View Full Version : Does Military Service Turn Young Men Into Sexual Predators?

Ed Jewett
10-25-2009, 05:36 AM
Does Military Service Turn Young Men
Into Sexual Predators?


Penny Coleman, AlterNet (http://www.alternet.org/world/142942/does_military_service_turn_young_men_into_sexual_p redators_?page=entire)
This article originally was published on AlterNet.

Every day, for four years as a West Point cadet, Tara Krause lived and worked alongside the men who had gang-raped her.

Still, she managed to graduate in 1982. She served as a field artillery officer during the Cold War and was attached to the 518th Military Intelligence Brigade during the Gulf War. In what she calls "an act of incredible self-destruction," she married a three-tour Vietnam vet in 1985 and, for the next eight years, lived "the private hell of his PTSD."

"Suicidal behavior, violence and degradation were common threads of daily life," she told me. She survived only because when he put his gun to her head one day, it finally gave her the courage to flee. "Like Lots wife," she says, she struggles not to look back.

Its been almost 30 years since the rape, and Krause says she still "dance(s) the crushing daily struggle" of her own PTSD: "The nightmares, panic attacks, flashbacks, cold sweats, suicidal thoughts, zoning out, numbing all emotion and desperately avoiding triggers (reminders)I have become a prisoner in my own home."Krause is rated 70 percent disabled by the [Department of Veterans Affairs] and has been in treatment at the Long Beach [Calif.] VA for the past six years.

For all the work she has done to heal her own injuries, she still has no answer for the question: "How do you get a group of Southern white teenagers, all of whom were Eagle Scouts, class presidents, scholars and athletes, to be capable of raping a classmate?"

The question deserves an answer, and not a simplistic one. A 2003 survey of female veterans (http://www.news-releases.uiowa.edu/2003/march/031103military-rape.html) from Vietnam through the Gulf War found that almost 8 in 10 had been sexually harassed during their military service, and 30 percent had been raped.

Yet for decades, in spite of the terrible numbers, the military has managed with astonishing success to get away with responding to grievances like Krauses with silence, or denial, or by blaming "a few bad apples." But when individual soldiers take the blame, the system gets off the hook.

And it can be shown that the patterns of military sex crimes are old and widespreadfor generations, military service has transformed large numbers of American boys into sexual predators.

So it seems reasonable to ask whether perhaps there is something about military culture or training or experience that can be identified as causative, and then, perhaps, changed.

The correlation is difficult to dismiss. The majority of veterans behind bars today are there for a very specific type of crime: violence against women and children. That fact has held true since the first Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) surveys of veteran populations in the nations prisons in 1981, and there is evidence that those surveys only identified a much older problem.

The orgy of demonization, however, that both fueled and justified the disgraceful neglect of veterans in the aftermath of Vietnam makes this an especially fraught issue to take on.

Butwithout making any excuses for behaviors that cause irreparable harm to those who are victimizedthere is little hope of change unless the tacit complicity of military institutions and culture is acknowledged. And that complicity most certainly did not begin recently.

World War II is remembered as a crucible and a coming-of-age ritual for the baby-faced boys it turned first into men and then into the "greatest generation."

The butchery, the civilian atrocities, the summary executions, the appalling racism and the breakdown of hundreds of thousands of soldiers have been largely erased from communal memory. And so have the rapes perpetrated by American soldiers on our female enemies and allies alike.

In August and September 1944, when the fighting eased, French women were raped by their American liberators at three times the rate of civilian women in the U.S. And during the final drive through Germany in March and April 1945, more than 900 German women were raped by American soldiers, causing Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower to issue a directive to Army commanders expressing his "grave concern" and instructing that speedy and appropriate punishments be administered.

According to Madeline Morris, the Duke University law professor and military historian who uncovered that lurid fragment of history, those numbers are almost certainly on the low side.

"Rape is particularly likely to have been undercounted because it is less serious than murder," Morris explains, "it is reputedly the most underreported violent crime, even in the domestic context, and it was perpetrated in the ETO (European Theater of Operations) almost exclusively against non-Americans."

Those women, especially German women, could not easily have found the courageor the opportunity to file complaints.

The memories of rape brought home by World War II soldiers surely changed their lives forever.

"What does rape do to the rapist?" is a question Krause has struggled with for 20 years. "Somewhere out there is that Rotarian, happy grandfather, son-done-good, solid citizen. Does he block it out, does he remember, does he feel a shred of guilt? Is it truly done with impunity?"

It is important to note that during World War II, according to Morris research, patterns of violent crime in the United States civilian population underwent sharp changes as well.

"While civilian murder and non-negligent manslaughter rates decreased 7.5 percent from prewar rates, aggravated assault rates increased substantially (19.9 percent), and forcible-rape rates increased dramatically (by more than 27 percent) above the prewar average."

Similarly, since the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan began, BJS statistics show a 42 percent increase in reported domestic violence and a 25 percent increase in the reported incidence of rape and sexual assault.
Except for simple assault, which increased by 3 percent, the incidence of every other crime surveyedincluding violent crimes overalldecreased, but once again, mirroring Morris World War II data, domestic violence, rape and sexual assault showed daunting increases. The first BJS survey of incarcerated veterans found that two-thirds of those veterans had been convicted of rape or sexual assault. In military prisons as well, the report noted, "sexual assault was the most common offense for which inmates were held accounting for nearly a full third of all military prisoners."
That chilling aspect of soldiers criminal behavior held true in subsequent BJS surveys.

In 2000, veterans in state and federal prisons and local jails were twice as likely as non-veterans to be sentenced for a violent sexual crime. In the 2004 survey, 1 in 4 veterans in prison were sex offenders (1 in 3 in military prisons), compared to 1 in 10 incarcerated non-veterans.

Chris Mumola, author of the two most recent BJS reports, points out that "when sex crimes are excluded, the violent-offense incarceration rate of non-veterans is actually greater than the incarceration rate of veterans for all other offenses combined (651 per 100,000 versus 630 per 100,000)."
In fact, when sex crimes are excluded, adult male veterans are over 40 percent less likely to be in prison for a violent crime than their non-veteran counterparts. The same holds true for property crimes, drugs and public disorderthe rates are much higher rates for adult men without military experience.

"The one notable exception to this pattern," Mumola says, "is sex assaults, including rape."

The Veterans Health Administration has adopted the term military sexual trauma (MST) to refer to severe or threatening forms of sexual harassment and sexual assault sustained in military service.

Their records for 2007 show that 22.2 percent of female veterans and 1.3 percent of male vets (from all eras) who used the agencys health services screened positive for MST. That represents a daunting increase of about 65 percent for both men and women over the agencys 2003 data.

And the small percentage of men is somewhat misleading; the 2007 percentages translate into 45,564 women and 47,719 men whose injuries forced them to acknowledge their victimization and to seek help from the VA.

Some of that increase can perhaps be attributed to a 2005 congressional directive requiring the VA to improve its rate of screening returning soldiers for MST, but given that almost 90 percent of veterans dont ( ports.org%2Fuserfiles%2F122_1%2F15_PHR122-1_93) (or cant) use VA health care services, it seems safe to assume that the actual numbers are considerably higher.
( ports.org%2Fuserfiles%2F122_1%2F15_PHR122-1_93)
Those are just the numbers for veterans.

In 2008, the Pentagon received more than 2,900 sexual assault reports involving active-duty service members. That represents a 9 percent increase from 2007, a 26 percent increase in combat zones. Almost a third of those reports (http://www.sapr.mil/HomePage.aspx?Topic=ResourcesReports&PageName=ReportLinks.htm) involved rape, and more than half involved aggravated sexual assault.
In a dazzling display of unapologetic spin, the increase was called "encouraging," an indication of more reports rather than more assaults. It offered no evidence to back up that interpretation, save that the department "encourages greater reporting to hold offenders accountable for this crime."

That seems an unlikely incentive given that only 10 percent of the 2008 complaints led to a court-martial (compared to a civilian rate of 40 percent). The rest received minor punishments, almost half were dismissed, and the report acknowledged that 90 percent of sexual assaults in the military arent reported at all.

Rape occurs almost twice as frequently (http://www.inthesetimes.com/article/3848) in the military as it does among civilians, especially in wartime.
When a 2008 House Oversight and Government Reform subcommittee subpoenaed Kaye Whitley, director of the DoDs Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office (SAPRO), to explain what the department was doing to stop the escalating sexual violence in the military, her boss, Michael Dominguez, principal deputy undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, ordered her not to appear.

Only after the department was threatened with a contempt citation was Whitley made available to the committee. She then sought to reassure the members that DoD is conducting a "crusade against sexual assault," and itemized all of the heroic measures the agency was planning to implement in the very near futureefforts that somehow, despite explicit directives and deadlines from Congress, the agency had not managed to launch at the time.

Tia Christopher, women veterans coordinator at Swords to Plowshares in San Francisco, holds Dominguez, not Whitley, responsible for flouting congressional directives.

"I heard him claim that the reason sexual assaults are so high in the military right now is the hip-hop influence. I dont need to spell out why I found that so offensive. I fault Dominguez for not recognizing that it is a leadership issue."

Christopher loves the military and calls it "a really beautiful machine" when it is working correctly. But she is a rape survivor, and she feels doubly betrayed by her superiors in the Navy. "They can respond to other situations, why not to sexual assault?"

Christopher was 18 when she joined the Navy, training to be a cryptologist. The night she was raped, she had been drinking."Underage drinking," she notes, "is a big issue in the military. It gets you an Article 15, and its 100 percent guaranteed that you will be prosecuted for collateral misconduct. It is far more likely that you will get in trouble for collateral misconduct [from drinking alcohol] than for raping someone. So I destroyed all the evidence. I bleached my sheets and scrubbed myself up and didnt come forward until two weeks later. I wanted to keep my military career, and I thought I could just get through it.

"But I saw him every day. I mustered with him. He would follow me into the chow hall and sit across from me while I ate. I stopped eating, couldnt concentrate, started failing my courses. And I started having flashbacks, hallucinating. I thought I saw him everywhere."

Christopher finally realized she needed help, but the female petty officer she first spoke to got her chief involved and, as the report went up the chain of command, her nightmare just got bigger.

"In my case, there were witnesses. They heard my head hit the wall in the barracks room, but they were drinking [underage], too."

Her commanding officer promised them all immunity if they agreed to testify on her behalf, and then reneged on the deal.

"It ended up that they all got in trouble, and [her rapist] got off." (In 2006, Christophers attacker was expelled from the military for another rape.)

