ONTD Political

TW for Rape.

Here's one take on U.S. militarism and the culture of domination:

"Americans love to fight, traditionally. All real Americans love the sting and clash of battle. You are here today for three reasons. First, because you are here to defend your homes and your loved ones. Second, you are here for your own self-respect, because you would not want to be anywhere else. Third, you are here because you are real men and all real men like to fight.

"...Americans love a winner. Americans will not tolerate a loser. Americans despise cowards. Americans play to win all of the time. . . . That's why Americans have never lost nor will ever lose a war; for the very idea of losing is hateful to an American."

Here's another:

"I can't sleep without drugs. But even then, I often wake up in the middle of the night, crying, my mind racing. And I lie there awake in the dark, reliving the rape, looking for a second chance for it to end with a different outcome, but he always wins."

The first speaker is Gen. George S. Patton, addressing the troops of the Third Army on June 5, 1944 -- the day before D-Day. The second is Kate Weber, quoted in a story by Lucy Broadbent in the UK/Guardian last December, about being raped when she was in the U.S. Army while stationed in Germany in the 1990s -- one of many, many thousands of women who have suffered such a fate, usually in silence, while serving in the military.

What a country! What a watchdog media we have, now hemorrhaging trivial details about the "adultery scandal" that has brought down CIA director David Petraeus, the erstwhile revered four-star general who has presided for a decade over various aspects of that abysmal American failure known as the war on terror, with a second general, John Allen, now entangled in the same growing morass of impropriety as well. The awkward context of all this is the honor code of the American military, which prohibits extramarital sex . . . except (this is the real world speaking now) in the case of rape.

The irony of all this is excruciating, and radiates in several directions. As numerous commentators have pointed out, the crimes and excesses of the U.S. military-- from massive civilian slaughter to the toxic contamination of the countries we invade to drone terrorism -- are legion, but hardly even newsworthy. Yet the outing of Petraeus' affair with his biographer, Paula Broadwell, has shaken the empire to its moral foundations.

Furthermore, consider the unbelievable investigative energy that went into the FBI's discovery of the couple's relationship.

"So not only did the FBI -- again, all without any real evidence of a crime -- trace the locations and identity of Broadwell and Petreaus, and read through Broadwell's emails (and possibly Petraeus'), but they also got their hands on and read through 20,000 to 30,000 pages of emails between Gen. Allen and (Jill) Kelley," wrote Glenn Greenwald in The Guardian. "This is a surveillance state run amok."

In contrast, it seems as though zero energy goes into the investigation of actual rape in the military, except in rare circumstances. The military's domination culture, personified by Patton, is constructed on the illusion of granite-etched moral values -- "we protect our loved ones" -- and powered by a belief in its own righteousness.

Thus, "Petraeus had no choice but to resign," writes Dale McFeatters, a columnist for Scripps Howard News Service. "The country, including several of its presidential commanders in chief, may find the military's adherence to a code of honor and fidelity quaint, but the uniformed services do not. Petraeus was nothing if not a soldier."

This is the military's near-impenetrable fortress of public relations, behind which cruel realities fester. In 2010, according to the Pentagon's own Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office, there were an estimated 19,000 cases of rape in the military, the large majority of which went unreported -- because the crime of rape is far easier to endure than the humiliation, shunning and punishment that usually accompanies its report.

"Rape in any circumstance is brutal, but in the military the worst effects are compounded," wrote Broadbent in her Guardian story. "Victims are ignored, their wounds left untended, and the psychological damage festers silently, poisoning lives. Survivors are expected to carry on, facing their attacker on a daily basis."

One place that military rape victims have begun speaking out is at the website mydutytospeak.com, e.g.: "The man that raped me and almost killed me (was) treated as the victim and I was told that I was at fault for no reason other than because I am a woman and should not have been walking alone," wrote a woman who served in the Massachusetts National Guard. "You read that right, I am a woman and therefore because I took the risk of walking ALONE I was at fault for being raped. I was not out partying. I was not out drinking. I was simply walking alone -- in uniform -- when he grabbed me and raped me."

Americans love a winner! But to reiterate Kate Weber's words, several decades after she was sexually assaulted and, subsequently, shunned and ignored: "I lie there awake in the dark, reliving the rape, looking for a second chance for it to end with a different outcome, but he always wins."

He won't stop winning until we rethink the very meaning of national security. The scandal that brought down Petraeus is just a cover for the deep wrong of militarism.

(Robert Koehler, an award-winning, Chicago-based journalist, is a nationally syndicated writer. You can respond to this column at koehlercw@gmail.com or visit his Web site at commonwonders.com.)

