United States military sexual abuse continues

This 2012 video from the USA is called Abuse of Women in the US Military / Army / Navy – PFC LaVena Johnson – The Silent Truth.

Another video from the USA used to say about itself:

Treatment of Women in the U.S. Military

Permission to publish from josh at snowshoefilms.com; Producer: snowshoefilms; Production Company: snowshoefilms. … Year: 2002. DOROTHY MACKEY: SURVIVORS TAKE ACTION AGAINST ABUSE BY U.S. MILITARY PERSONNEL (STAAAMP) A former U.S. Air Force captain, Dorothy Mackey explains that rape is integral to the military. She explains the military’s systematic training to abuse and accept abuse, the programmatic decreasing of self-awareness that constitutes perhaps the most important part of basic training in which malleable youths are indoctrinated to think of themselves as expendable. They’re also taught, she reveals (or reminds us) to have contempt for civilians, those people who fail to understand the sacrifices being made on their behalf.

Mackey also touches on the CIA’s Paperclip Project which secreted some 1,600 World War II Nazi scientists and eugenicists into key positions in the military, universities and weapons development (nuclear, chemical biological, mind control). This interview was conducted at the Nov. 2002 SOA Watch (www.soawatch.org) protest at Ft. Benning, GA.

From Womens eNews in the USA:

Military’s ‘Restricted Reporting’ Draws Fire

By John Lasker

WeNews correspondent

Thursday, February 10, 2011

A Defense Department official says a new recourse option for victims of military sex assault is encouraging more to seek care and maintain privacy. Critics call it a military cop out that lets perpetrators go free and lets commanders off the hook.

U.S. Army veteran Susan Avila-Smith runs the military sexual trauma advocacy group VETWOW, or Veteran Women Organizing Women, based in Seattle. Sadly, it’s a group that numbers 3,000 and is growing.

Avila-Smith has been advocating for military sexual trauma victims since 1995, after the military refused to punish her Army ex-husband after he “jumped up and down” on her pregnant stomach and ended her pregnancy.

When she sought justice from her commanding officers, “I was told not to talk to anybody about it or I would be BCD’d, which is a ‘Bad-Conduct Discharge,'” she said.

Avila-Smith says of VETWOW’s 3,000 veterans who were raped during their enlistment by a fellow soldier, nearly all told their commanding officers about the crime, in compliance with military law. Many, she says, described the backlash from the chain of command as worse than rape.

All too often, Avila-Smith says, commanding officers try to intimidate rape victims into silence. Commanding officers, who are judge and jury when it comes to indicting soldiers for alleged crimes while on duty, have also under-prosecuted military rape by ignoring a victim’s accusation, for instance.

The result, she says, is that many who suffer military sexual assault say nothing and try to cope with the psychological aftermath on their own. A 2008 survey of 103 military sexual assault victims by the Government Accountability Office showed half never bothered to report the crime because they believed nothing would come of it and they also feared being ostracized.

U.S. Air Force Academy ordered an investigation following allegations that cadet athletes committed sexual assault: here.

17 Veterans Sue Pentagon Over Rape Cases: here.

1 in 5 Air Force women victim of sexual assault, survey finds: here.

Antoinette Bonsignore, RH Reality Check: “Rapes and sexual assaults … are ignored and if not ignored so callously prosecuted within the Military Code of Justice as to suggest that rape is nothing more than a minor infraction deserving of little punishment, if any. A system set up to hide evidence, encourage victims to recant, and when the victim tries to receive some semblance of justice they are generally rewarded with demotions, harassment, and shockingly further rapes and sexual assaults as punishment. Victims are warned to stay quiet or face dire consequences. The brave victims are blamed – the women in particular were just asking for it”: here.

Congresswoman Speier Condemns Rape in the Military: here.

Senate Fails to Vote on Military Sexual Assault Bill: here.

Reports of sexual assaults by members of the military rose 50 percent after the Pentagon began a vigorous campaign to get more victims to come forward, prompting defense officials to order a greater focus on prevention programs, including plans to review alcohol sales and policies. The report comes a day after Vets filed suit in federal court to help sexual assault victims access benefits to address their trauma: here.