"The last few months that I was in the service, I was assigned to X Division, mopping the stairs, cleaning the heads, picking hair out of the drains. It was my job to vacuum the different chiefs offices, and these sleazeballs would say things like, Hey, Christopher, bend over when youre sweeping. Or, Hey Christopher, let me see them titties. When you come forward about a rape, basically you are just a slut."

Christopher left the military in 2001, and it took her a long time to get her life back together. She still has panic attacks, flashbacks, trouble sleeping. But, with help from a womens psychotherapy group at the Seattle VA, and the rich support from sympathetic colleagues at Swords to Plowshares, she has developed a lot of coping skills.

After seven years, and some good therapy, she feels strong enough to manage her advocacy and policy work.

"Ive testified before the California state legislature, and I was invited to testify before Congress. I speak out about MST as much as I do so other women dont have to. This is not just my job. There is no way I would ever give my clients to the media. I remember what it was like, being fresh out of the service and going through that trauma."

Lisa Pellerin, who has facilitated sex-offender programs for the New York State Department of Corrections for six years, believes that "everyone has the potential to be a sex offender. It depends on how they have been conditioned. When they are in the military, supporting the brotherhood is the most important thing. Soldiers do what they feel they have to do because they dont want to be seen as weak or unable to perform.
"Sexual abuse has always been about power and control. If you are exposed and desensitized to certain sexual behaviors, they become normalized."

One of the most basic conditioning strategies military training uses to destabilize a recruits inherent disinclination to kill is the inculcation of a dehumanized enemy. Soldiers are taught that "we" are the good guys; "they" are the "others." "They" are easier to kill because they are not us. They are also easier to despise. "Others"the nips, the gooks, the hajiscome and go, but ever reliable and constant is "the girl."

Even in this new 20 percent female military, misogynist marching rhymes (aka jodies) are still used, and drill instructors still shame recruits with taunts of pussy or sissy, faggot or girl. Patty McCann, who signed up with the Illinois National Guard when she was 17 and deployed to Iraq when she was 20, still feels betrayed when she remembers her drill sergeant yelling, "Does your pussy hurt?" and "Do you need a tampon?"

A culture that encourages violence and misogyny, says Helen Benedict, attracts a disproportionate number of sexually violent men: half of male recruits (http://docs.google.com/gview?a=v&q=cache:FMcTZUIHr20J:nationalsecurity.oversight.ho use.gov/documents/20090625172502.pdf+half+of+male+recruits+enlist+to +escape+abusive+families&hl=en&gl=us) enlist to escape abusive families, a history that is often predictive of an abuser.

But whatever attracts them, and wherever they come from, this is about a system plagued by rot, and not about a few bad apples. American veterans embody the inevitable, predictable blowback from that rotten system.
It is both unjust and disingenuous to focus on what our soldiers have become without talking about what we have become: A society that romanticizes its warriors, demonizes its veterans and devalues its women.
"Did I serve my full enlistment?" Christopher says. "No. But thats because some shitbag sailor who shouldnt have been wearing the uniform came into my life. Why is that my issue?

"This is a leadership issue."

http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/20091022_does_military_service_turn_young_men_into _sexual_predators/?ln

Magda Hassan
10-25-2009, 07:32 AM
Sexual abuse of women in the military is rampant and I remember much from my own time there.

I remember the Sargent coming to kiss us girls good night in the dormitory.
I remember the very young slight built blonde Leutenant asking us in class one day if to come and speak with her privately if we had any problems with any of the males. No one did come to her of course because she had no 'authority'. While she technically was higher ranked than the sergeant he had been around for thirty years and was well connected on the base and she had just blown in from no where.
Then there was a woman I know who had a hand gun forced into her mouth to make her a willing participant to be raped by a soldier.
I wont even mention that bayonet practice was done on a figure of a black woman. It was very difficult to get any sort of redress for sexual harassment, which was endemic, due to the authority structures in the work place. My own limited observations of the military police was that they were a law unto themselves, unpredictable, and most had had a humanity bypass. I don't know if any of this has been addressed since I left. Probably not.
It is not just that the military turns young men into sexual predators, which it most assuredly does being at the apex of all patriarchal institutions, but that it turns ordinary humans into monsters. And is designed to in some cases not withstanding that there are also decent humans in this dysfunctional institution. The military is the institution of the force of the state. The state is a male. The military worships death and destruction, maiming and scarring through violence. The phallus of the bomb and bullet the signs of rank, the guns on the tanks. Women are seen as weak and as something to conquer. Their soft bodies changed by carrying life, scarred by the stretching of their skin accommodating new life is ridiculed. Their otherness and mystery and connection to the ability to create an nurture life is feared by many men. The best that these 'men' can do is destroy life. But even then their fear is still ever present.

Magda Hassan
10-25-2009, 08:39 AM
I think I have posted this elsewhere but I couldn't find it. It fit in this thread.

Better off on the dole (http://leninology.blogspot.com/2009/10/better-off-on-dole.html) posted by lenin (http://leninology.blogspot.com/2009/10/better-off-on-dole.html)

You might remember Gordon Brown's batty idea to introduce weapons training (http://leninology.blogspot.com/2008/04/gordon-brown-promotes-gun-crime.html) into schools. There has, of course, been a sustained effort to get the kids interested in military careers (http://www.newstatesman.com/200708060004), the better to make up for the shortfall as recruitment nosedived during the 'war on terror' (it's been recovering of late, though I don't know how significant this recovery is). The focus on young people makes strategic sense. In 2006, 14,000 people left the British armed forces, but only 12,000 signed up - and most of the new recruits were teenagers. Last night at a Stop the War Coalition meeting, I learned a bit more about what this effort to draft the kids now entails. For it seems that the British Army is now placing stalls at further education colleges on enrolment day. And what they do when there is offer students a 5,000 bursary to sign up for the army there and then. They do not immediately join, for they are only sixteen, but rather complete their two years of study at college, and are then committed to four years of military service. This makes Britain the only country in Europe that targets sixteen year olds for military recruitment. And they don't even necessarily stick to their own rules in this process, as it was revealed (http://www.wsws.org/articles/2007/mar2007/chld-m08.shtml) back in 2007 that the British government had sent soldiers under the age of eighteen into southern Iraq.

Now, this is not an open and accountable situation in which those kids have reasonable access to the materials they would need to make such a decision. The Joseph Rowntree Trust reported (http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2008/mar/14/schools.uk1) last year, following a study of what young people are exposed to by army recruiters, that potential recruits are subject to a barrage of propaganda extolling possible career opportunities, training, travelling the world, etc. Young people are just not informed of the risks of a spell in the army. These would include, but are not restricted to: 1) death or injury, since one in ten members of the British armed forces in Afghanistan end up either dead or seriously injured, while suicide levels in the army have peaked in the period of the 'war on terror'; 2) homelessness (http://society.guardian.co.uk/gall/0,,1475566,00.html), as all the promise of a career and training results in two thirds of people under the care of Shelter being ex-service personnel, while the MoD itself estimates (http://www.mod.uk/DefenceInternet/DefenceNews/EstateAndEnvironment/SupportingHomelessExservicemen.htm) that a quarter of all homeless people in the UK are ex-military; 3) prison, as one in ten (http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1216015/More-British-soldiers-prison-serving-Afghanistan-shock-study-finds.html) inmates are ex-service personnel, and more British soldiers are in prison or on probation than presently service in Afghanistan; and 4) mental illness (http://veteransprotest.com/01_mod_failing_traumatised_ex-servicemen.html), in which the development of PTSD among other maladies is likely to be poorly treated (http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7916221.stm) if at all. Somehow, being indoctrinated into a machinery of death has a propensity for damaging people, physically and mentally, ruining their lives. Who would have thought it? No one, obviously, who relied upon British Army propaganda or, at one remove, the inspiring homilies of Andy McNab and his epigones.

We have a situation in which youth unemployment is sky-rocketing. Unemployment among the under-25s was reaching a million (http://www.guardian.co.uk/society/2009/aug/12/youth-unemployment-rate-bristol) in August, and has probably surpassed it by now, giving an unemployment rate of almost 20%. Kids who know they've got that to look forward to are being shown images of the army that tell them they can be engineers, cooks, senior office workers. Today's Metro had an advert for the British army that visualised these seductive career opportunities by depicting a series of medals shaped as a blackberry, a mobile phone, a notebook, etc. No doubt every other newspaper in Britain had similar advertisements. No doubt we'll be seeing these on the tube, and on buses. No doubt the stalls in educational establishments, freshers fayres and so on, will carry the same material. If people are desperate enough to believe this, then they immediately ratchet up their chances of dying young, being permanently injured, ending up in jail or on the streets - not to mention the fact that they will also become, quite against any better instincts they may have, accessories to murder as the reserve army of labour becomes the reserve army of conquest.

The other side of this is resistance. The NUT has been running a campaign to oppose military recruitment in schools, on the grounds that it is the job of educators to look after children, not manipulate them into joining the army. The UCU has, I hear, joined them in this. School students have themselves been campaigning (http://www.socialistworker.co.uk/art.php?id=12949) on this issue. This now becomes a particularly urgent matter since, as General McChrystal has testified, the only way this war could be won for NATO would be if another 40,000 troops were poured in. The Senlis Council has recently reported that the Taliban now has a serious, permanent and active presence in 80% of Afghanistan, in addition to whatever base it has in the North-West Frontier Province. That means that the war, if it is allowed to continue, will become bloodier, and will consume more and more able bodies. Those bodies definitely look pretty in their little boxes, and the ceremonies they have for them are obviously quite moving in a certain light. But what's the point of it? To impose a client regime that even the war powers have stopped pretending is anything but a corrupt and brutal confederation of drug-dealing pro-American warlords? As miserable as life is on Job Seekers Allowance or on minimum wage, and as much as the yearning for adventure militates against such a bleak prospect, these kids would still be much better off on the dole.

Keith Millea
10-25-2009, 08:14 PM
Good article Ed.I wish I could add something meaningful to it,but I can't think of anything right now.As for women in the military being sexually abused/raped,it doesn't register with me.I was in the Army before women were allowed to be with regular Army units.I really saw very few women if any at all.Of course,if a soldier needed to "relieve some tension",there are always whorehouses galore around military bases.So,it baffles me as to why a soldier would choose to rape someone,because women are available and quite inexpensive.This leads me to believe that these rapes are indeed from some inner desire for power and control.I can say also that when I go to the VA for my medical problems,there are posters up in numerous places that give women information on where to get help for sexual trauma.So it does seem the VA is aware of the problem,and has outreach programs for women.

