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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Future of Feminism: Ending Rape As A Tool of War

 

Aviva Dove-Viebahn
Ms. Blog
March 2, 2012

Sexual assault and rape during wartime cannot–and should not–be brushed off as mere collateral damage. Rather, rape has long been a systematic tool of strategic violence against women. The public and policy makers should know this in order to help prevent future violence–and that’s the mission of the newly launched Women Under Siege , a Women’s Media Center project.

To continue reading at the Ms. Blog, click here.

 

Check out Women Under Siege from the links below.

From their web site:

Women Under Siege documents how rape and other forms of sexualized violence are used as tools in genocide and conflict throughout the 20th century and into the 21st. Spearheaded by Gloria Steinem, this initiative builds on the lessons revealed in the anthology Sexual Violence Against Jewish Women During the Holocaust by Sonja Hedgepeth and Rochelle Saidel, and also in At the Dark End of the Street: Black Women, Rape and Resistance—a New History of the Civil Rights Movement from Rosa Parks to the Rise of Black Power by Daniella McGuire.

In the belief that understanding what happened then might have helped us to prevent or helped us to prepare for the mass sexual assaults of other conflicts, from Bosnia to the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Women’s Media Center project is exploring this linkage to heighten public consciousness of causes and preventions.

The project has two main components:

1)  A public education plan to demonstrate that rape is a tool of war (not only a crime of war, but also a strategic tool). This plan includes testimony from and partnership with survivors of modern wars from Bosnia to Darfur.

2)  An action plan to push for the creation of legal, diplomatic, and public interventions to ensure the United Nations, international tribunals, and other agencies with power will understand the gender-based threats as a tool of genocide and will design protocols to intervene and halt gender-based genocide.

To view the Women Under Siege web site, click here.

Gloria Steinem on Rape in War, Its Causes, and How to Stop It

Lauren Wolfe
The Atlantic
February 8, 2012

It doesn’t matter where you look; sexualized violence is intrinsic to conflict. Qaddafi’s soldiers committed rape in the last days of Libya’s regime. The Egyptian military has been sexually violating female journalists and protesters in that revolution. Across the Democratic Republic of Congo, hundreds of thousands of women are suffering the fallout of the sexualized violence that has torn apart their bodies, their families, and their communities.

A new project from the Women’s Media Center, initiated by one of its founders, journalist and activist Gloria Steinem, has begun documenting this tool of war and genocide. From the Holocaust through today, Women Under Siege is illuminating the causes as well as the cures of sexualized violence by uncovering patterns and making links between them.

As the director of Women Under Siege, as well as a journalist myself, I interviewed Steinem about sexualized violence in conflict and what needs to be done to understand and stop it.

To read the full interview at theAtlantic.com, click here.