So how much rape is “too much”? I heard this discussion by a Fox news interviewee–a woman, yet!– last week, and I’ve tried to set it aside and set it aside, but I just can’t.
Here’s the article and the quote by Fox News contributor Liz Trotta:
“Defense Secretary Leon Panetta commented on a new Pentagon report on sexual abuse in the military. I think they have actually discovered there is a difference between men and women. And the sexual abuse report says that there has been, since 2006, a 64% increase in violent sexual assaults. Now, what did they expect? These people are in close contact, the whole airing of this issue has never been done by Congress, it’s strictly been a question of pressure from the feminists.
And the feminists have also directed them, really, to spend a lot of money. They have sexual counselors all over the place, victims’ advocates, sexual response coordinators. … So, you have this whole bureaucracy upon bureaucracy being built up with all kinds of levels of people to support women in the military who are now being raped too much. ”
I did some research on this topic for a novel of mine that’s coming out later this year, where one of the women has been traumatized by her time serving in Iraq, being raped by her fellow servicemen, and the numbers are staggering. For example in this article at Salon.com, a woman is quoted saying she carries a knife with her not to fight the enemy, but those on her own side.
Or this, from Helen Benedict, a soldier who wrote a book about the experience of women in Iraq:
One such soldier, Marti Ribeiro, was a third-generation Air Force sergeant who served in Afghanistan in 2006 as a combat correspondent with the Army’s all-male 10th Mountain Division.
Her story includes an account of being attacked and raped by a U.S. soldier in uniform while guarding a post.
After completing the shift and not showering to substantiate the attack, she reported it to authorities – only to be told if she filed a claim she would be charged with dereliction of duty for leaving her weapon unattended.
Trotta’s point seemed to be that it was a bad idea to expand a bureaucracy to counsel and protect women in these situations from $5 million a year to $23 million a year to address the concerns of “feminists” who were complaining about treatment of women attached to front line units.
But are female soldiers any less important than male soldiers? Rhetoric surely seemed to be flying around that gay soldiers shouldn’t be in units because they might molest straight soldiers. Where does it become all right for male soldiers to assault female soldiers? When?
Young female military members that I know personally uniformly talk about how they are sexually harassed by males in their units, and even instructors. Does anyone remember Tailhook? It’s a poisonous atmosphere. Why isn’t anyone doing anything about it?
Trotta’s comment in response to the 64% increase in sexual assault isn’t horror, but a flip, “Now, what did they expect?”
I believe, Ms. Trotta, they expected that men who allegedly have honor while they’re serving our country would have basic human respect for women of honor who are serving our country. If these men would keep their hands to themselves, maybe we could cut back that spending. Maybe if we didn’t spend our time blaming the victims for complaining about being violated, and spent more time punishing the men for their criminal actions (even ejecting them from the service for actions unbecoming a soldier), it would create a safe environment for anyone to serve, male, female, gay, lesbian, black, white….you choose.
Could we exclude women (or any other group) from the front lines for their own safety? Sure, we could.
But why should we have to?