Ed Jewett
10-26-2009, 12:59 AM
Keith, from what I understand, rape is indeed about power and control, and not about sex.

Magda, your article about what I gather is a British or Commonwealth perspective and experience mirrors what has been going on in the US as well for sometime, with war games, mall gaming centers (one recently the targets of protests near Philadelphia), and even the militarization of schools through ROTC and Federal initiatives.

The empire needs its cannon fodder (again).

I think the whole induction/indoctrination process is dehumanizing and teaches the inductee not to think, or feel. If is has even a modicum of success, we all have on our hands another sociopath or psychocopath. Rape and torture and death become a continuum, perhaps tantamount to the same thing from both the pereptrators' POV as well as the victims'.

This is a subject that, on one hand, requires a certain amount of professional acumen through which to qualify as an "expert" commentator.

On the other hand, the one I prefer, it requires only that one be a thinking, caring, feeling, compassionate being. One could say "human", but past and current history is proving that humans are quite capable of it if properly 'experienced'/trained, as proven.

My own personal experience, the only thing that matters in terms of how I regard the subjects, has been described in some detail several of the books written by Derrick Jensen through his own personal lens. The article Magda posted spoke of " the job of educators [being] to look after children" and, in my case, one did. In 1966, having been raised in an abusive household by a right-wing conservative absentee father and a harridan of a stepmother, I enrolled in a voluntary collegiate ROTC group called the Bay State Special Forces. We were taught lots of things (...), and I thought I was the cat's meow when I went home to show off my spit-polished paratrooper boots, brass buttons, and black beret to my favorite high school teacher. He had nurtured my writing and had taught me the World War One poetry of English soldiers... "Dulce et Decorum Est" being now superbly memorable, "Naming of Parts" being perhaps appropriate in this thread ... and, when I came waltzing down the hall in uniform, he turned away and shunned me. He literally would not talk to me. That, and being purposefully pitted against my best friend in college during hand-to-hand combat training, and seeing one unit member drop out to enroll in the Marines and then to come home from boot camp and put a bar fight victim into the hospital, and rooming with a conscientious objector during the draft-burning era, woke me up.

I'm sure glad it did.

Ed Jewett
10-27-2009, 04:03 AM
War Is a Hate Crime

By Chris Hedges

October 26, 2009 "TruthDig (http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/20091026_war_is_a_hate_crime/)" --- Violence against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people is wrong. So is violence against people in Afghanistan and Iraq. But in the bizarre culture of identity politics, there are no alliances among the oppressed. The Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, the first major federal civil rights law protecting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people, passed last week (http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/10/22/AR2009102204689.html), was attached to a $680-billion measure outlining the Pentagons budget, which includes $130 billion for ongoing military operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Democratic majority in Congress, under the cover of protecting some innocents, authorized massive acts of violence against other innocents.

It was a clever piece of marketing. It blunted debate about new funding for war. And behind the closed doors of the caucus rooms, the Democratic leadership told Blue Dog Democrats, who are squeamish about defending gays or lesbians from hate crimes, that they could justify the vote as support for the war. They told liberal Democrats, who are squeamish about unlimited funding for war, that they could defend the vote as a step forward in the battle for civil rights. Gender equality groups, by selfishly narrowing their concern to themselves, participated in the dirty game.

Every thinking person wants to take a stand against hate crimes, but isnt war the most offensive of hate crimes? asked Rep. Dennis Kucinich, who did not vote for the bill, when I spoke to him by phone. To have people have to make a choice, or contemplate the hierarchy of hate crimes, is cynical. I dont vote to fund wars. If you are opposed to war, you dont vote to authorize or appropriate money. Congress, historically and constitutionally, has the power to fund or defund a war. The more Congress participates in authorizing spending for war, the more likely it is that we will be there for a long, long time. This reflects an even larger question. All the attention is paid to what President Obama is going to do right now with respect to Iraq and Afghanistan. The truth is the Democratic Congress could have ended the war when it took control just after 2006. We were given control of the Congress by the American people in November 2006 specifically to end the war. It did not happen. The funding continues. And while the attention is on the president, Congress clearly has the authority at any time to stop the funding. And yet it doesnt. Worse yet, it finds other ways to garner votes for bills that authorize funding for war. The spending juggernaut moves forward, a companion to the inconscient force of war itself.

The brutality of Matthew Shepards killers, who beat him to death for being gay, is a product of a culture that glorifies violence and sadism. It is the product of a militarized culture. We have more police, prisons, inmates, spies, mercenaries, weapons and troops than any other nation on Earth. Our military, which swallows half of the federal budget, is enormously popularas if it is not part of government. The military values of hyper-masculinity, blind obedience and violence are an electric current that run through reality television and trash-talk programs where contestants endure pain while they betray and manipulate those around them in a ruthless world of competition. Friendship and compassion are banished.

This hyper-masculinity is at the core of pornography with its fusion of violence and eroticism, as well as its physical and emotional degradation of women. It is an expression of the corporate state where human beings are reduced to commodities and companies have become proto-fascist enclaves devoted to maximziing profit. Militarism crushes the capacity for moral autonomy and difference. It isolates us from each other. It has its logical fruition in Abu Ghraib, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, along with our lack of compassion for our homeless, our poor, our mentally ill, our unemployed, our sick, and yes, our gay, lesbian, transgender and bisexual citizens.

Klaus Theweleit in his two volumes entitled Male Fantasies, which draw on the bitter alienation of demobilized veterans in Germany following the end of World War I, argues that a militarized culture attacks all that is culturally defined as the feminine, including love, gentleness, compassion and acceptance of difference. It sees any sexual ambiguity as a threat to male hardness and the clearly defined roles required by the militarized state. The continued support for our permanent war economy, the continued elevation of military values as the highest good, sustains the perverted ethic, rigid social roles and emotional numbness that Theweleit explored. It is a moral cancer that ensures there will be more Matthew Shepards.

Fascism, Theweleit argued, is not so much a form of government or a particular structuring of the economy or a system, but the creation of potent slogans and symbols that form a kind of psychic economy which places sexuality in the service of destruction. The core of all fascist propaganda is a battle against everything that constitutes enjoyment and pleasure, Theweleit wrote. And our culture, while it disdains the name of fascism, embraces its dark ethic.

New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, interviewed in 2003 by Charlie Rose, spoke in this sexualized language of violence to justify the war in Iraq, a moment preserved on YouTube (see video below):


What they needed to see was American boys and girls going house to house, from Basra to Baghdad, and basically saying, Which part of this sentence dont you understand? Friedman said. You dont think, you know we care about our open society, you think this bubble fantasy, were just gonna let it grow? Well, suck on this.

That, Charlie, is what this war is about. We could have hit Saudi Arabia, it was part of that bubble. Could have hit Pakistan. We hit Iraq because we could.

This is the kind of twisted logic the killers of Matthew Shepard would understand.
The philosopher Theodor Adorno wrote, in words gay activists should have heeded, that exclusive preoccupation with personal concerns and indifference to the suffering of others beyond the self-identified group made fascism and the Holocaust possible.
The inability to identify with others was unquestionably the most important psychological condition for the fact that something like Auschwitz could have occurred in the midst of more or less civilized and innocent people, Adorno wrote. What is called fellow traveling was primarily business interest: one pursues ones own advantage before all else, and simply not to endanger oneself, does not talk too much. That is a general law of the status quo. The silence under the terror was only its consequence. The coldness of the societal monad, the isolated competitor, was the precondition, as indifference to the fate of others, for the fact that only very few people reacted. The torturers know this, and they put it to test ever anew.

Copyright 2009 Truthdig, L.L.C.


Keith Millea
10-27-2009, 04:27 AM
I wont even mention that bayonet practice was done on a figure of a black woman.

Holy crap Magda,that's really sick.Did you have yell "KILL" everytime you thrust the bayonet?We did..........:goodnight:

Magda Hassan
10-27-2009, 06:39 AM
I wont even mention that bayonet practice was done on a figure of a black woman.Holy crap Magda,that's really sick.Did you have yell "KILL" everytime you thrust the bayonet?We did..........:goodnight:
Yeah, it is sick. Much of it is sick. As is having to yell 'Kill!'. Being a 'girl' and all I didn't have to do it, sanctity of life, motherhood, feminine sensibilities etc. and being a delicate flower and all, but I saw it all and could have done it if I chose. I chose not to.

We were also encouraged in training to look for 'gooks' in the Australian bush. Why the Vietnamese would be there lurking in the Australian bush no one ever did explain to me. I do recall that some Vietnamese did find some Australian in their jungles once and I often wondered what they called them. Invaders, of course, but I wonder what else?

Keith Millea
10-27-2009, 05:31 PM
I wont even mention that bayonet practice was done on a figure of a black woman.Holy crap Magda,that's really sick.Did you have yell "KILL" everytime you thrust the bayonet?We did..........:goodnight:
Yeah, it is sick. Much of it is sick. As is having to yell 'Kill!'. Being a 'girl' and all I didn't have to do it, sanctity of life, motherhood, feminine sensibilities etc. and being a delicate flower and all, but I saw it all and could have done it if I chose. I chose not to.

We were also encouraged in training to look for 'gooks' in the Australian bush. Why the Vietnamese would be there lurking in the Australian bush no one ever did explain to me. I do recall that some Vietnamese did find some Australian in their jungles once and I often wondered what they called them. Invaders, of course, but I wonder what else?

Gooks in the Australian bush,and bayonet practice on faux black women.Something is twisted down under.We worked once with an Australian Tank Company.We got about a quarter mile down the road when an Aussie tank hit a land mine,killing the driver.Got that cleared up and started to move again,and only went about five feet when one of our ACAVs hit a land mine.By this time we just gave it up and went back to our NDP.The Viet Cong won that day.:help:

Magda Hassan
10-27-2009, 09:31 PM
The Viet Cong won that day.:help:
The Viet Cong won before the Yanks or the Aussies even arrived there. They were the good guys.

Magda Hassan
10-27-2009, 11:35 PM
Colombia: Sexual Violence as Weapon of War
(http://upsidedownworld.org/main/index2.php?option=com_content&task=emailform&id=2168&itemid=68) Written by Helda Martnez Wednesday, 21 October 2009 (IPS) - Sexual violence is used as a weapon of war in Colombia by all parties in the countrys longstanding armed conflict, and its main victims are women and girls, states a report recently released by Intermn Oxfam, backing up claims made repeatedly by national and international human rights groups.