Iowa GOPer Ernst: I was sexually harassed in the military: here

U.S. MILITARY SEXUAL ASSAULT CASES ON THE RISE Reported cases increased by 8% this year. [AP]

SENATOR ALLEGES U.S. MILITARY WITHHOLDING SEX CRIMES RECORDS Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand alleges that the military is doctoring its sex-related crime numbers by leaving out military spouses or civilian women who work near bases.

Fiore Cartoon: How the Pentagon Avoids Budgets Cuts: here.

Ireland: Sinn Féin has expressed serious concern over what it says are links between a company contracted by the Central Statistics Office to work on the 2011 Census and prisoner abuse at Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison: here.

15 thoughts on “United States military sexual abuse continues

  1. People who want to know more can go here.

    Book Review
    By Gary Schoener
    Clinical Psychologist
    Executive Director
    Walk-In Counseling Center-, Minneapolis, Minnesota

    Essential Reading for all Americans
    Honor Betrayed: Sexual Abuse In America’s Military
    This is an extraordinary book. The topic itself is taboo. Dr. Hunter’s examination of it is broad, thorough, and covers a great range of topics, from incentives for enlisting to domestic violence in military families (five times higher than civilian settings), domestic killings, the role and treatment of women in today’s military, homophobia, sexual harassment, sexual assault, military leadership, etc.
    While mostly focused on the US military it does discuss some issues with Canadian military and presents some research on the military of other countries.
    Dr. Hunter takes you inside traditions and practices which may be unfamiliar and shocking. No holds are bared when he examines military slang, most of which cannot be repeated here because of vulgarity. Even having treated veterans for many years, I was not prepared for some of this content.
    This book confronts a great many myths with research data. Dr. Hunter notes that even the Pentagon acknowledges that many male veterans acknowledge having been sexually assaulted by their comrades in arms – and also notes that contrary to popular belief, the vast majority of such male victims are heterosexual. A full 28% of female veterans who were surveyed reported that they had been assaulted while serving their country. Dr. Hunter reviews data and dozens of case examples – some well-known cases, and some which did not receive much publicity.
    The issues of hazing and indoctrination are extremely shocking. Having treated veterans of a number of wars and also having worked with sexual and other types of abuse for 40 years, I was surprised and shocked by a number of these. Even extensive experience working with victims was not adequate preparation for some of these stories. The examples ranged from those in military academies to those in basic training and service situations.
    Dr. Hunter explores the impact of sexual assault, sexual harassment, hazing, and other aspects of service using research data, case examples, and some cases which have been litigated. Tailhook and other cases are reviewed and their eventual outcomes examined. He also examines torture, harassment of prisoners, and other forms of brutality – from Me Lai to Abu Ghraib.
    Dr. Hunter has peppered his text with a variety of current or recent cases, which is quite helpful. But he has a dizzying array of quotes and examples from military leaders and situations going back centuries. I don’t want to present too many in hopes that you will read the book and see them in context, but one sidebar (p. 113) is entitled “Ike & the Dykes” and is a fascinating story about Dwight Eisenhower I have never seen.
    Dr. Hunter covers a number of issues with military leadership and traditions. He examines parallels between military leadership and some of the behavior of drug addicted persons. There are interesting sections on attitudes towards women and the role of prostitution and official sanctioning of it over many centuries through the present.
    The last section of the book contains an array of in-depth personal accounts of a wide range of situations. Some of those who write identify themselves. Some are familiar cases such as that of Gregory Helle (author of A Walk in Hell: The Other Side of War) and Reverend Dorothy H. Mackey (co-founder of Survivors Take Action Against Abuse by Military Personnel, Captain & Commander, Federal Women’s Supervisor of the Year, US Air Force Commendation Medal, US Air Force Achievement Medal). These ten personal stories which make up Part II of the book provides a rich set of case examples, which like the rest of the book, are very stirring to read.
    Despite the grim picture he paints, Dr. Hunter also has suggestions for change and even optimistic thoughts about it, noting that the military successfully dealt with racism against African Americans, and in some places this change preceded such changes in civilian life. This is not just about problems – it is about solutions.
    The book contains many fascinating pieces I was not expecting. I was fascinated by the “Pop Quiz” on p. 231 where one is asked to identify which “dangerous group” is being referred to – African Americans, Women, or Gays/Lesbians. Dr. Hunter has peppered the book with intriguing challenges to our knowledge.
    This is one of the best books on abuse I have ever read, and it stands alone in terms of the main topic – honor betrayed – sexual abuse in America’s military. I read it straight through – I had difficulty putting it down. I plan to read it a second time – there was so much of importance in it that it was hard to take it all in during one reading.
    This book should be required reading for citizens and legislators and all those who have anything to do with sending people off to war and welcoming them back home. Anyone who is offering service to veterans has, in my professional opinion, an obligation to read this book. There are many things in it which service personnel are not likely to reveal.
    In case you are not familiar with Mic Hunter, he is a Licensed Psychologist and Marriage & Family Therapist who practices in St. Paul, MN. He’s the author of four other books including Abused Boys: The Neglected Victims of Sexual Abuse, for which he received the Fay Honey Knopp Memorial Award from the National Organization on Male Sexual Victimization. If you haven’t seen it, I would also highly recommend a book he co-authored with Jim Struve – The Ethical Use of Touch in Therapy. He is the author of many articles and lectures and trains internationally.


