Sunday, April 6, 2008

Red, White and Blue Rape

I've never been raped.

Honestly, I've never really considered that level of physical violation. Sure, like most men, I've joked about dropping the soap in jail or getting molested by some handsy priest, but I never took those threats seriously.

I've never sized up the shrubs along the sidewalk to see if they were big enough to hide a man, or checked the backseat of my car late at night for a predator. A friend of mine told me she carries a condom in her purse just so she could beg a potential rapist to use protection if he attacked her. I've only carried condoms to be prepared in case I got a chance to get laid.

I have no idea what it's like to be a woman.

My lack of understanding was beaten into my mind recently when I read a set of articles in several publications about rape in the military. Please check them out below.

The Nation.

The LA Times

Salon.

I cannot comprehend the betrayal and agony these women feel. It's beyond my puny empathy to appreciate their hurt. In fact, I almost feel like I'm insulting them by trying to relate to their pain. No matter how many books I read, no matter how many activists or women I poll, I will never truly understand what it's like to spend most of my life with a bulls-eye painted below my waist.

But, what I can do is get angry. In fact, I can do that quite well. Brushing aside anguish and despair, I can fully embrace the righteous anger we should all feel when we're confronted with evil. Because what happened to these women in Iraq and what happened to them when they returned home was the true definition of evil.

My wrath is directed first at the despicable men who would prey on their comrades; stalk the very people they have sworn to protect. But, my real venom is for a government that not only allows these actions to occur, but also seems to tacitly approve of them.

Oh, I'm sure that if we polled the entire Pentagon we wouldn't find a single person who believed the rape and sexual assault of female soldiers is acceptable. Truthfully, only the saltiest old codgers wouldn't express disgust at the rampant sexual harassment these women face.

Yet, when nearly a quarter of the women we send to war are being sexually assaulted the only thing this country does to protect them is create an anonymous website?

Really?

This is a hideous abdication of duty. For me, this is worse than any of the false statements used to draw us into war and the changing rationale that has kept us there. This is a core betrayal, in many ways worse than when African Americans risked their lives for this country in various conflicts only to return home to segregation and discrimination. These women are being asked to deal with all the stresses of war, while also dealing with being prey.

Yet, much of our national media focuses on polls, passport files and YouTube clips. Talking heads debate when Obama knew about his pastor and if Hillary is being treated fairly. There is no wall-to-wall coverage of this sexual assault data, no outcry against the Pentagon's refusal to step in and make these women safe.

The media can pressure Hillary to release her tax records and schedule, but they cannot force the Pentagon to keep accurate statistics on how many women have been raped in Iraq? Media hordes can descend on Trinity United Church of Christ but they can't follow up on the fact that the overwhelming majority of reported military rapes do not even result in arrest?

While we get our daily dose of drivel, a female soldier in Iraq is pissing on herself because she's scared to walk to the latrines alone.

Where is our anger, where are our priorities?

Every blog needs to be calling for media attention to this issue, we need to be pressuring news organizations to get to the heart of what is happening. I've been as guilty as most for being unaware and unconcerned about this problem, but that changes now. I care about these women, these mothers, sisters and daughters. We should all care about their fate.

This cannot be something we learn to live with.

14 comments:

WNG said...

Wow, Big Man. I don't know what to say but thank you for writing that and I have your back 100%. I'll post on it soon and I'll go bug the Big 4's websites about this. Maybe together we can make enough noise.

A.F. said...

[...] A hat tip to RBL who posted these links and in-depth commentary [...]

Truthiz said...

Major Props for the discussion on this UGLY reality!

Basically, female soldiers are forced to fight three wars simultaneously_ (1) against Iraqi nationalist and Muslim radicals _and (2) against many of their male counterparts who view “rape” as “pleasure” _and (3) against the Pentagon (mostly men) who operate from a “boys will be boys” mentality. And even those in the Pentagon who don’t buy into that madness, they simply prefer not having to deal with issue of “rape” at all. Much like the majority of Americans, who find any discussion of “rape” very uncomfortable!

In my opinion, female soldiers are victims of an that age old American culture historically promoted in this country that women are but "property" _“sexual objects” _“pieces of meat” to be treated, or pounced on, by men, as men see fit.

Even today, an alleged "rape victim" still finds herself, more often than not, having to defend her entire sexual history in order to prove, beyond doubt, that she’s “not guilty” of having led the guy on in some way; while the alleged perpetrator DOESN’T necessarily have to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that he didn’t do it_?!

It’s crazy!...but it’s also “the America way.”

And let’s be real, this country doesn’t even value the precious lives of Our children!!!

In every generation, Countless numbers of American children go severely abused and/or neglected, living day-to-day at the mercy of the most Vile and Vicious creatures to ever walk the earth_ THEIR PARENTS!_ or guardian.