At the launch of the report, released simultaneously in Bogota and Madrid, Paula San Pedro of Intermn Oxfam the Spanish branch of the relief and development organisation Oxfam International - stressed that all of the armed groups in Colombia, including government security forces, far-right paramilitary forces and leftist guerrilla rebels, use sexual violence as a weapon of war, "to the extent that it has become an integral part of the conflict."

The report, "Sexual Violence in Colombia: A Weapon of War", has served to shine light on an issue that has been repeatedly raised over the past two decades by womens, human rights, Afro-Colombian and peasant farmers' organisations, as well as some female legislators, yet has been largely ignored by both the government and the general public.

In Colombia, the report's launch coincided with a World Peace Summit held in Bogota in early October, where personal testimonials and audiovisual presentations highlighted the powerlessness felt by women and other particularly vulnerable sectors of the civilian population throughout more than four decades of civil war.

Over four million people have been forcibly displaced by the ongoing conflict since 1995, according to figures from a number of non-governmental organisations, including the Consultancy on Human Rights and Displacement (CODHES). This figure represents roughly 10 percent of the countrys total population of 42 million.

The majority of the displaced are peasant farmers and black or indigenous Colombians forced off their land, often after witnessing the killing of family members or rape of women from their communities.

This South American country has been in the grip of civil war since 1964, when the leftist Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) and the much smaller National Liberation Army (ELN) guerrillas rose up in arms. The paramilitary groups that emerged in the 1980s to combat the leftist insurgents alongside the government forces remain active despite the reported demobilisation of tens of thousands of their numbers between 2002 and 2006.

Permanent scars

Intermn Oxfam and other humanitarian groups maintain that 60 percent of the total number of displaced Colombians are women, and that two of every 10 of them have fled their homes to escape sexual violence.

Unfortunately, there are no official figures to reflect this situation, because in many cases, women do not report being raped "out of fear or shame," explained Alexandra Quintero, the research coordinator at Sisma-Mujer, an NGO which produces annual reports on violence against women in different spheres.

Some victims of sexual violence suffer from temporary or permanent mental illness, as reported by participants at the World Peace Summit. "Permanent scars" was the term used by a 53-year-old Afro-Colombian woman from the northwestern province of Choc, who called herself Mara (not her real name).

Mara told IPS that before the armed conflict spread into Choc, "we lived peacefully on the banks of the Atrato River. That was up until 1988, more or less, when the cruelest part of the war began. Every time we heard a boat motor we would freeze."

The population of the province of Choc, on the Pacific coast, is mainly black. The province also has the highest poverty rates in the country, and almost all transportation is by boat over the many rivers and streams that run through it.

"They dragged people out of their beds in the middle of the night. They killed the men and raped the women," recalled Mara, with a mix of anger and resignation.

Mara knows a woman who was gang-raped by a group of guerrilla fighters, but she was also a witness to the cruelty of the paramilitary forces and the atrocities committed by government soldiers against women in the region.

"Its a trauma that you never recover from, no matter how much they talk about reparations, because its something a woman feels in the flesh," she said. Whether the victim is a young girl or a grown woman, "when she doesnt want something done to her body, it shouldnt happen," she stressed.

This is what led Mara to join a group of women from Choc that organises protests, sit-ins and other actions to raise awareness about the problem. "We need to participate more actively and make ourselves visible, because we have been badly beaten down," she said.

Machista culture trumps modern laws

The persistent struggle waged by women eventually had an impact in the judicial and legislative arenas, leading to reforms of existing laws and the adoption of new ones. Their achievements include the recognition of women as victims of sexual violence and of their right to compensation.

Nevertheless, "these legislative advances do not appear to have had any effect in actual practice," Quintero told IPS.

This is because the modernisation of the countrys laws has done nothing to change the underlying culture or to curb acts of aggression against women "in a particularly machista and patriarchal society," said San Pedro, the coordinator of the Intermn Oxfam report, at its launch in Madrid.

The report estimates that "between 60 and 70 percent of Colombian women have suffered some form of sexual, physical, emotional or political violence" - statistics that show that violence against women is a phenomenon that goes beyond the problem of the armed conflict.

Moreover, it is a phenomenon that has actually worsened instead of diminishing in recent years. Sources consulted by IPS concurred that the "democratic security policy" implemented by the right-wing government of President lvaro Uribe has resulted in a rise in violence against women.

"This policy has signified greater insecurity for women, because the so-called demobilisation of the paramilitary groups, who continue to control many regions of the country, has particularly affected women and girls," Mara Eugenia Ramrez of the Bogota-based Latin American Institute for Alternative Rights told IPS.

This insecurity is reflected in "sexual violence, genital mutilation, harassment and forced recruitment. Conclusion: the armed conflict has exacerbated the violence that women have historically faced," said Ramrez.

Quintero said this conclusion is backed up by the findings of a report coordinated by her organisation, Sisma-Mujer, which will be released in November by the National Network of Women.

The upcoming report reveals that the number of human rights violations in general, and those committed by members of government security forces in particular, has tripled since 2006.

The sources consulted for the report include the non-governmental Colombian Commission of Jurists (CCJ) and the forensic Legal Medicine Institute, noted Quintero, who stressed that the report addresses the violation of human rights of the population in general.

The report confirms that there has been no improvement in terms of the vulnerability of the population in general or of women and girls specifically as compared to previous studies.

The 2007 edition of the report quoted an alarming figure provided by the CCJ: "Between January 2002 and June 2006, an average of one woman a day died a violent death in Colombia."

The National Trade Union School contributed some detailed statistics in 2005: "Women trade unionists suffered 15 acts of femicide, 102 death threats, 10 arbitrary detentions, 15 acts of harassment and persecution for their union activity, two attempted murders, seven forced displacements and one kidnapping."

Meanwhile, the Constitutional Court reported early this year, based on figures supplied by women's organisations, that of the 518 victims of constitutional violations registered since 1993, 183 were victims of sexual assault.

Of the total number of cases, 58 percent were attributed to paramilitary forces, 23 percent to government security forces, eight percent to insurgent groups, and the remainder to unknown perpetrators.

While there may be variations among the different reports compiled, they all concur in highlighting an aggravating factor with regard to violence against women: impunity. The report to be released by Sisma-Mujer in November maintains that the perpetrators of this violence go unpunished in an astounding 97 percent of cases, according to Quintero.

"There is not a single region in the country where women can feel safe," said San Pedro, before going on to stress that "Afro-Colombian and indigenous women are the most vulnerable to sexual violence, given the triple discrimination they suffer because of their gender, ethnicity and poverty."
From Upside Down World

Ed Jewett
10-28-2009, 02:07 AM
Rape in the Ranks: The Enemy Within

Submitted by davidswanson on Tue, 2009-10-27 15:18
By Ann Wright

Journalists Pascale Bourgaux and Mercedes Gallego in their trips to Iraq as war correspondents were stunned to hear from military women in Iraq that they should be very careful working in military units due to sexual assault and rape.
When they left Iraq they decided to investigate the issue of rape in the U.S. military. In 2007, they filmed the stories of four military women who had been raped and made a documentary, Rape in the Ranks: The Enemy Within. The documentary was shown for the first time in the United States on October 26 at the New York Independent Film Festival.
Tina Priest was raped in Iraq and then found dead of a gunshot in her dormitory room. The U.S. Army claims Tina committed suicide 11 days after she was raped. The mother and sister of Tina Priest dont believe Tina committed suicide. The documentary captures remarkable interactions with them and military officers from Fort Hood who arrive at their doorstep. Tinas rapist was never prosecuted.
Jessica Kenyon was raped twice during her one year career in the US Army, once in basic training and once in Korea. She is now a counselor (www.militarysexualtrauma.org (http://www.militarysexualtrauma.org/)) for other veterans who have been rapedwomen and men. Jessicas rapists were never prosecuted.
Suzanne Swift was raped repeatedly by her squad leader while they were in Iraq. She was court-martialed for refusing to go back to Iraq with the unit in which the rapist still served. The rapist was never prosecuted, returned to Iraq as a private security contractor and later fired from a position with a law enforcement agency in the Seattle area. Suzanne is now out of the military and in college.
Stephanie (last name not disclosed), was raped at Fort Lewis, Washington. Like the majority of women who have been raped in the military, she never reported it as she thought no one would believe her as the rapist was a senior officer. Stephanie and her husband both served in Iraq. Her husband committed suicide after his return from Iraq. Stephanie speaks frequently on the issue of military suicides.
The 29 minute documentary Rape in the Ranks: The Enemy Within has been shown in Europe. One day after the screening in the New York Independent Film Festival, onOctober 27, 2009, clips of the documentary were shown on Democracy Now (http://www.democracynow.org/2009/10/27/filmmaker_pascale_bourgaux_on_rape_in) as a part of an interview with director Pascal Bourgaux.
We hope the film production company will make the documentary available by DVD or on their website.
In a related event, Veterans for Peace launched a Military Rape Awareness campaign in early October, 2009 with a press conference at the Armed Forces Recruiting Station in Times Square, New York City. Violence against women activist Eve Ensler and military rape survivor Sandra Lee spoke of their traumas from rape.
The video statement by Staff Sgt. Sandra Lee is really powerful (Elaine Brower made the video):
Veterans for Peace suggests that a warning to women about rape in the military be placed on recruiting station doors. Bumper stickers (http://www.veteransforpeace.org/Military_rape_awareness_week_2009.vp.html) that state Warning: 1 in 3 women are Raped in the Military are available from Veterans for Peace.
About the Author: Ann Wright is a 29 year US Army/Army Reserves veteran who retired as a Colonel and a former US diplomat who resigned in March, 2003 in opposition to the war on Iraq. She served in Nicaragua, Grenada, Somalia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Sierra Leone, Micronesia and Mongolia. In December, 2001 she was on the small team that reopened the US Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan. She is the co-author of the book "Dissent: Voices of Conscience." (www.voicesofconscience.com (http://www.voicesofconscience.com/)). She has written frequently on rape in the military.


Ed Jewett
10-28-2009, 06:43 PM
What we are talking about here is the dehumanization of one or more humans. As is said elsewhere by Chris Hedges, war is the ultimate hate crime. If being taught to be a soldier to fight war tends to be dehumanizing in some cases (I will allow for the fact that the recruit brings in some of what transform that person into a rapist, war criminal or avid killer), then military training tends toward the creation of enabling other types of dehumanization.