  2. Female GIs Struggle With Higher Rate Of Divorce

    Last Year, 7.8% Of Military Women Got Divorce Compared With 3% Military Men

    By KIMBERLY HEFLING, Associated Press

    POSTED: 1:10 am MST March 8, 2011

    UPDATED: 6:05 pm MST March 8, 2011

    WASHINGTON — Two failed marriages were the cost of war for Sgt. Jennifer Schobey.

    The breaking point in her first marriage came when her husband deployed to Afghanistan, the last in a long line of separations they had endured as they juggled two military careers. Schobey married another combat veteran, but eventually that union failed under the weight of two cases of post-traumatic stress disorder – his and hers. They are now getting divorced.

    Separations. Injuries. Mental health issues. All are added weights to the normal strains of marriage.

    For women in the military, there’s a cold, hard reality: Their marriages are more than twice as likely to end in divorce as those of their male comrades – and up to three times as likely for enlisted women.

    About 220,000 women have served in Afghanistan and Iraq in roles ranging from helicopter pilots to police officers. Last year, 7.8 percent of women in the military got a divorce, compared with 3 percent of military men, according to Pentagon statistics. Among the military’s enlisted corps, meaning they aren’t commissioned officers, nearly 9 percent of women saw their marriages end, compared with a little more than 3 percent of the men.

    Research indicates that military women also get divorced at higher rates than their peers outside the military, while military men divorce at lower rates than their peers, according to a journal article published last year by Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and the Brookings Institution. Directly comparing divorce rates between the military and civilian sectors is difficult because of the way the numbers are kept. It also noted that older military women – ages 40-49 – are about half as likely to be in their first marriage as civilian women of the same age.

    The percent of military women getting a divorce has been consistently higher for at least a decade.

    Like all divorces, the results can be a sense of loss and a financial blow. But for military women, a divorce can be a breaking point – even putting them at greater risk for homelessness down the road.

    It has an effect, too, on military kids. The military has more single moms than dads, and an estimated 30,000 of them have deployed in support of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Why military women are more burdened by divorce is unclear, although societal pressure is likely a factor.

    “It’s a strange situation, where there’s a fair amount of equality in terms of their military roles, but as the military increasingly treats women the same as it treats men in terms of their work expectations, however, society still expects them to fulfill their family roles. And that’s not equally balanced between men and women,” said David Segal, director of the Center for Research on Military Organization at the University of Maryland.

    One speculation is that while more traditional men join the military, women who are attracted to military life are less conventional – and perhaps less willing to stay in a bad marriage.

    About half of all married women in the military are married to a fellow service member, compared with less than 10 percent of military men. While it can be an advantage to be married to someone who understands military life, balancing two military careers poses challenges.

    Former Army Sgt. Daniela Gibson, an Afghan war veteran, knows that first-hand. Gibson, 24, spent more than four years apart from her military husband and thousands of dollars on long-distance phone calls as they each did war deployments, training and moves. She said it’s tough to not feel insecure about your own marriage as you watch others falling apart around you and see fellow service members cheating on their spouses, which she says is all too frequent during deployments.

    “Even just rumors of cheating can really affect you,” Gibson said.

    Gibson left the military after she got pregnant. She’s now raising their 1-year-old in Mannheim, Germany, while her husband continues his military career. Fortunately, she said, they were able to make their marriage work.

