Opinion


Sexual Violence and the Military

 

New York Times
Editorial
March 9, 2012

 

The rate of sexual assaults on American women serving in the military remains intolerably high. While an estimated 17 percent of women in the general population become victims at some point in their lives, a 2006 study of female veterans financed by the Department of Veterans Affairs estimated that between 23 percent and 33 percent of uniformed women had been assaulted. Those estimates are borne out in other surveys, and a recent Pentagon report on sexual assaults at the service academies found that in the 2010-11 academic year, cadets and midshipmen were involved in 65 reported assaults.

To continue reading, at the New York Times click here.

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Victims of Military Rape Deserve Justice

 

Rep. Jackie Speier
Special to CNN
February 8, 2012

Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta has announced new initiatives to curtail what he calls “the epidemic” of rape and sexual assaults in our armed forces. In 2010, an estimated 19,000 service members were raped or sexually assaulted by other service members. Clearly, more resources devoted to counseling for victims and training for prosecutors and judges will help.

But the incidence of unpunished rapes will continue and so will the damaging effects these illegal acts have on troop morale and preparedness. This epidemic requires an overhaul of the military justice system.

To read the full piece on CNN, click here.

Additional Reporting:

DoD Seeks to Crack Down on Sex Assaults in Ranks,  Reuters,  Jan. 18, 2012

Panetta: Could be 19,000 Military Sex Assaults Each Year, MSNBC.com, Jan 18, 2012

 

To view Rep. Speier’s speeches to the House on the issue of military rape, click here.

Rep. Speier is the honorary chair of Protect Our Defenders, an organization that supports women and men in uniform who have been raped or sexually assaulted by fellow service members. Those who wish to share their stories can do so at Protect Our Defenders.

Liz Trotta: Thanks for the Laughs,
Now a Few Facts

 

Wendy Murphy
We•News   womensenews.org
February 24, 2012

When Fox News’ Liz Trotta tried to comment on the rise of rape in the military she turned herself into a laughing stock. Wendy Murphy would like to follow up with some serious ideas about who does and doesn’t belong on the front lines.

Fox News Channel’s Liz Trotta has by now taken plenty of heat and ridicule for expressing the idea that rape, for military women, is inevitable.

Comedy Central’s Jon Stewart has skewered her on the Daily Show, online activists are circulating a petition to stop blaming military rape survivors, and plenty of other columnists have added their own angles of derision.

But before the dust settles on this particular media faux pas, I’d like to add a few deadly serious facts to the discussion of who rapes and suffers rape in the military and who does and doesn’t belong in the military.

To read Wendy Murphy’s full commentary at the We•News site, click here.

US Military Leadership Says “Zero Tolerance for Murder, Assault and Hazing,” But Marine Corps Courts Rule Differently

 

Colonel Ann Wright, US Army Reserves (Retired)
warisacrime.org
February 13, 2012

Despite US military leadership stating there is zero tolerance for murder, assault and hazing, recent Marine Corps court-martial plea bargains and court-martial panel decisions in manslaughter and assault trials indicate strong institutional “tolerance” for those crimes.

None of 8 Marines Charged in the notorious 2005 Haditha Murder of 24 Unarmed Civilian Iraqis is Convicted

Six years after a horrific attack in 2005 on unarmed Iraqi civilians in the town of Haditha, Iraq, in which 24 persons, including seven children, a toddler, three women and a 76-year-old man in a wheelchair, were killed by US Marines in retaliation for an IED blowing up a Marine vehicle in which one Marine died, no Marines have been found guilty of murder or manslaughter.

To read the full piece at warisacrime.org, click here.

Victims of Military Rape Deserve Justice

 

Rep. Jackie Speier
Special to CNN.com
February 7, 2012

Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta has announced new initiatives to curtail what he calls “the epidemic” of rape and sexual assaults in our armed forces. In 2010, an estimated 19,000 service members were raped or sexually assaulted by other service members. Clearly, more resources devoted to counseling for victims and training for prosecutors and judges will help.

But the incidence of unpunished rapes will continue and so will the damaging effects these illegal acts have on troop morale and preparedness. This epidemic requires an overhaul of the military justice system.

To read Rep. Speier’s  opinion piece at CNN.com, click here.

In This Rape Center, the Patient Was 3

 

Nicholas D. Kristof
The New York Times
October 8, 2011

 

In a rape treatment center here, I met a 3-year-old patient named Jessica, who was cuddling a teddy bear.

Jessica had seemed sick and was losing weight, but she wouldn’t say what was wrong. Her mother took her to a clinic, and a doctor ferreted out the truth. She had been raped and was infected with gonorrhea.

As I stood in the rape center corridor, reeling from the encounter with Jessica, a 4-year-old girl was brought in for treatment. She, too, turned out to have been infected with a sexually transmitted disease in the course of a rape. Also in the center that day were a 10-year-old and a 12-year-old, along with older girls.

Sexual violence is a public health crisis in much of the world, and women and girls ages 15 to 44 are more likely to be maimed or killed by men than by malaria, cancer, war or traffic accidents combined, according to a 2005 study. Such violence remains a significant problem in the United States, but it’s particularly prevalent in countries like Sierra Leone, Liberia or Congo that have endured civil war. The pattern is that after peace arrives, men stop shooting each other but continue to rape women and girls at staggering rates — and often at staggeringly young ages.

 

To read the full piece in The New York Times, click here.

 

 

President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Leymah Gbowee and Tawakul Karman Photo: Los Angeles Times

Liberia’s Leymah Gbowee: The Power of the Powerless

Carol Mithers
Los Angeles Times
October 9, 2011

Friday morning, Liberian peace activist Leymah Gbowee — along with her country’s president, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, and Yemeni activist Tawakul Karman — was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize. A decade ago, this moment would have seemed unthinkable. But Gbowee’s triumph, like last spring’s Arab uprisings, is a powerful reminder that in the 21st century world, change often comes from the bottom — not from a country’s armies but its people.

In 2001, Liberia was in the grip of a civil war that had been going on for years and that had decimated the country. More than 100,000 people had died, many of them children, and countless women had been raped. As many as a third of Liberians had been displaced. Much of the country’s infrastructure — its sewage and electrical system, roads, hospitals and schools — lay in ruins. Thousands of boys had been pressed into fighting for one side or another, fed liquor and drugs and turned into killers.

To read the full column in The Los Angeles Times, click here.

Carol Mithers is a Los Angeles Journalist and the coauthor, with Leymah Gbowee, of the memoir “Mighty Be Our Powers: How Sisterhood, Prayer, and Sex Changed a Nation at War.”http://www.mightybeourpowers.com

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