"The importance of positivism has been noted [in earlier chapters of "Summon The Magic" and its source books], yet some feel that the team plays a little better when they get barked at. This continues as the young athlete moves into the world of work; some supervisors and managers are adept at barking too. Hinkson, in "The Art of Team Coaching", calls this the militaristic model which he says has "fallen by the wayside because it doesn't reflect the social realities of the modern athlete."

James Loehr** compares military and sport toughening models:

Even if we are uncomfortable with a discussion of military approaches, we have to admit the effectiveness of the system used to develop and toughen military recruits. Undisciplined, immature, unfocused and fearful teenagers are transformed, in an 8-week period, into soldiers that can undertake 20 mile hikes carrying 60-100 pounds of gear, overcome a wide variety of obstacles, and conquer their ultimate fear. The techniques involved in this remarkable conversion have been refined over thousands of years. Studying this approach might yield important insights.

The first place we might look is at the process of marching. Even today, when soldiers don't march into battle, they march because marching is for between battles. Marching develops and demonstrates an attitude that shows no weakness, no deviation, no fatigue, no negativism, no fear. What you see when you see a military unit in drill or on the march is precision, unit synchronization, decisive clean movement, total focus, confidence, and positive energy. Even the breathing is synchronized to movement. Marching is practice for being decisive, looking strong and acting confidently (regardless of feelings); it requires discipline, sustained concentration, and poise (all of which are essential elements in conquering emotions, especially the fear of death). The next time you observe an athletic competition, observe how the athletes walk into competition; watch their body language at the moments in the gaps between competitive movement.

Further inquiry into soldier-making reveals the following effective elements:

1. A strict code concerning how one acts and behaves, especially under stress (head, chin and shoulders up, with quick and decisive response to commands).

2. No visible sign of weakness or negative emotion is permitted. (No matter how you feel, this is the way you act.) [This is akin to the directives of a stern, authoritarian, abusive parent.]

3. Regular exposure to high levels of physical training as well as mental and emotional stress (courtesy of the obnoxious drill instructor) to accelerate the toughening process. (The more elite the unit, the higher the stress.)

4. Precise control, regulation and requirement of cycles of sleeping, eating, drinking and rest, with mandatory meals.

5. A rigorous physical fitness program, including aerobic, anaerobic and strength training.

6. An enforced schedule of trained recovery, including the items in #4, as well as regularly-scheduled R&R.

Some of the undesirable features of this military training system are:

1. The stripping of personal identity and its replacement with group identity. (Where this happens in civilian life (gangs and cults), it usually indicates low self-esteem.)

2. Military values, beliefs and skills have little application in civilian life.

3. Blind adherence to authority is rarely appropriate outside the military.

4. Mental and emotional inflexibility and rigidity are severely limiting. Even on the battlefield, and in any emergency situation, inflexible thinking leads straight to disaster.

5. An acquired dislike for physical training, and/or intense mental and emotional stress, is a common result of the pain and boredom of the process, although others adopt a pattern of fitness that they follow for life.

Many coaches draw on military training methods. The sports training model has many parallels. One clear commonality: A higher level of fitness automatically makes an individual tougher mentally. There are sporting codes which are similar: Never show weakness; never talk negatively; no whining; think positively; look energetic and confident at all times; follow a precise way of thinking and acting after making mistakes. Similarly, coaches suggest or require adherence to rules regarding sleep, alcohol, drugs, and meals. And a visit to any early pre-season sports camp will show repeated exposure to progressively-increasing levels of competitive stress.

But when coaches become obnoxious drill instructors, it can exact a heavy price: it undermines an athlete's natural love for sport and kills his or her motivation and intrinsic drive to excel in it. This happens over a short time frame, and potentially lasts a lifetime.

# # # # # # # # #

One approach used in military training was presented at the 19th Annual Springfield College Department of Psychology Conference in June 2002 ("Winning in Sport and Life") by Dave Czesniuk, a performance enhancement instructor at West Point. Dave's job was to prepare a team of volunteers (admittedly a group with high abilities, motivation and previous success) to compete in the annual Sandhurst event.

Named after Great Britain's equivalent to West Point (and always won by a team of soldiers from Sandhurst, who prepare year round), the event is scored by team only and requires nine teammates to traverse five miles over rugged terrain as fast as possible while undertaking a series of challenges or skill stations that include (among others): marksmanship; the setup, use and takedown of technical gear; rappelling down a cliff and over a river; and working together to get all nine team members over an 8-foot wall without using any aids.

The team gets very limited opportunities to "scrimmage" the event; team members are, of course, also involved in athletics, other military training, and an intense curriculum of study. Dave described participation in the event as similar to belonging to a club at another college; success was based entirely on what the individuals brought to the attempt.

Training consisted of physical fitness and limited work in each of the skill stations, but Dave's primary role was to meet with each individual to establish and create an audio CD training tool. The audio tool consisted of each volunteer reading a script, out loud and in his own voice. (The brain, of course, responds much more effectively to one's own voice.)

The "script" described, in detail, each key moment of the entire event as well as the role that individual would play in the complex interaction with his teammates at each skill station. The script also utilized goal statements, affirmations and cues specific to the individual and his role. Here's a fictional example:

"As I cross over the checkpoint line, I focus on returning my breathing to a normal rate while I take the whoozamajingle out of Betsy's rucksack. Okay, now, Ralph hands me the whatzit and, remembering to deploy the ground spikes, I open the tripod and put it in place within five seconds. While I hold the tripod steady, Betsy then places the unit atop the tripod. Once this is secured, I turn to George and begin gathering all of the thingamajigs.... [After the skill station] As I place the whoozamajingle back in Betsy's rucksack, I shout "Great precision, Hellcats!" and then shout "ten seconds to mount up" and begin slow, deep inhalations as I remind myself that I have to finish this upcoming stretch first, in four minutes and ten seconds, because I'm carrying the thingamabob."

Once a complete-event recorded script is polished and mixed with appropriate music, the recruit is asked to listen to the CD at least once a day, and preferably twice, or at least as much as possible within the highly-demanding daily schedule of a West Point cadet.

As the late springtime event neared, the training intensified; each team member took part in an indoor drill during which he was asked to touch and deactivate, as fast as possible, a series of randomly-appearing lights on a 3' x 4' Activision board while simultaneously balancing on a bongo board and reciting his script out loud!

Sound stressful enough? Sound effective?"

** See [I]Toughness Training for Life, James E. Loehr, Ed.D., Plume/Penguin, New York 1993, as well as The New Toughness Training for Sports: Mental. Emotional and Physical Conditioning from One of the World's Premier Sports Psychologists, James E. Loehr, Ed.D., Dutton Books, New York 1994.

Dawn Meredith
10-31-2009, 03:22 PM
Forgive the personal question but how did you come to be in the military at all? Was it required where you live?
Having been a devout pacifist my entire life and continually trying to talk young male offenders out of signing onto our war machine I have often wondered what occurs to cause people to seek out this life. Obviously poverty here in the US is a prime factor- young men receive a $20,000 sign on bonus. Misplaced "patriotism" especially after 9-11 is another culprit.

But you appear not to fit into any of the catagories that cause "normal human beings" to become part of an evil killing machine that allows, indeed promotes, war without end. You seem way too intelligent, peace-loving and politically aware of what war is really all about.


Keith Millea
10-31-2009, 06:37 PM
What hope do we have for sanity?I suggest women buy a handgun.Take lessons on weapon training.Get your concealed handgun permit.


Richmond, California Rattled By 15-Year-Old Girl's Gang Rape At A School Dance

Wednesday October 28, 2009 8:17 a.m.

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http://static.airamerica.com/imagecache/uploads/23f4a42ec6ec45fd9932d984905e0e33-1_display.jpg Police cars sit parked outside Richmond High School on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2009, in Richmond, Calif. Authorities are investigating the rape and beating of a 15-year-old girl on school grounds following a homecoming dance last Friday which, according to police, lasted more than two hours and was witnessed by up to 20 people. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)

By Associated Press (http://airamerica.com/author/associated_press/)

Related Content

4 More Charged In Gang Rape Of California Teenager (http://airamerica.com/news/10-29-2009/4-charged-in-alleged-gang-rape-of-california-girl/)

RICHMOND, Calif. (AP) The gang rape and beating of a 15-year-old girl on school grounds after her homecoming dance was horrific enough. But even more shocking, police say, was that up to two-dozen people watched and did nothing to stop it.
The attack over the weekend rattled this crime-ridden city of 120,000 in the San Francisco Bay area, where one police official called it one of the most heinous crimes he has ever seen. Some students have already left the school in response to the attack.
"It's not safe there at all," said 16-year-old Jennie Steinberg, whose mother let her transfer out of the school Tuesday. "I'm not going back."
The victim, a sophomore, had left the dance and was drinking alcohol in a school courtyard with a group when she was attacked, police said.
Two suspects were in custody Monday, but police said as many as seven ranging in age from 15 to mid-20s attacked the girl for more than two hours at a dimly lit area near benches Saturday night. As many as two-dozen people saw the rape without notifying police.
Officers found the girl semiconscious and naked from the waist down near a picnic table. She remains hospitalized with non-life threatening injuries.
"This was a barbaric act. I still cannot get my head around the fact that numerous people either watched, walked away or participated in her assault," Lt. Mark Gagan said Tuesday. "It's one of the most disturbing crimes in my 15 years as a police officer."
Gagan would not comment on rumors that observers took video of the attack on cell phones and may have posted it online.
Manuel Ortega, a 19-year-old former student, was arrested after trying to flee the scene. He is being held on $800,000 bail for investigation of rape and robbery. Attempts to reach Ortega at the jail Tuesday were unsuccessful.
A 15-year-old student also was booked late Monday on one count of sexual assault, Gagan said.
Late Tuesday, SWAT teams were preparing to make more arrests as police are also offering a $20,000 reward they hope will bring more people forward with any information.
Even though he said as many as two-dozen people were witnesses, Gagan said officials are still trying to determine the exact number of people involved.
"I'm confident that the list will expand and at the end of our investigation we will get a clear indication of who was there and who did what," Gagan said.
The attack occurred in a city that has dealt with its share of vicious crimes in recent years, and the school recently approved surveillance cameras after a series of violent crimes. In one case a few years back, a student was shot outside the school, ran inside and died in the then-principal's hands, said Marin Trujillo, a spokesman for the West Contra Costa Unified School District.
Richmond is an industrialized conclave near the San Francisco Bay that is known as one of the nation's most dangerous cities. In 2007, Richmond had 47 homicides, and the murder rate led the state for cities with populations of 100,000 or more, surpassing Los Angeles and Oakland.