Many of those children who are “saved” by the system often find themselves victimize over -and-over again by that same system. It angers me to no end!!!

This country is in serious Crisis due mostly to a culture of depraved indifference and “survival of the fittest” mentality that's taken root and is causing rot from within on multiple levels.

It is most tragic that female soldiers are now but another example of the “collateral damage” caused by this government’s incompetent and callous behavior.

Big Man said...

Truth

That was a nice comment.

Big Man said...

Everybody, I'm going to leave this post up for most of today because hopefully more people will get chance to read about this issue.

Torrance Stephens bka All-Mi-T said...

well said man, no means no.

The Christian Progressive Liberal said...

Big Man, what is going on in the military is the fact that this country is sending animals to fight and not real men who respect and honor women.

They figure if a woman can go to combat, she should be forced to give it up and take it like "a man".

When did this country give up its humanity (or semblance of it)?

I maintain the day that the 2000 election was decided by a partisan Supreme Court and not the American voting public, this country said "goodbye" to its humanity, its perceived greatness and its sense of decency, dignity and honor. On December 13, 2000, America was stripped out, and subjected to being raped for the last eight years; all for avarice, greed and profit that benefitted the elites and told the poor and rapidly shrinking middle class to go to hell.

I read that report in the Nation and got chills down my spine. It's almost like being in prison for those women, and maybe, they may want to consider packing for protection; even as a Christian, I know I would be depending on Jesus and a 9mm Sig Sauer if I were over there working and had no choice in whom I could go to for protection.

Busting a cap would go a long way in cooling the "ardour" of those who don't want sex unless the woman is not willing.

I will do all I can to keep this in the news - these women need help and they need to find ways to get justice, since the Federal Government rapes them all over again when they get home and try to seek redress for being assaulted.

WNG said...

I posted on this today and I wrote an emial to my Senators and Congressman, as well as to all three Presidential candidates and I'll post any responses that I get. We need to get loud about this and keep pressure on the media and the government until we get some action on this. Thanks for lighting a fire under me, hopefully we can spread it.

dewfish said...

Thanks for this article. I could never see myself asking a woman to serve in the military when their enemy may very well be the ones who are supposed to save their lives.

Truthiz said...

Appreciate the compliment Big man!

I would also like to add that I Agree with the CPL:

“this country is sending animals to fight and not real men who respect and honor women.”

That is indeed a Fact!

The U.S. military was ill-prepared and ill- equipped for fighting even One prolonged war, let alone two!

Those crazy-azz NeoCON chicken-hawks predicted that the Iraq war would be wrapped up within 6-12 months. Suffice it to say that REALITY determined otherwise.

As a result, recruitment standards quickly DROPPED to the level where the U.S. has been sending _well, pretty much ANYBODY, no matter how ignorant, and/or bat-sh*t crazy and/or brutally vicious he/she may be!

Big Man said...

I agree on the recruitment standards being part of the problem.

Unfortunately, I also see this as a male problem. I've become more and more saddened by how often men take advantage of their brute strength and rape women. In every way, every civil disturbance, women become targets. I really don't understand the urge to do something like that to another human. It really bothers me.

I'm going to have to write a later like WNG to call for my congress people to take some action.

A.F. said...

"As a result, recruitment standards quickly DROPPED to the level where the U.S. has been sending _well, pretty much ANYBODY, no matter how ignorant, and/or bat-sh*t crazy and/or brutally vicious he/she may be!"

Amen, Truth! And from what I read of Blackwater and other "security" contracters, it's a prerequisite to be ignorant, batsh*t crazy and brutally vicious to join those ranks. Our govt hires torturers, inc, and then doesn't realize or care that things will go out of hand in all directions...like torturing people isn't out of hand to start with.

I blogged on the rape of female soldiers, also, and because it's almost overwhelmingly emotional territory, I really thank you, Big Man, because without having read your post, I would not have.

Deacon Blue said...

Well, hopefully most of my very modest number of regular blog visitors followed my April 6 post over to yours here...I didn't feel like there was anything worthwhile I could add so a redirect seemed a lot more sensible.

Now, time for me to do something like write my congressional folks. Like you, Big Man, this isn't something I had ever thought about or heard about...and it's a crying shame shite like this happens (or equally evil stuff) all the time under cover of shadows.

skinnylittleblonde said...

Sickening.
The CEO sent me over & you are right to be angry...sometimes the anger can be a gift which makes our squeaks become roars. Anger can turn a victim (if even of our own system) into a survivor.
What is scary is that supposedly up to 80% of all rapes are never reported. As a woman, I have to say that I find this stat (unlike many others) quite believable.
peace, love & will to you...

Raving Black Lunatic