News


Arrests of US Sailors in Okinawa Reignites Opposition to Bases

Justin McCurry
The Christian Science Monitor
October 18, 2012

The arrest of two American sailors on suspicion of raping a woman in Okinawa has reignited tensions over the US military’s longstanding presence on the southern Japanese island.

Japanese police are questioning the suspects, named as Seaman Christopher Browning and Petty Officer 3rd Class Skyler Dozierwalker, both 23, who were arrested after allegedly raping the unnamed woman as she walked home in the early hours of Tuesday. Mr. Dozierwalker has reportedly admitted to committing the crime, Japanese media said.

Japan’s Defense minister, Satoshi Morimoto, called the alleged rape an “extremely egregious and vile incident,” and attributed it to a “failure on how the US military trains its personnel.”

To read the full story in the Christian Science Monitor, click here.

For additional reporting on this issue, refer to the links below:

Pentagon Aiding Probe of Alleged Rape of Okinawa Woman by Two U.S. Sailors, CBS News, October 18, 2012

U.S. Tries to Soothe Okinawa Nerves, The Wall Street Journal, October 17, 2012

Two US Sailors Accused of Okinawa Rape,  The Guardian,  October 17, 2012

Japanese Fury as 2 US Sailors Arrested in Okinawa Rape Case,  Digital Journal,  October 18, 2012

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Okinawa Residents Angry Over Attack on Woman by U.S. Serviceman

 

The Mainichi
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.

#ReasonToRise

 

Eve Ensler

Bukavu, Congo

 

From the Huffington Post

 

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.

The Green Light to Rape:

What Happens When We Fail to
Prosecute the Rapist

 

 

Jennifer McClendon
OpEdNews.com
June 1, 2012

 

 

The difference between what happens to a rapist and a rape victim has shocked the senses of the American public since US Congressional Representative Jackie Speier (D-CA) began in 2011 sharing the personal accounts of military rape victims to other members of the House of Representatives in a weekly address to the House.

I do not like the term “Military Sexual Trauma.” Rape is a horrible and gut-wrenching event that destabilizes the family and the community and shocks the victim. Military Sexual Trauma is a watered-down term for a horrendous human rights violation that is too often dismissed by military legal authorities.

Rape shocks the victim. A victim in shock is given several psychiatric labels that may threaten the victim’s perceived job readiness. Military and Department of Veteran’s Affairs doctors will bend over backwards to label what was once called Rape Trauma Syndrome and is now considered a form of or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) as Bipolar or Borderline Personality Disorder. This is a form of psychiatrically sanctioned victim-blaming and a way of denying benefits to veterans that were traumatized by rape.

 

To read Jennifer McClendon’s full article at the OpEdNews.com web site, click here.

Veterans Chuck Medals Towards NATO Conference

 

Tyler Davis
Gapers Block
May 20, 2012

Thousands marched from Grant Park to the intersection Michigan Avenue and Cermak Road, about two miles, led by the Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW). At the end of the march, as close to the NATO conference at McCormick Place as the demonstrators were allowed to go, veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan threw their military service medals onto the ground as a symbolical gesture of their disapproval.

“This medal right here is for the one-third of women in the military who are sexually assaulted by their peers,” said Aaron Hughes, who served in the National Guard from 2000-2006, as he threw a medal towards McCormick Place. “And this medal right here is because I’m sorry.”

“Our enemies are not 7,000 miles away, they sit in board rooms,” said Vince Emanuel, a veteran.

Although the protestors made it to the intersection with no incident, a clash between police and protestors occurred after the ceremony.

To view this story on the Gapers Block web site, click here.

John W. Adkisson for The New York Times

Once Hailed as Army Pioneer, Now Battling to Stay on the Job

 

James Dao
The New York Times
May 11, 2012

 

When Command Sgt. Maj. Teresa L. King was named the first female commandant of the Army’s elite drill sergeant school in 2009, proponents of gender equality in the military hailed the news as a watershed.

Sergeant Major King headed the Army’s drill sergeant school at Fort Jackson, S.C.

But it did not take long for the grumbling to start. Students who flunked out of the school complained that she set unfair standards. Some of her own instructors said she rigidly enforced old-fashioned rules. Traditionalists across the service asked: how could a woman with no experience in combat manage the Army’s only school for training the trainers who prepare recruits for war?

She says she tried to ignore the criticism, but her superiors did not. Last November, they suspended Sergeant Major King, forbidding contact with students or staff and opening an investigation into what they called the “toxic” environment at the school. As that review dragged on, she says she felt like a criminal: isolated, publicly humiliated and so despondent that friends worried that she might hurt herself.

To read the full story at the New York Times, click here.

 

Additional Reporting from The New York Times:

At War Blog: Head of Drill Sergeant School Reinstated The New York Times, (May 4, 2012)

First Woman to Lead Army Drill Sergeant School Is Suspended  The New York Times, (December 15, 2011)

First Woman Ascends to Top Drill Sergeant Spot The New York Times, (September 22, 2009)

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