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Magda Hassan
11-01-2009, 12:34 AM
Forgive the personal question but how did you come to be in the military at all? Was it required where you live?
Having been a devout pacifist my entire life and continually trying to talk young male offenders out of signing onto our war machine I have often wondered what occurs to cause people to seek out this life. Obviously poverty here in the US is a prime factor- young men receive a $20,000 sign on bonus. Misplaced "patriotism" especially after 9-11 is another culprit.

But you appear not to fit into any of the catagories that cause "normal human beings" to become part of an evil killing machine that allows, indeed promotes, war without end. You seem way too intelligent, peace-loving and politically aware of what war is really all about.

No. Since we pulled out of Vietnam the military here has been all voluntary. No conscription. I have often wondered what possessed me to do it as well. Given that my life is quite surreal compared to most I think it basically came down to trying to get a 'real' job. Something I have little experience of before or since. My Private Benjamin moment if you like. I was studying and also applied for the Public Service at the same time but this came up first. It was quite an education being there and the rampant stupidity I saw there probably did much to make me a pacifist and radicalised me in other ways too. The areas I worked in there were not the usual branches of the military either. Not that I was their run of the mill recruit either.

Ed Jewett
09-12-2010, 07:27 AM
Abu Ghraib: Most of the women in the prison were raped some of them left prison pregnant. (http://cryptogon.com/?p=17583)

September 12th, 2010 Via: Independent (http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/fisk/robert-fisk-the-truth-about-honour-killings-2075317.html):
Yet nothing comes closer to Titus Andronicus than the insistent, terrible stories of gang rape by United States personnel in Abu Ghraib. You hear this repeatedly in Amman, and a very accurate source of mine in Washington a man who deals with military personnel tells me they are true. This, he says, is why Barack Obama changed his mind about releasing the photographs which George W Bush refused to make public. The pictures we saw of the humiliation of men were outrageous enough. But the ones we havent seen show Americans raping Iraqi women.
Lima Nabil, a journalist who now runs a home for on-the-run girls, sips coffee as the boiling Jordanian sun frowns through the window at us. In Abu Ghraib, she says, women were tortured by the Americans much more than the men. One woman said she witnessed five girls being raped. Most of the women in the prison were raped some of them left prison pregnant. Families killed some of these women because of the shame.
Posted in Atrocities (http://cryptogon.com/?cat=18)

Jan Klimkowski
09-12-2010, 11:02 AM
Abu Ghraib: Most of the women in the prison were raped some of them left prison pregnant. (http://cryptogon.com/?p=17583)

September 12th, 2010 Via: Independent (http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/fisk/robert-fisk-the-truth-about-honour-killings-2075317.html):
Yet nothing comes closer to Titus Andronicus than the insistent, terrible stories of gang rape by United States personnel in Abu Ghraib. You hear this repeatedly in Amman, and a very accurate source of mine in Washington a man who deals with military personnel tells me they are true. This, he says, is why Barack Obama changed his mind about releasing the photographs which George W Bush refused to make public. The pictures we saw of the humiliation of men were outrageous enough. But the ones we havent seen show Americans raping Iraqi women.
Lima Nabil, a journalist who now runs a home for on-the-run girls, sips coffee as the boiling Jordanian sun frowns through the window at us. In Abu Ghraib, she says, women were tortured by the Americans much more than the men. One woman said she witnessed five girls being raped. Most of the women in the prison were raped some of them left prison pregnant. Families killed some of these women because of the shame.
Posted in Atrocities (http://cryptogon.com/?cat=18)

And the officer in charge of Abu Ghraib was a woman. Brigadier General Janis Karpinski was demoted to Colonel after what passed for a military inquiry.

Of course much of the horror at Abu Ghraib was led by psyops practioners, using templates from deep black shrinks. It wasn't simply a "few bad apples" as per the official US government and Pentagon cover story.

So much for exporting western democratic values and morality to the supposedly inferior "ragheads" of the Middle East.

Gandhi articulates the hypocrisy of western geopolitical neo-imperialism pefectly in Magda's signature.

Ed Jewett
09-12-2010, 05:35 PM
I wasn't sure what thread to put this Abu Ghraib/rape story in but, of course, yon Klimkowski fellow has it correctly above. Elsewhere, I have noted my self-diagnosis of "cultural estrangement" and indeed even the theft of my nation and its values. The military psyops nature of the genesis of this thing is correct as far as it goes in this locality but we know also that the purposeful induction of what was termed elsewhere (lost the source, alas) as "the normalization of abnormality" into our culture through fundamanentalist practice, ritualized practices, and the perversions of "belonging" (did anyone note that the new ghoul in economics is a Skull and Bones member?) has trickled down to our 20- and 30-somethings. I note that the leading 9/11 truther is a theologian with expertise in the study of evil. The troops are taking finger trophies and killing for sport (no doubt that has somehow come home to America already as well), and one soldier emptied his clip into the body of a dead child 'to make sure'.

Where is Hannah Arendt when we need her? Well, Arthur Silber's work is archived.

Can we do an epidemiological tracing of this to determine the fomites and the vectors?

Can we mimic John Snow and construct a map of the outbreak?

Magda Hassan
09-12-2010, 10:01 PM
Plus there will be a whole bunch of serial murders and rapes when these psychopaths are back home and looking for the same sort of thrill.

Christer Forslund
10-22-2010, 07:04 PM
CBC News October 21, 2010

Thousands of explicit photos that Col. Russell Williams took while wearing women's and girls' lingerie show how his sexual obsession escalated from lesser crimes to sexual assault and murder, a Belleville, Ont., court heard Monday.

The decorated former commander of Canadian Forces Base Trenton, in eastern Ontario, pleaded guilty to all 88 charges against him including two counts of first-degree murder, two counts each of sexual assault and forcible confinement and 82 break-ins and attempted break-ins.

Williams, 47, was arraigned on the murder charges Monday before Judge Robert F. Scott in Ontario Superior Court. Wearing a dark suit and grey button-down shirt, Williams quietly pleaded: "Guilty, your honour."

- - -

Telegraph, May,14 & 16 2010

Col Williams, 47, was the commander in charge of Canadian Forces Base Trenton, near Toronto, which is the country's largest military airbase and provides support for its operations in Afghanistan and Haiti.
The married father of four, has been relieved of duty and is being kept in jail ahead of a civilian trial.
His arrest marked a fall from grace for the elite Canadian Air Force commander who once flew the Queen (and the Duke of Edinburgh) across the Atlantic.


Christer Forslund
12-03-2010, 08:15 PM
December 3, 2010 by legitgov

US mercenary firms hired Afghan 'dancing boys', WikiLeaks cable reveals (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/dec/02/foreign-contractors-hired-dancing-boys) 02 Dec 2010 A scandal involving foreign contractors employed to train Afghan policemen who took drugs and paid for young "dancing boys" to entertain them in northern Afghanistan caused such panic that the interior minister begged the US embassy to try and "quash" the story, according to one of the US embassy cables released by WikiLeaks. In a meeting with the assistant US ambassador, a panicked Hanif Atmar, the interior minister at the time of the episode last June, warned that the story would "endanger lives" and was particularly concerned that a video of the incident might be made public. Two Afghan policemen and nine other Afghans were arrested as part of investigations into a crime described by Atmar as "purchasing a service from a child". The strategy appeared to work when an article was published in July by the Washington Post about the incident, which made little of the affair, saying it was an incident of "questionable management oversight" in which foreign DynCorp workers "hired a teenage boy to perform a tribal dance at a company farewell party". [See:DynCorp Disgrace (http://www.corpwatch.org/article.php?id=11119) By Kelly Patricia O'Meara 14 Jan 2002 Middle-aged men having sex with 12- to 15-year-olds was too much for Ben Johnston, a hulking 6-foot-5-inch Texan, and more than a year ago he blew the whistle on his employer, DynCorp, a U.S. contracting company doing business in Bosnia.]

David Guyatt
12-04-2010, 10:16 AM
December 3, 2010 by legitgov

US mercenary firms hired Afghan 'dancing boys', WikiLeaks cable reveals (http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/dec/02/foreign-contractors-hired-dancing-boys) 02 Dec 2010 A scandal involving foreign contractors employed to train Afghan policemen who took drugs and paid for young "dancing boys" to entertain them in northern Afghanistan caused such panic that the interior minister begged the US embassy to try and "quash" the story, according to one of the US embassy cables released by WikiLeaks. In a meeting with the assistant US ambassador, a panicked Hanif Atmar, the interior minister at the time of the episode last June, warned that the story would "endanger lives" and was particularly concerned that a video of the incident might be made public. Two Afghan policemen and nine other Afghans were arrested as part of investigations into a crime described by Atmar as "purchasing a service from a child". The strategy appeared to work when an article was published in July by the Washington Post about the incident, which made little of the affair, saying it was an incident of "questionable management oversight" in which foreign DynCorp workers "hired a teenage boy to perform a tribal dance at a company farewell party". [See:DynCorp Disgrace (http://www.corpwatch.org/article.php?id=11119) By Kelly Patricia O'Meara 14 Jan 2002 Middle-aged men having sex with 12- to 15-year-olds was too much for Ben Johnston, a hulking 6-foot-5-inch Texan, and more than a year ago he blew the whistle on his employer, DynCorp, a U.S. contracting company doing business in Bosnia.]

Paedophilia is what it is.

Jan Klimkowski
12-08-2010, 10:01 PM
This deserves a fuller record:

Wednesday, 24 June 2009, 11:37
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 KABUL 001651
EO 12958 DECL: 06/23/2019

1. (C) SUMMARY: Assistant Ambassador Mussomeli discussed a range of issues with Minister of Interior (MoI) Hanif Atmar on June 23. On the Kunduz Regional Training Center (RTC) DynCorp event of April 11 (reftel), Atmar reiterated his insistence that the U.S. try to quash any news article on the incident or circulation of a video connected with it. He continued to predict that publicity would "endanger lives." He disclosed that he has arrested two Afghan police and nine other Afghans as part of an MoI investigation into Afghans who facilitated this crime of "purchasing a service from a child." He pressed for CSTC-A to be given full control over the police training program, including contractors. Mussomeli counseled that an overreaction by the Afghan goverment (GIRoA) would only increase chances for the greater publicity the MoI is trying to forestall.

