Female Soldiers in Irag report an epidemic of sexual assault and harrassment. Is the military taking them seriously?


Helen Benedict recently wrote an article entitled, “Betrayal in the Field”

in the Spring 2009 edition of The Magazine of Columbia University which enlightened me on the danger not only from the enemy but also the risks they faced from their fellow male soldiers.  The article points out that the Defense Department created the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office (SAPRO) which offered soldiers the choice to report assaults anonymously and by hiring sexual assault counselors and in January after several congressional hearings and pressure

from representatives Jane Harman (D-CA) and Louise Slaughter (D-NY), the Army announced its own efforts to improve conditions for woman.

 

It would helpful to hear if the situation improves with this new approach by the Army.

 

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3 Responses to “Female Soldiers in Irag report an epidemic of sexual assault and harrassment. Is the military taking them seriously?”

  1. Cecile Meyer Says:

    Doesn’t the problem reflect on the training military recruits get at boot camp? I understand recruits are taught to drill using disgusting chants depicting woman as dirty little sexual objects. If this climate still exists, it needs an immediate overhaul to one of respect for both sexes.

    When I was in the USMC Women’s Reserve in WWII , we women were in separate quarters under female officers, and males had no acceess to our squad rooms. It seems to me that the only protection for women will be to house them separately with adequate protection from male comrades.

    Meanwhile our local Peace & Justice network’s counter recruitment tables at our local high school provides, among other things, materials on the treatment of females in the military.

  2. Marina Torres Says:

    I think sexual assault remains a pervasive problem for women serving in all branches of the military, including those deployed overseas. Unfortunately,
    many barriers remain to women reporting sexual assault in the military. The biggest ongoing problem for sexual assault in the military is the lack of confidentiality. Any report to a nurse, doctor, counselor or police officer within the military is something that can be or must be reported to a commander. That can lead to trouble for a victim. Even attempts to hold an offender accountable can be detrimental if a victim is vulnerable to a disciplinary infraction.

  3. Jessica Taylor Says:

    It’s also important to note that the entire military criminal justice system is worlds apart from the civilian world. The most important difference is that decisions about investigation and prosecution are made within the chain of command, not by an adversarial outside agency like a prosecutor’s office. This leaves commanders with an inherent conflict of interest: On the one hand they are responsible for seeking justice for crimes; on the other, they are bound as leaders to protect the soldiers they value and to maintain good morale in their units. This can be difficult when an allegation involves an otherwise valuable or likeable serviceman.

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