Unsafe For Women; Risk of Rape Too Great
Code Pink , Women For Peace - July 22,
powerful counter-recruiting tool to use with young women considering
enlistment is facts about the risk of rape among active duty soldiers.
This is not something recruiters bring up when they’re touting job
training, travel and educational opportunities. It often doesn’t occur
to young women to wonder about their safety in the
military, beyond knowing that they may face
violence from enemy combatants.
Kelly Dougherty of Iraq Veterans Against the War
testifies in “Before You Enlist” (view
the film online here): “When
you’re a woman, specifically in a combat zone, not only do you have to
be afraid of the supposed insurgents and the enemies and the Iraqis, but
then you also come back to the base and then there you have to be
fearful of your fellow soldiers.”
Several friends of hers were raped in the military. One brought charges
and was subjected to a pre-trial hearing — aimed at discrediting her!
Another was told by her officer that the charges “would be too hard to
prove” and was advised to drop it.
The parents of 19 year-old LaVena Johnson were told their daughter
suicide by gunshot to the head while on active
duty in Iraq.
They don’t buy it. They think she was raped and
then shot by another soldier, and that the military officers in charge
of investigating covered up the
Another nugget from Kelly Dougherty to share with teen girls who hope a
uniform and a paycheck will earn them some respect — at least, more
respect than they’re getting growing up poor in America: “When you’re a
woman in the military you’re either a bitch, a slut or a lesbian.”
There’s an implicit
understanding that women are in the military to be sexually available to
the men after hours. Not much different from growing up in a home or
neighborhood with that culture in place.
But factors like strong female role models and the growth of athletic
programs for girls that are comparable to those for boys have helped
empower American girls to believe they deserve better. Advertising for
the military floods youth-oriented programming like MTV with messages
that a “job” in the military puts women in a strong position. The truth
of life on a military base can be an effective counter to this myth.
Note also that women face
2 to 3 times higher risk of domestic violence if
their spouse is a combat veteran who suffers from PTSD.
Women make up about 15% of active duty military now, and recent
Boston Globe article cited Veteran’s Administration
female veterans are especially at risk of becoming homeless.
The VA is being called upon to provide services for a
completely new generation of vets with
special needs: single mothers. Ironically, a key
strategy for recruiting teen girls is presenting enlistment as a chance
to serve their families by accessing a steady income and “job training”
in the military.
The National Coalition for Homeless Veterans made
this statement in testimony before a Senate
subcommittee on March 4, 2009: “Women veterans report serious trauma
histories and episodes of physical harassment and/or sexual assault
while in the military. The VA and homeless veteran service providers are
also seeing increased numbers of female and male veterans with
children seeking their assistance.”
Get the word out to young women being preyed upon by recruiters:
military service is an unsafe option.
http://snipurl.com/otsgd [Opposing Views]