RAPE IN THE MILITARY

Defending our freedom, defenseless to rape?

In my capacity as an advocate for abuse awareness, over the past weeks I have received numerous reports regarding rape in the military. One report stated that more females in the military are being raped by male members than are being shot and killed by the enemy. That is an alarming statistic. We are also told that the rate of rape among women in the military exceeds that of women in the civilian sector. In our current society, 1 in 6 women will become the victim of an attempted or successful sexual assault. Today, rape in the military surpasses those numbers.

 How can we approach stemming, and hopefully, stopping such a level of rape in the military? How do we get to the root causes? Working with victims of sexual assault, in addition to having been a victim of child sex abuse, it is a known fact that silence is the greatest asset for perpetuating rape (or any form of abuse ), no matter the location, environment or victim. Don’t ask, don’t tell? It may have been applied to gay issues, but today women in the military who are raped are highly discouraged from disclosing. A great percentage of the perpetrators are officers or trainers. These women are being taught the same lesson I was taught while being victimized by child sexual abuse – “Don’t tell. I will say it was all your fault.” They also hear such suggestions as, “It would be a shame if you accidentally fell overboard in the middle of this big ocean,” or “You just never know where a stray bullet will land.” They are referred to as whores, sluts and told, “You wanted it. You know you wanted it.” UNACCEPTABLE!

Defending our freedom, defenseless from rape?

It’s time to address this matter, and do it properly and immediately. Each of these female soldiers, sailors or any other sort of enlistees is the daughter, mother and/or wife of someone. They put their lives on the line for us, making the bravest of decisions to enlist and serve our country, protecting the citizenry, whether they step behind a firearm or sit at a desk preparing reports. To think we are doing them more harm with rape in the military than enemy fire is inconsolable for me.

 So, to the men in the military who I am convinced are well within the majority, those who do not and never have participated in such behavior, please, if you can, tell us why this is happening, and please help us find how we can put an end to it? Talk to your brothers in arms. Tell them this for me: Real men don’t rape!

Carolyn S. Hennecy recently received a certificate as Designated Victim Services Practitioner through completion of a 40-hour course conducted by the Office of the Attorney General of the State of Florida. She is recognized nationally as an expert survivor spokesperson on domestic/intimate partner abuse and violence, sexual assault and child molestation and abuse.

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