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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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.

Military Sexual Assault Lawsuit

 

A new lawsuit was filed in the US District Court in Washington, DC on March 6, 2012, behalf of eight current and former members of the Navy and Marine Corps. The lawsuit, filed by Susan L. Burke on behalf of the plaintiffs, charges that the

“laws designed to reduce rape, sexual assault and harassment in the Navy and Marine Corps directly and seriously harmed Plaintiffs and others who have reported rape and sexual assault and have challenged sexual harassment. Rather than being respected and appreciated for reporting crimes and unprofessional conduct, Plaintiffs and others who report are branded ‘troublemakers,’ endure egregious and blatant retaliation, and are often forced out of military service.”

The office of Burke PLLC is continuing their work on behalf of soldiers and officers who were raped while on active duty. If you were raped or assaulted, and are interested in representation, please contact the Burke PLLC office paralegal, Miranda Petersen at mpetersen@burkepllc.com for further information.

A copy of the complaint is available from the links below thanks to the staff of Burke PLLC.
(PDF and Flash versions below)

Military Sexual Assault Complaint (PDF)


In this post, usmvaw offers information about some significant current events that address the ongoing problems of sexual harrassment, assault, and rape of women and men in the military.

The class-action lawsuit filed in February of this year by seventeen U.S. veterans against Defense Secretary Robert Gates and his predecessor Donald Rumsfield has been amended.

The lawsuit now lists twenty-eight plaintiffs.

The amended version is available in PDF format at the Service Women’s Action Network (SWAN) web site. To read it, click here.

On November 17th, the Military Rape Crisis Center will be joining Congresswoman Jackie Speier (CA-12) at the National Press Club in Washington DC for a press conference regarding Sexual Assault and Harassment in the Military.

Congresswoman Speier will announce legislation to address the systematic problem of sexual assault and harassment among our men and women in the military.

If you would like to attend this event, please RSVP to Congresswoman Speier’s office at 202.225.3531.

If you are an MST survivor and plan on attending, please also email panayiota@stopmilitaryrape.org

Marcia Lippman / Gallery Stock

The Military’s Secret Shame

Jesse Ellison
Newsweek
April 3, 2011

Greg Jeloudov was 35 and new to America when he decided to join the Army. Like most soldiers, he was driven by both patriotism for his adopted homeland and the pragmatic notion that the military could be a first step in a career that would enable him to provide for his new family. Instead, Jeloudov arrived at Fort Benning, Ga., for basic training in May 2009, in the middle of the economic crisis and rising xenophobia. The soldiers in his unit, responding to his Russian accent and New York City address, called him a “champagne socialist” and a “commie faggot.”

He was, he told NEWSWEEK, “in the middle of the viper’s pit.” Less than two weeks after arriving on base, he was gang-raped in the barracks by men who said they were showing him who was in charge of the United States. When he reported the attack to unit commanders, he says they told him, “It must have been your fault. You must have provoked them.”

To read the full article at Newsweek, click here.

 

Contact Service Women’s Action Network (SWAN) for information on the Military Rape Litigation filled on behalf of military and former military victims of Military Sexual Trauma (MST), including persons who were raped by their military colleagues.

Healing the Wounds: Evaluating Military Sexual Trauma Issues

 

For those in the Washington, D.C. area on Thursday May 20, 2010, Subcommittees of the House Committee on Veteran’s Affairs will conduct a hearing of interest to readers of this site.

The Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs will hold a Joint Hearing with the Subcommittee on Health on Healing the Wounds: Evaluating Military Sexual Trauma Issues.

May 2o, 2010
Cannon House Office Building
Room 334

10:00 AM

For more information on this hearing, click here.

Honoring Veterans with Military Sexual Trauma

Pack_Parachute

Photo: packparachute.org

On November 11, 2009 in Seattle, WA, veteran organizations will honor veterans with Military Sexual Trauma (MST) at 2 pm at the Garden of Remembrance at Benaroya Hall on University St. and Second Ave. in downtown Seattle. This ceremony celebrating individuals with MST will be the first of its kind in the country.

Vietnam Veterans of America, Disabled American Veterans, Veterans For Peace, VetWow and Pack Parachute Charity will participate in this ceremony, and hope to demonstrate the honor, respect and community they feel for veterans with MST.

To learn more about this event, visit the Pack Parachute web site, here.