Okinawa Residents Angry Over Attack on Woman by U.S. Serviceman
August 21, 2012
Residents in this base-hosting prefecture have expressed outrage over an indecent assault on an Okinawa woman by an American serviceman, reiterating their calls for a withdrawal of U.S. forces.
“The pain and fear felt by the victim are immeasurable, and the incident provoked strong fear among local communities,” said Suzuyo Takasato, a representative of the “Okinawa Women Act Against Military Violence,” during a press conference at the Okinawa Prefectural Government office on Aug. 20.
Corporal Iian Tarver, 21, of the U.S. Marine Corps’ Camp Zukeran is under arrest for allegedly committing indecent acts on a woman in her 40s and injuring her after dragging her to the ground on a road in Naha at around 4:30 a.m. on Aug. 18.
To read the full story at The Mainichi web site, click here.
[IMAGE CREDIT: Suzuyo Takasato, second from right, a representative of the “Okinawa Women Act Against Military Violence,” calls for a withdrawal of U.S. forces during a press conference at the Okinawa Prefectural Government office on the afternoon of Aug. 20. (Mainichi)]
Dear Todd Akin,
I am writing to you tonight about rape. It is 2 AM and I am unable to sleep here in the Democratic Republic of Congo. I am in Bukavu at the City of Joy to serve and support and work with hundreds, thousands of women who have been raped and violated and tortured from this ceaseless war for minerals fought on their bodies.
I am in Congo but I could be writing this from anywhere in the United States, South Africa, Britain, Egypt, India, Philippines, most college campuses in America. I could be writing from any city or town or village where over half a billion women on the planet are raped in their lifetime.
Mr. Akin, your words have kept me awake.
As a rape survivor, I am reeling from your recent statement where you said you misspoke when you said that women do not get pregnant from legitimate rape, and that you were speaking “off the cuff.”
Clarification. You didn’t make some glib throw away remark. You made a very specific ignorant statement clearly indicating you have no awareness of what it means to be raped. And not a casual statement, but one made with the intention of legislating the experience of women who have been raped. Perhaps more terrifying: it was a window into the psyche of the GOP.
You used the expression “legitimate” rape as if to imply there were such a thing as “illegitimate” rape. Let me try to explain to you what that does to the minds, hearts and souls of the millions of women on this planet who experience rape. It is a form of re-rape. The underlying assumption of your statement is that women and their experiences are not to be trusted. That their understanding of rape must be qualified by some higher, wiser authority. It delegitimizes and undermines and belittles the horror, invasion, desecration they experienced. It makes them feel as alone and powerless as they did at the moment of rape.
When you, Paul Ryan and 225 of your fellow co-sponsors play with words around rape suggesting only “forcible” rape be treated seriously as if all rapes weren’t forcible, it brings back a flood of memories of the way the rapists played with us in the act of being raped — intimidating us, threatening us,muting us. Your playing with words like “forcible” and “legitimate” is playing with our souls which have been shattered by unwanted penises shoving into us, ripping our flesh, our vaginas, our consciousness, our confidence, our pride, our futures.
Now you want to say that you misspoke when you said that a legitimate rape couldn’t get us pregnant. Did you honestly believe that rape sperm is different than love sperm, that some mysterious religious process occurs and rape sperm self-destructs due to its evilcontent? Or, were you implying that women and their bodies are somehow responsible for rejecting legitimate rape sperm, once again putting the onus on us? It would seem you were saying that getting pregnant after a rape would indicate it was not a “legitimate” rape.
Here’s what I want you to do. I want you to close your eyes and imagine that you are on your bed or up against a wall or locked in a small suffocating space. Imagine being tied up there and imagine some aggressive, indifferent, insane stranger friend or relative ripping off your clothes and entering your body — the most personal, sacred, private part of your body — and violently, hatefully forcing themself into you so that you are ripped apart. Then imagine that stranger’s sperm shooting into you and filling you and you can’t get it out. It is growing something in you. Imagine you have no idea what that life will even consist of, spiritually made in hate, not knowing the mental or health background of the rapist.
Then imagine a person comes along, a person who has never had that experience of rape, and that person tells you, you have no choice but to keep that product of rape growing in you against your will and when it is born it has the face of your rapist, the face of the person who has essentially destroyed your being and you will have to look at the face every day of your life and you will be judged harshly if you cannot love that face.
I don’t know if you can imagine any of this (leadership actually requires this kind of compassion), but if you are willing to go to the depth of this darkness, you will quickly understand that there is NO ONE WHO CAN MAKE THAT CHOICE to have or not have the baby, but the person carrying that baby herself.
I have spent much time with mothers who have given birth to children who are the product of rape. I have watched how tortured they are wrestling with their hate and anger, trying not to project that onto their child.
I am asking you and the GOP to get out of my body, out of my vagina, my womb, to get out of all of our bodies. These are not your decisions to make. These are not your words to define.
Why don’t you spend your time ending rape rather than redefining it? Spend your energy going after those perpetrators who so easily destroy women rather than parsing out manipulative language that minimizes their destruction.
And by the way you’ve just given millions of women a very good reason to make sure you never get elected again, and an insanely good reason to rise.
From the Huffington Post
Military Partners and Families Coalition (MPFC) has released an online Community Study Survey, as a result of an award given by the National Network of Libraries of Medicine.
The study, the first of its kind, will provide a better understanding of the health care disparities and possible inaccessibility for lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) servicemember families that may have resulted from the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT)’ policy. It will also highlight some of the challenges that the LGB servicemember family community continues to face today.
“We are members of a community that for many years has been hidden and not heard from,” proclaimed MPFC President, Ariana Bostian‐Kentes, “Mental health is just one of the realms in which the needs of the LGBT military family community have yet to be addressed and we are working to change that now. We intend to work closely with MPFC’s coalition members and other independent organizations to support all families of those serving our country.”
According to the National Network of Libraries of Medicine, reliable consumer health information helps people understand and advocate for their health and the health of their families, whether the information addresses specific health conditions and treatments or prevention and wellness. Through this survey, it may now be possible to bring consumer health information resources to a previously underserved population; improved physical and mental health may finally become a reality through targeted services.
Please take a few moments and share your experiences and thoughts by participating in the survey here. MPFC ensures anonymity of all those who choose to participate.
About Military Partners and Families Coalition (MPFC): MPFC is a private non-profit, non-partisan organization based in Washington, D.C. It was founded in 2011 by a group of partners of active duty U.S. Armed forces servicemembers station in the U.S. and overseas. MPFC provides support, resources, education and advocacy for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender military partners and their families. For more information, go to www.milpfc.org.
04-03-12 By Stuart I. Quinn, Program Coordinator, MPFC
Originally posted at: http://www.sldn.org/blog/archives/guest-blog-military-partners-families-coalition-seeks-answers/