When “Jane” Comes Marching Home Again

 

Elayne Clift
Women’s Media Center
June 1, 2012

 

In May the Army began a new Defense Department policy that will open an additional 14,000 positions for women. Will we be ready for them when they come home?

It didn’t take long for Jenny McClendon, trained as a sonar operator in the Navy, to experience sexual harassment when she joined the military in 1997. Immediately subjected to harassment by her male counterparts when she refused their sexual advances, they said she wasn’t “tough enough to be in the military.” Finally she complained to superiors, who said that being harassed was a necessary part of training. A first class petty officer called her “a lesbian, a feminist, and a Democrat,” grounds for throwing her overboard, he said.

McClendon’s experience is not unusual. The kind of abuse she describes is widely acknowledged, although probably under-reported by female veterans. And it gets worse. Jenny McClendon was raped by a superior while on watch aboard her ship one night. It was the first of two “military sexual traumas” (MSTs) she suffered while in the service.

To read the full article at the WMC web site, click here.

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