(snip - full cable readable at url at bottom)


4. (C) On June 23, Assistant Ambassador Mussomeli met with MOI Minister Hanif Atmar on a number of issues, beginning with the April 11 Kunduz RTC DynCorp investigation. Amb Mussomeli opened that the incident deeply upset us and we took strong steps in response. An investigation is on-going, disciplinary actions were taken against DynCorp leaders in Afghanistan, we are also aware of proposals for new procedures, such as stationing a military officer at RTCs, that have been introduced for consideration. (Note: Placing military officers to oversee contractor operations at RTCs is not legally possible under the currentDynCorp contract.) Beyond remedial actions taken, we still hope the matter will not be blown out of proportion, an outcome which would not be good for either the U.S. or Afghanistan. A widely-anticipated newspaper article on the Kunduz scandal has not appeared but, if there is too much noise that may prompt the journalist to publish.

5. (C) Atmar said he insisted the journalist be told that publication would endanger lives. His request was that the U.S. quash the article and release of the video. Amb Mussomeli responded that going to the journalist would give her the sense that there is a more terrible story to report. Atmar then disclosed the arrest of two Afghan National Police (ANP) and nine other Afghans (including RTC language assistants) as part of an MoI investigation into Afghan "facilitators" of the event. The crime he was pursuing was "purchasing a service from a child," which in Afghanistan is illegal under both Sharia law and the civil code, and against the ANP Code of Conduct for police officers who might be involved. He said he would use the civil code and that, in this case, the institution of the ANP will be protected, but he worried about the image of foreign mentors. Atmar said that President Karzai had told him that his (Atmar's) "prestige" was in play in management of the Kunduz DynCorp matter and another recent event in which Blackwater contractors mistakenly killed several Afghan citizens. The President had asked him "Where is the justice?"

6. (C) Atmar said there was a larger issue to consider. He

KABUL 00001651 002 OF 003

understood that within DynCorp there were many "wonderful" people working hard, and he was keen to see proper action taken to protect them; but, these contractor companies do not have many friends. He was aware that many questions about them go to SRAP Holbrooke and, in Afghanistan, there is increasing public skepticism about contractors. On the other hand, the conduct of the Combined Security Transition Command-Afghanistan (CSTC-A) is disciplined. Looking at these facts, he said, he wanted CSTC-A in charge. He wanted the ANP to become a model security institution just like the Afghan National Army (ANA) and National Directorate for Security (NDS), and the contractors were not producing what was desired. He suggested that the U.S. establish and independent commission to review the mentor situation, an idea he said Ambassador Eikenberry had first raised. Atmar added that he also wanted tighter control over Afghan employees. He was convinced that the Kunduz incident, and other events where mentors had obtained drugs, could not have happened without Afghan participation.


David Guyatt
12-09-2010, 10:31 AM
Might I just add that the sentence in the cable: "purchasing a service from a child," does not fully describe the event in question.

The child way an under age boy, I understand.

The "purchasers" were male employees of DynCorp having relaxing "fun" with drugs, booze and pederasty.

Forgive me for noting the possible similarity... (http://www.defendthefamily.com/pfrc/books/pinkswastika/html/the_pinkswastika_4th_edition_-_final.htm)

Magda Hassan
12-09-2010, 10:52 AM
They just want it covered up they're not interested in stopping it or making charges. :banghead:

Ed Jewett
12-09-2010, 09:55 PM
There exists a multi-layered process of 'freedom' and license to get away the practice: it can hide quite successfully because it is geographically remote, socially accepted by some, operates under the umbrella of war, the immunity that offers because of power, military power, private contractors d/b/a/ military power, states' secrecy, and the inherent privacy in corporate matters, and the plausible deniability of precisely who enabled, was in charge, provided, or acted. Any effort on legal grounds to investigate and prosecute would take so long that all the perps would be long dead. Any use of violence (even if possible) to stop or prevent it would harm more innocents and victims than perps, and would not eliminate the root causes (if that is possible), apparent appeal (yuk), or opportunities. No attempts at legislative prevention or remediation or penalty can work for reasons we understand all too well. It seems that all we can do is what we are doing, which is to shine a light into the dark corner. The vermin will scurry. We can order up floodlights.

Ed Jewett
01-30-2011, 04:49 AM
'One third of US military women raped'
Sat Jan 29, 2011 6:59AM

http://previous.presstv.ir/photo/20110129/z.hashemi20110129052920200.jpgWomen serving the US military
Reports indicate that nearly one third of women serving in the US military have been raped, with over two thirds having been otherwise sexually assaulted.

In 2008, 62 percent of those convicted of sexual assault or rape received punishments such as demotion, suspension, or a written reprimand.

“Almost a third of all women serving are raped, and over two thirds sexually assaulted, this problem is rampant and systemic,” National Public Radio has reported.

"Everybody's supposed to have a battle buddy in the army, and females are supposed to have one to go to the latrines with, or to the showers - that's so you don't get raped by one of the men on your own side. But because I was the only female there, I didn't have a battle buddy. My battle buddy was my gun and my knife,'' Army specialist Chantelle Henneberry said.

Back in 2003, a survey of female veterans suggested that 30 percent of the women serving had been raped, while a study conducted in the following year on veterans seeking treatment for post-traumatic stress disorder indicated that 71 percent of the women said they had been sexually assaulted or raped while serving.

Jamie Leigh Jones recently reported that she had been gang-raped back in 2005, and had received severe injuries. An amendment has been added to the defense appropriations bill by Sen. Al Franken.

According to the amendment, defense contractors will be required to allow employees, wherever stationed, to access American courts in cases of rape or assault.

SZH/TG/HRF Related Stories:

'US military facing leadership failure' (http://www.presstv.ir/detail/162189.html)
UN to probe rape reports in US military


Magda Hassan
01-30-2011, 09:56 AM
Doesn't surprise me in the least. And it is not much better outside the military either.

David Guyatt
01-30-2011, 10:43 AM
It surprised me!

I wonder if rape and sexual assault are becoming more prevalent, not less so?

Magda Hassan
01-30-2011, 11:33 AM
The women I known during my years who have not been raped I can count on one hand.

David Guyatt
01-30-2011, 12:12 PM
Bloody hell Maggie, that is startling. Really.

Magda Hassan
01-30-2011, 12:42 PM
I sometimes wonder if I am one of those statistical anomalies but it seems to be similar for most of the women I know too. Is this my peer group and others are different? Possibly. I know it is not scientific. Only a few of them have bothered to go through the legal system so they wont be in the 'official' statistics anyway so I'm not sure how sound the figures are at all.

David Guyatt
01-30-2011, 01:49 PM
I think I must have lived a protected life...

Magda Hassan
01-30-2011, 01:55 PM
This is a good thing. I wish everyone could have a protected life.

Ed Jewett
02-10-2011, 07:23 PM
Blasting a Hole In US Military’s Stone Wall Hiding Facts On Soldier Rape (http://therearenosunglasses.wordpress.com/2011/02/10/blasting-a-hole-in-us-militarys-stone-wall-hiding-facts-on-soldier-rape/)

10 02 2011 [Before enlisting (you should not enlist at all), all women, as well as men, should be aware that the US military is a trauma-based enterprise. You will be traumatized in multiple ways before you get out, rape is possibly one of them. It is no coincidence that fully one-third of all female enlistees report being raped. The numbers on homosexual rape in service cannot be found, perhaps because of known "don't ask, don't tell" policies.]
Military’s ‘Restricted Reporting’ Draws Fire (http://www.womensenews.org/story/military/110209/militarys-restricted-reporting-draws-fire)

By John Lasker
WeNews correspondent
A Defense Department official says a new recourse option for victims of military sex assault is encouraging more to seek care and maintain privacy. Critics call it a military cop out that lets perpetrators go free and lets commanders off the hook.
http://www.womensenews.org/sites/default/files/lead-female-military-officer.jpg(WOMENSENEWS)–U.S. Army veteran Susan Avila-Smith runs the military sexual trauma advocacy group VETWOW, or Veteran Women Organizing Women, based in Seattle. Sadly, it’s a group that numbers 3,000 and is growing.
Avila-Smith has been advocating for military sexual trauma victims since 1995, after the military refused to punish her Army ex-husband after he “jumped up and down” on her pregnant stomach and ended her pregnancy.
When she sought justice from her commanding officers, “I was told not to talk to anybody about it or I would be BCD’d, which is a ‘Bad-Conduct Discharge,’” she said

Avila-Smith says of VETWOW’s 3,000 veterans who were raped during their enlistment by a fellow soldier, nearly all told their commanding officers about the crime, in compliance with military law. Many, she says, described the backlash from the chain of command as worse than rape.
All too often, Avila-Smith says, commanding officers try to intimidate rape victims into silence. Commanding officers, who are judge and jury when it comes to indicting soldiers for alleged crimes while on duty, have also under-prosecuted military rape by ignoring a victim’s accusation, for instance.
The result, she says, is that many who suffer military sexual assault say nothing and try to cope with the psychological aftermath on their own. A 2008 survey of 103 military sexual assault victims by the Government Accountability Office showed half never bothered to report the crime because they believed nothing would come of it and they also feared being ostracized.
To help change how the U.S. military deals with sexual assault committed within its ranks and its aftermath, Susan Burke, a highly-regarded attorney, will be filing a class-action lawsuit on behalf of military sexual trauma survivors next week. The lawsuit, which will be announced Feb. 15 during a press conference at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., will ask for both damages and changes in the military’s practices.
Women’s Military Roles Increase

Since Sept 11, which ignited two major conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq and lesser anti-terror campaigns across the globe, such as in Africa, the Department of Defense, or DOD, has never been more dependent on female soldiers.
Today, women account for 20 percent of all military personnel, or 300,000 total, compared to 1970 when women accounted for only 1.4 percent. When troop levels in Iraq were at their highest, there were four times more women in the military than during the 1991 Gulf War. Women have garnered two Silver Stars for bravery–the military’s third-highest decoration awarded for extraordinary heroism while engaged in combat with the enemy–since Sept. 11. Only one Silver Star had ever been awarded to a woman before in the nation’s history.
Today in Afghanistan, Marine “female engagement teams”–heavily-armed and in full gear–are on patrol in the countryside to win over the hearts and minds of Afghan women. They’re also checking the women for hidden weapons so to be less offensive to the sex-segregated rules of Afghan society.
But as more women enter war zones, the numbers of military sex trauma cases have risen, with women as the majority of victims. Military sexual assaults in war zones rose 26 percent from 2007 to 2008, and another 33 percent over the following year, according to annual reports from the U.S. Department of Defense.
Female veterans have been pressing Congress to take action on military sexual trauma since the Vietnam War, recharging their efforts following the 2003 Air Force Academy sexual assault scandal. In 2004, Congress mandated the Department of Defense to form task forces to address the issue and establish prevention strategies.
These task forces made confidentiality for rape victims from their chain of command a top priority.
Two-Track Reporting Policy

