Several articles have come out recently about the prevalence of male on female rape that is occurring among troop units fighting in Iraq. The first is an article that I found online at Salon.com, and the second was the cover story of the New York Times Magazine two weeks ago. These articles bring up many questions about a woman’s place in the army, and how female U.S. soldiers have been dealing with their experiences in Iraq. I would like to dedicate my next few blog posts to these articles, and in the following posts I will try to reformulate and answer these questions.
Should we consider the possibility of all female platoons as a way to eradicate or at least limit rape?
Although many American politicians still disagree with the idea that women should be allowed to serve in positions where they would encounter full-on enemy combat, the Salon article made it abundantly clear that women stationed in Iraq are already facing these situations, although they are not specifically serving in infantry front line positions. Can we then come fully to realizing the prospect that women should and must be serving in all areas of combat, that they are both capable of doing this, and that they are equally as skilled as men to get the job done? Perhaps these kinds of troops have the potential to be more productive and coherent than an all male, or mixed gender troop. In a January 19th article on FoxNews.com, I learned that the first all-female peacekeeping unit, all Indian women, from the UN will be deployed in Liberia.
This article expresses the same sentiments that the U.S. soldier articulates in the Globe piece, that female soldiers seem more approachable to other women and children, and that they may ultimately be more effective than an all male or mixed gendered unit. The fact that women and children see female soldiers as less threatening is interesting because even though these women fight along side men, their fellow women do not see them predatory, sexually or otherwise.