During my time in the military I've seen women in my units singled out and forced to wear rape-whistles (Yes, RAPE WHISTLES) and not allowed to walk alone at all while male soldiers enjoyed all the benefits of freedom. Stateside, I've also seen men in my unit force women in our unit to leave a club during off-duty hours because they were leaving and they insisted that we stick together and that they weren't going to leave them there for "anything to happen to them." This has all happened in multiple units on multiple occasions, this male view of having to "protect the women"; this male view of dominance basically. We're all walking around with loaded guns and yet women can't possibly protect themselves and if they ever shot a male soldier for rape or attempted rape you better believe that the female who protected herself would have her ass handed to her in a court martial. On the flip-side, this same attitude of misogyny is what perpetuates all the rapes that occur on women and yes, on other men as well and slut-shames women into not speaking about what happened to them and shames men into thinking it's "unmanly" to have been raped.

Source.
grace_om 19th-Nov-2012 02:02 am (UTC)
Congresswoman Jackie Speier has taken on the issue of military rape, and introduced:

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.

I am not sure of the current status of this bill, but at least she's out there trying to take some concrete steps. She has links and more information on her website, and wants to hear from survivors.
synthesizia 19th-Nov-2012 02:39 am (UTC)
It makes me happy there's someone actually trying to tackle this issue. It probably won't ever be implemented in time for me, but I certainly hope the next generations' women will feel it's safer to join.
grace_om 19th-Nov-2012 04:50 am (UTC)
Sadly, given the current composition of congress, it's probably not going anywhere soon. But Jackie is fierce and she's not going away. We need more like her -- who understand that rape is something which needs to be stopped, not redefined.
natyanayaki 19th-Nov-2012 07:37 am (UTC)
Aren't certain people saying that rape is just an expected consequence of women joining the military?

*vomit*
the_gabih 19th-Nov-2012 11:56 am (UTC)
I think certain people are saying that rape is just an expected consequence of being born as something other than cis male.
natyanayaki 20th-Nov-2012 01:52 am (UTC)
...

How does one respond to that?
natyanayaki 20th-Nov-2012 01:53 am (UTC)
It's not surprising at all, it's just really gross. And...the fact that it's not surprising paints a really bad picture of our society as well.
furrygreen 19th-Nov-2012 07:09 pm (UTC)
I'm sure there are but then again, what's new in that mentality, right? *sigh*
natyanayaki 20th-Nov-2012 01:54 am (UTC)
:-/
alryssa 19th-Nov-2012 08:02 am (UTC)
This, plus a million. She's unrelenting on these topics.
natyanayaki 19th-Nov-2012 07:40 am (UTC)
Thank you for posting this, it's always boggled my mind that an organization that promotes fidelity so much (and apparently punishes single mothers? is that true?), apologizes so much for rapists. It's just...UGH.
halfshellvenus 19th-Nov-2012 07:14 pm (UTC)
All other disgusting stupidity and hate-baiting aside,

That's why Americans have never lost nor will ever lose a war; for the very idea of losing is hateful to an American.

Vi.Et.Nam.
moonshaz 19th-Nov-2012 07:52 pm (UTC)
Well, to be fair, Vietnam happened a long time after Patton made the remarks quoted here. But at the time he spoke, what he said was basically true afaik.

Edited at 2012-11-19 07:52 pm (UTC)
eyetosky 19th-Nov-2012 08:02 pm (UTC)
Wow, I feel especially dumb for forgetting that now. Interesting they didn't note that, though.
halfshellvenus 19th-Nov-2012 08:08 pm (UTC)
I'll have to admit, I didn't even make it far enough down the article to see who the quote was from. I was so horrified by the content, and the obvious disconnect of that statement vs. Vietnam, that I stopped right there.

Though Patton's era still does not excuse the attempt to use the animal appeal of "American men are the most awesome, manly men of all time" as a tactic for inspiration.
uluviel 20th-Nov-2012 02:57 pm (UTC)
Well, there was this attempt by the US to invade Canada about 200 years ago that didn't exactly work out...
eyetosky 19th-Nov-2012 07:59 pm (UTC)
Seriously, I did a double take at that.
jojo342 19th-Nov-2012 08:40 pm (UTC)
I think the foundation of this argument is pretty shaky.

Are we to assume that military leaders in 1944 have the ability to define the mission statement of today's military?

If everyone is not watching THE GOOD WIFE, they should. They deal with issues of women in the military pretty often and excellently.
fallingmallorn 19th-Nov-2012 11:41 pm (UTC)
I actually did a project my final semester of college for my Women and Law class, centered around sexual assault and rape in the military. It was one of the most depressing periods of research I've ever done. Possibly the worst part was that, because these crimes take place in areas owned by and are perpetuated by members of the US Military, any reports and cases don't go through the civilian courts, but through martial law courts, where rapists are rarely, if ever brought to actual justice, even less so than in civilian courts.

It's so important for men and women to serve and protect us, but not for our own military to protect them? That's the question the US Military needs to ask itself.
lantean_breeze 20th-Nov-2012 02:24 pm (UTC)
The shame should be with the perpetrator, and the perpetrator alone. The more that is pushed, the better. Women have to stay vocal about this.
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