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.

The Dark Side of the Prestigious
Marine Barracks

 

Col. Ann Wright
truthdig.com
May 8, 2012

According to Marine Corps lore, semper fidelis, a Latin phrase for “always faithful,” commands Marines to remain a “brotherhood, faithful to the mission at hand, to each other, to the Corps and to country, no matter what. Becoming a Marine is a transformation that cannot be undone and once made, a Marine will forever live by the ethics and values of the Corps.”

The Marine Barracks in Washington, D.C., is the official residence of the commandant of the Marine Corps. It is the home of the Marines who are the ceremonial guard for the president during official U.S. government functions and the security force for the White House and Camp David. The Marine Band, also located at the Barracks, is known as “The President’s Own.” The Barracks is the showplace of the Marine Corps with its Silent Drill Platoon giving weekly military precision performances for the public during the busy summer tourist season.

But the Marine Barracks has its dark and ugly side. It is also the home of officers and enlisted men of the Marine Corps who have been accused of sexually harassing, assaulting and raping female Marine officers and enlisted and civilian women who work there.

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

Obama Addresses Sex Violence at Holocaust Museum

 

Rochelle G. Saidel
WeNews
April 27, 2012

 

On April 23, President Barack Obama delivered an address at a ceremony at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., intended both to commemorate the Holocaust and to outline his administration’s efforts to honor the pledge of “never again” by developing a comprehensive strategy to prevent and respond to genocide and mass atrocities.

Regarding sexual violence and genocide, he said: “We’re doing more to protect women and girls from the horror of wartime sexual violence.” He added that, “for the first time, we explicitly barred entry into the United States of those responsible for war crimes and crimes against humanity.” Such crimes now include rape and sexual violence, according to the United Nations.

Remember the Women Institute, which has been at the forefront of efforts to raise awareness about sexual violence against women during the Holocaust, believes it’s significant that Obama chose this occasion and this location to make his statement about “the horror of wartime sexual violence.”

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

 

Additional Reporting:

Obama at the United States Holocaust Museum in Washington,  The Washington Post, April 23, 2012

Watch President Obama Speak at the Museum,  US Holocaust Memorial Museum, April 23, 2012

Remarks by the President at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, The White House, April 23, 2012

 

Special Collection:

Sexual Violence in the Military

 

The National Online Resource Center on Violence Against Women (VAWnet.org) has assembled a Special Collection that “addresses sexual violence against military service members, defines Military Sexual Trauma (MST), and offers resources (including information on current policy, procedures, legislation, and litigation) to support the prevention of and response to sexual violence as it impacts service members and veterans in the United States.”

The online collection includes a glossary of terms, information from experts in fields of sexual violence and military cultureas well as US Department of Defense policy materials. It is a great resource for both scholars and interested citizens on the issues of military sexual violence.

 

According to the National Online Resource Center on Violence Against Women, the purpose of the special collection is to:

  • Provide information on issues and concepts specific to sexual violence against military service members;
  • Define the term Military Sexual Trauma;
  • Inform on current policy, procedures, legislation, and litigation that may impact members of the military, veterans, and advocates;
  • Offer resources for service members, veterans, advocates, educators, and prevention practitioners; and
  • Share additional resources and organizations serving as partners, collaborators, advocates, or allies for service members and veterans impacted by sexual violence.

 

To visit the special collection on Sexual Violence in the Military at VAWnet.org, click here.

Rep Speier Speaks Out Against Military Rape on CNN Presents

 

April 22, 2012

Congresswoman Speier was featured on the April 22, 2012 CNN Presents special “Betrayal of Trust” to talk about her efforts and legislation to end the epidemic of rape and sexual assault in the military.

The special tells the stories of two young women who were raped while serving as cadets at military service academies and then examines their barriers to justice. Congresswoman Speier explains that justice will only be served when cases of rape and sexual assault are taken out of the chain of command structure.

“If you’re not going to have your assailant prosecuted, why would you want to come forward? Because you’re basically setting yourself up to lose your career in the military,” said Speier.

 

 

 

For additional information:

Rep. Jackie Speier | Rape and Sexual Assault in the Military

Speier Critical Over Military’s Handling of Rape,   KGO-TV,  March 7, 2012

Betrayal of Trust? Allegations of Rape at West Point, Annapolis

Protect Our Defenders

Letter to STOP Act Co-Sponsors (call to action)

 

“H.R. 3435, the Sexual Assault Training Oversight and Prevention Act – or STOP Act which would take the reporting, oversight, investigation and victim care of sexual assaults out of the hands of the military’s normal chain of command and place jurisdiction in the newly created, autonomous Sexual Assault Oversight and Response Office comprised of civilian and military experts.”  (Rep. Jackie Speier)

 

To see the current status of “The STOP Act” click the links below:

STOP Act Summary

The Stop Act: The Sexual Assault Training Oversight and Prevention Act (H.R. 3435)

The Pentagon Is Camouflaging the Truth About Rape in the Military

 

Nancy Parrish
Huffington Post
April 20, 2012

On Friday of last week, the Department of Defense issued its Annual Report on Sexual Assault in the Military. First conducted in 2004, this report has helped shine a light on the severity and scope of the crisis of rape in the US military. The disturbing statistics that have been reported include the stunning estimate that, in FY 2010, there were 19,000 sexual assaults among Active Duty personnel.

The 2011 report validates our worst fears. The data shows that the military’s handling of sexual assaults is getting worse, much worse. Charges, courts-martial and convictions plummeted, but there is absolutely no indication that sex crimes decreased.

But while the report is extremely troubling, of even greater concern is the Pentagon’s determined effort to confuse and misinform the public about its own findings.

To read the full piece at the Huffington Post, click here.

 

To reach for web site archive of  the Department of Defense Annual Reports on Sexual Assaults in the Military, click here.

 

 

Nancy Parrish is the President of Protect Our Defenders.

 

Click here to learn more about how the organization is working to “honor, support and give voice to the brave women and men in uniform who have been raped or sexually assaulted by fellow service members. “