In 2005 the Department of Defense also created the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office, or SAPRO, the military’s first lead office to deal strictly with sexual assault. It soon initiated a two-track sexual assault reporting policy: restricted and unrestricted.
Restricted reporting allows the victim a new choice of bypassing chain of command. Instead of reporting the assault to a superior, restricted reporting permits a victim to call a sexual assault response coordinator on a hotline or tell a victim advocate, such as a chaplain or health care professional. Once a restricted report is made, advocacy and counseling is initiated for the victim, but an investigation is not triggered. The victim’s identity is never revealed.
Unrestricted reporting sticks with tradition. Service members who desire an investigation along with health care services must notify commanding officers of the rape and who they’re accusing.
Dr. Karen Whitley, director of SAPRO, told a congressional hearing that restricted reporting and the 3,500 soldiers who used it since 2005 represented “remarkable progress.”
In a subsequent interview with Women’s eNews she reiterated that.
“That’s 3,500 people we feel we’re helping that would have never come forward if not for restricted reporting,” she said.
But there are several glaring drawbacks to restricted reporting, says Avila-Smith, and they’re posted on a SAPRO-related Web site called SHARP, or the U.S. Army’s Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention program.
For one, the assailant goes unpunished and is capable of assaulting other victims. For another, the victim continues to have contact with the assailant, even if he or she shares the same living quarter.
Struggling to Find Balance

“We’ve struggled with this but what we want is people to come forward and get the care they need,” said Whitley, referring to an assailant’s immunity from investigation.
To VETWOW and other related advocacy groups, restricted reporting has meant 3,500 alleged predators got away with rape, says Avila-Smith.
“Restricted reporting? It’s a joke,” she scoffed.
VETWOW believes the No. 1 priority is holding commanding officers accountable. That would mean that higher-ranked commanders or civilians trained in prosecuting sexual assault would have oversight of military sex trauma investigations of commanding officers and an equal or greater say when administering an indictment.
Other advocates are also championing institutional overhauls.
U.S. Army veteran Olga Ferrer is the director of A Black Rose, a nonprofit focused on military sexual trauma that’s based in Melbourne, Fla. During the Gulf War, while stationed in Kuwait, she was alone in a shared shower facility when a male soldier snuck up from behind and raped her. She filled out an incident report to commanding officers, but when she sought out military police to inquire if they would assist with the investigation, they told her the report “had disappeared.”
She is adamant the only way to end military sex trauma is to involve a civilian element.
“Every military site–overseas or in the U.S.–should have a unit or group, that includes doctors, nurses, therapists, that investigates sexual assaults and does not fall under the DOD or military,” she said.
Restricted reporting makes Ferrer’s anger boil over.
“The alleged rapist should immediately be removed from the victim’s unit and the victim should also be placed somewhere else. They should not be working together, period!” she said. “The only one being restricted is the victim.”
This story was partially funded by the Spot.us crowd funding site for independent journalists.

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Originally from Buffalo, N.Y., John Lasker is a freelance journalist based in Columbus, Ohio, whose work has appeared in Wired, Christian Science Monitor, Toward Freedom and the Buffalo News.
For more information:

Veteran Women Organizing Women:
A Black Rose:

Magda Hassan
02-16-2011, 03:33 AM
17 Victims Sue Pentagon Over 'Plague' of Sexual Violence

Feb 15, 2011 – 3:25 PM

Text Size

http://www.blogcdn.com/www.aolnews.com/media/2010/12/andrea-stonepic.jpg (http://www.aolnews.com/team/andrea-stone/) Andrea Stone (http://www.aolnews.com/team/andrea-stone/) Senior Washington Correspondent

WASHINGTON -- It may become a landmark case to force the military to take rape and sexual assault seriously. Or it could be yet another failed attempt in a decades-long battle by women to be accepted in the armed forces.

Seventeen veterans and active-duty service members today took the first step to determining that, suing the Pentagon on charges of violating their constitutional rights to serve their country.

They accused two secretaries of defense of condoning, ignoring and implicitly encouraging sexual abuse in the ranks in a 42-page complaint (http://www.scribd.com/doc/48879866/Military-Rape-and-Sexual-Assault-Litigation) filed in federal district court in Alexandria, Va., which contains phrases like "f---ing whore," "bitch" and "troublemaker."
The plaintiffs, who include two men, come from every military branch. They charge they were victimized twice -- once by their assailants and again by the institution they served.

"The system is driven by rape myths," said Myla Haider, a former Army criminal investigator who was raped by a co-worker. The co-worker was later court-martialed in another case as a "serial sex offender."

"There is a pervasive attitude within DOD that any man might commit these types of offenses and therefore when these things do come up it is seen as something that is commited by a peer or just another soldier" and not taken seriously, said Haider, a plaintiff in the suit.

Such attitudes aren't new. Ever since the infamous Tailhook scandal (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tailhook_scandal) broke out in 1991 after the first Gulf War, an unending series of investigations, congressional hearings, reports, training regimens and special offices have sought to end the problem that the acronym-obsessed service now has given its very own name: MST -- military sexual trauma.

Eleanor Smeal of the Feminist Majority Foundation, who has watched for decades as women warriors (http://www.aolnews.com/2010/02/26/for-women-in-military-a-long-slog-toward-acceptance/) fought to be accepted in the macho ranks of the military, said the challenge in civil court "is necessary because so much else has failed."

As a Marine captain, Anuradha Bhagwati witnessed her own senior officers violate sexual harassment policies.

http://o.aolcdn.com/photo-hub/news_gallery/7/0/705804/1297800059893.JPEG Cliff Owen, AP
Anuradha Bhagwati, 35, of New York, is executive director of the Service Women's Action Network. She says sexual violence in the military "threatens our national security."

Bhagwati is now the head of the advocacy group Service Women's Action Network. She says she has seen those violators "shirk their responsibilities to their own troops ... transfer sexual predators out of the units instead of prosecuting them, promote sexual predators during ongoing investigations and accuse highly decorated enlisted service members of lying."

She called sexual violence "a plague upon the United States military" that "threatens our national security by undermining operational readiness, draining morale, harming retention and destroying lives."

The stories told by Haider and other plaintiffs at a news conference this morning were harrowing. Among them:

Kori Cioca, the lead plaintiff, said she was constantly harassed by her Coast Guard supervisor. After she made a mistake during a knot-tying quiz, he called her a "stupid f---ing female, who didn't belong in the military" and then spit in her face. After complaining to her superior, the abuse escalated to stalking, sexual harassment and ultimately rape in December 2005. Despite an admission from her rapist, commanders told Cioca if she pressed charges she would be court-martialed for lying and later faced retaliation.
Sarah Albertson was raped by a fellow Marine who outranked her in 2006. Because they had been drinking alcohol, both she and the man were charged with "inappropriate barracks conduct," and she was ordered to "respect" her assailant. Commanders forced the corporal to interact with her rapist for two more years, suspending her security clearance and downgrading her work assignments because she took prescription medicine to cope with the trauma of being forced to live and work with her rapist.
Rebekah Havrilla was an Army sergeant serving in Afghanistan in 2006 when she was sexually harassed by a supervisor and later raped by another soldier. She reported it under the military's restricted reporting policy (http://womensenews.org/story/military/110209/militarys-restricted-reporting-draws-fire). When she later saw her rapist at a base in Missouri, she went into shock and sought the help of a military chaplain. She said he told her "it must have been God's will for her to be raped" and recommended she attend church more often.

Most of the plaintiffs have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2008-01-01-womenvets_N.htm) or other mental stress problems. They charged the Pentagon with a "systemic failure to stop rape and sexual assault."
http://o.aolcdn.com/photo-hub/news_gallery/7/0/705802/1297799933360.JPEG Cliff Owen, AP
Veterans Kori Cioca, 25, of Wilmington, Ohio, left, and Panayiota Bertzikis, 29, of Somerville, Mass., were both assaulted and raped while serving in the U.S. Coast Guard. They are among the plaintiffs suing the Pentagon over its approach to rape and sexual assault cases.

The suit names former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and his successor, Robert Gates, for failing to "eradicate a well-entrenched misogynistic military culture that permits Command to scoff at rape allegations, threaten victims with courts martial and exercise unfettered discretion to decide to use 'non-judicial punishment' to penalize rape and sexual assault."

The lawsuit specifically cites Rumsfeld, desperate for volunteers to fight in Afghanistan and Iraq, for granting "moral waivers" to recruits arrested or convicted of domestic and sexual violence. Despite a federal law making it a felony for such offenders to possess a firearm, he provided an exception to members of the military.

Sex crimes, it noted, soared 24 percent in the year before Rumsfeld's resignation in 2006.

Gates is charged with "failing to take reasonable steps" to protect the plaintiffs from repeated abuse. It notes that he directed the head of the Pentagon's Sexual Assault and Prevention and Response Office to ignore a congressional subpoena to testify and failed to create a centralized database of sex crimes as mandated by lawmakers.

The current defense secretary's "failures to act ... led to a steady and dramatic increase" in the number of rapes and sexual assaults, rising by 25 percent in Iraq and Afghanistan in 2007 and continuing to increase at double digits annually since then.

"Sexual assault is a wider societal problem, and Secretary Gates has been working with the service chiefs to make sure the U.S. military is doing all it can to prevent and respond to it," Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said in a statement.

"That means providing more money, personnel, training and expertise, including reaching out to other large institutions such as universities to learn best practices. This is now a command priority, but we clearly still have more work to do in order to ensure all of our service members are safe from abuse."

The lawsuit cited the Pentagon's own statistics that reported 3,230 rapes and other sexual assaults in 2009. Because the military acknowledges that 80 percent of victims don't report the crime, the real number may be more than 16,000.

Moreover, the complaint charges that the Department of Defense "fails to report conviction rates from courts marital, which is critical data needed by Congress to assess whether reforms are being implemented."

Still, the plaintiffs face a high hurdle.

Eugene Fidell, president of the National Institute of Military Justice, said the facts as presented in the complaint are "certainly disturbing" and merit attention from Pentagon leaders. However, he said he is "skeptical that this case, as a case, will gain any traction" in court.

From a legal point of view, he said, it is a steep climb for 17 plaintiffs to argue for systemic abuses in a military of some 2 million people.

"I don't know that a culture of sexism and misogyny has ever been recognized as a basis" for suing for violations of equal protection, he added. "Not every sexual assault is a violation of equal protection."