    “It was really hard. . We’ve gone through a lot of difficult points in the relationship and sometimes we weren’t even sure how it was going to end up. But at the end I think it made us closer because it kind of made us prove to ourselves how much we wanted it,” Gibson said. “We weren’t about to just give up.”

    Female service members married to civilians face their own challenges. The rate of divorce among military women is higher for those married to civilians, said Benjamin Karney, a psychology professor at UCLA who studied the issue for the Rand Corp. Research has found that the husbands of female service members were less likely to be employed than military wives.

    “You’ve got to look at the realities of what military life is like on the family, and it really is kind of set up around a traditional married model of a husband and a wife that runs the house, if you will,” said Kimberly Olson, a retired Air Force colonel who is executive director of Grace After Fire, a support organization for female veterans.

    Olson said many female warriors don’t get the support and space they need after war service to transition back to their roles as wives and mothers.

    “The expectation that you can just turn that emotion back on like a light switch just because you walk off the airplane and they got signs and balloons and your baby runs to you, it is not very realistic,” Olson said.

    “It takes a while to get back into that tender, loving woman that’s a mother. And if you’re married, that tender loving woman that’s the wife. And of course, a lot of people demand a lot of things from women, because we kind of have a bad habit of taking care of everybody else first and ourselves last,” she said.

    When divorce does happen, it only adds to the stress faced by an already stressed-out population.

    Staff Sgt. Robin D. Duncan-Chisolm, 47, of Upper Marlboro, Md., was deployed to Iraq last year with the District of Columbia National Guard while she was getting a divorce. She said she worried the entire time that she’d lose custody of her teenage son or lose the house that she and her husband had shared.

    “I was able to smile … but inside I had a lot of turmoil I needed to have resolved, things I needed to bring closure to,” Duncan-Chisolm said.

    She credits her friendships and support in the Guard with helping her get through the divorce. She and her son were able to take advantage of support programs offered through the Guard’s “Yellow Ribbon Reintegration Program” to help with her transition home.

    “If you don’t have anybody to talk to and anybody to turn to, sometimes it gets a little difficult, and I’m glad I had that system in place,” Duncan-Chisolm said.

    Former Army Sgt. 1st Class Tashawnya McCullough, 38, said she didn’t have that support when she returned from Iraq in 2004 to where she was stationed in Germany. Divorced at the time from a service member she says cheated on her, lonely and struggling with her combat experience, she turned to alcohol. It took two months for her to get her girls, then ages 4 and 11, from the United States, where one lived with her ex-husband and the other with friends.

    “My home was so quiet it drove me nuts, and I was by myself. It really affected me horribly. I was not doing well,” McCullough said. “I was just trying to not feel or think about anything. I had a really hard time with drinking.”

    McCullough eventually got help for her drinking, remarried and found work in Texas with Grace After Fire helping other female veterans.

    Each of the military services today offers a variety of programs focused on strengthening or enriching marriage. The Army, for example, offers a program called “Strong Bonds,” which provides relationship help to married couples as well as single soldiers and “resiliency” classes for spouses of both sexes.

    Despite these efforts, Christina Roof, national acting legislative director of AMVETS, said there are not enough programs specifically targeting divorce among female service members. She said some husbands just don’t feel comfortable being surrounded by wives as part of military family support programs, but they need to be educated about issues their wives may face when they return from war.

    “I think that stress of a woman coming home … and the man having no real training of someone sitting down and saying this is what it might be like when your wife gets back, that’s just a recipe for disaster,” Roof said.

    Genevieve Chase, a staff sergeant in the Army Reserves who founded American Women Veterans, said she hears complaints from female service members who say how hard it is for their civilian husbands to understand what they do and feel accepted. If the husband has served and leaves the military to support the woman’s military career, she said he endures constant remarks from others.

    “Unfortunately, male military spouses don’t get any credit or recognition,” Chase said.

    Schobey said she’s proud to serve in the military but it’s not always easy on the service member – or the service member’s spouse.

    “I think a big issue, or something a lot of couples have to work through is the fact that at any time we can get that phone call … you’re deploying again, or for me, here’s some orders, you’re moving to another state,” Schobey said. “Then, you’re uprooting your entire family and you’re moving. Your spouse is expected to be supporting you, but that’s not always the case, obviously. For two times now, that’s not the case for me.”


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