Monday, December 31, 2012

Sexual violence within the ranks - a military secret

While the brutal sexual assault that occurred in Delhi, India continues to be in the headlines we cannot remain in our glass houses. Arguably we have segments of our society that has a disdain for women. It is more than discrimination - it is violence and a culture that looks the other way.

According to the New York Times reporting on a recent Defense Department report "[s]exual assaults at the three military academies are at a record high:"  "80 reported assaults for the 2011-12 academic year, up from 65 the year before and the third straight year that the number has risen."

And it gets worse: "The report also found that 51 percent of academy women and 10 percent of men who answered a survey in the spring said they had been sexually harassed during the previous year."

Now this is occurring at our military academies that produces our military leaders and often our politicians. These individuals ought to represent the best of what we as a nation has to offer - but if this is our best . . . .

And from another report, unpublished, concerning troops in Afghanistan and Iraq:
"Nearly half of the women and 10 percent of the men said they had been sexually harassed at least once while they were deployed, and 23 percent of women reported at least one sexual assault. The report found that the offenders were nearly always other military personnel, often of a higher rank."
And in Okinawa, Japan there is what seems to be an ever told story of military personnel raping Japanese women. The latest incident resulted in a curfew of the military stationed there, but the New York Times article reminds us too that in 1995 there was a gang rape of a Japanese school girl by three service members.

There seems to be no other way of explaining the sexual violence against women, please don't try to water it down by claims of sexual violence against men too, except as a cultural disdain for women.