In an article that I found on alternet.com written by a woman named Rose Aguilar, the author states marks the shocking increase in rape allegations in the U.S. military. “In 2003, Congress began requiring the Department of Defense to report the number of sexual assault cases on file. In 2005, military criminal investigators received 2,374 allegations of sexual assault involving members of the armed forces worldwide. “That number is a 40 percent increase from 2004. The ’04 number is a 25 percent increase from 2003, so that’s a 65 percent increase in two years.”
Ms. Magazine online also has an article about rape statistics in the U.S. military. Lara Friedrich and Anne Decleene write: “In May, Sanchez proposed legislation to replace the military’s antiquated sexual- assault laws — enacted in the 1950s — with the type of civilian laws now in use at the federal level and in 38 states. Article 120 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice doesn’t recognize date or acquaintance rape, and it still places undue emphasis on a woman’s behavior rather than on the perpetrator’s, according to Sanchez.”
After reading these two articles, and considering the other research I have been doing, I get the sense that rape is something that just happens to you if you are a woman in the U.S. army, that you should suck it up, and that you should keep your mouth shut about it. The army is just one more arena in which some men feel as though they can physically and psychologically intimidate and dominate women. How do you fight an enemy, when those who are supposed to be your friends and comrades also threaten you? Rape in the military is not just a problem because of the physical and psychological trauma that it inflicts upon the victims, but also because it threatens the stability and the integrity of the army as a whole. As we have seen in some of the previous articles on the blog, the women are afraid to take showers and get water late at night because they fear rape. The culture of rape in the army is weakening our troops. I imagine that the immediate response to this comment may be: women shouldn’t serve in the military.
My response to this comment: If we were to punish women by not letting them serve their country because men are committing criminal acts, rape, against them, we would be condoning crime and not serving justice, we would be letting sexual desire supercede law, and we would be admitting that “might=right” or more specifically, “penis=right”. Learning more and more about the incidents of rape the military have made me angry against the larger tyranny against women. Perhaps the transmen have it right. If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em. This act of becoming the other makes a person less prone to being attacked by the other. But my other response; fight. Fight the complacency in the army and the acceptance of male sexual power. The military needs to train its men to fight their sexual urges. The military needs to train its men to view these women not as the other, but as their fellow human beings and fellow soldiers. Does this sound a little too warm and fuzzy for you? I believe that education is the way to solving most problems, and this one is no exception. The only thing that I fear, is that we will never be able to get men to see women as equal, perhaps because human nature, most notably sexual desire, will always win in the end. Call me an idealist, but I say we can stop rape in the military, even if a little social conditioning is involved.