using the phrase for many years but they don’t ever explain what that means in terms of enforcing no tolerance. Meanwhile, simultaneously in the court cases the government show up and say no one should be able to come into court to protect their Constitutional rights because rape and sexual assault is an occupational hazard. WHAT? Strippers and prostitutes get more sympathy than the military girls and they really have a occupational hazard. They have sex for a living.
Military rape is not just happening in some far out location. Reports have been filed of rape happening right in Washington DC at the Marine barracks which is one of the most prestigious posts in the military. Those Marines guard the President and are part of the Color Guard. In the movie, five cases were reported from this branch and it was the filmmakers that broke this scandal not anyone from the military came forward.
So, the film has been out and our top military officials have seen it and now know that America is behind these women and people now will not quit till there is some kind of reform in the policy to deal with these criminals hiding behind their uniforms. The STOP Act must be passed and the legislative structure must be changed. One of the real problems is that the chain of command has essentially the right to let women’s allegations get investigated or not. They do not treat rape as a crime.
If you were raped you are supposed to report it to your commanding officer who in some cases is the guy that raped you. Now what? So, recently they have only changed that you can report it to a higher up. Big deal. Whether your rape investigation is shut down by a Colonel or shut down by a Captain it is still being shut down by a single person. Let the rapist be prosecuted by a single person at least not the victims.
Amazingly, these women still believe in their country and love the military. They want the policies to change and still have respect for their colleagues. Ultimately, they know that there are just sexual predators out there that haven’t been thrown in jail yet. Most of the people in the military have not been accused of this type of heinous behavior.
Should we blame this on too much testosterone? Sex crimes seem to be happening in places where there are just too many men. You need more women around in places. Just look at the other crime scenes, Athletics, Wall Street, Alqaeda and Priests in the Catholic Church. Lets get the sexual predators out of sight and not let them hide behind any outfit.

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