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View Diary: Military sexual assault numbers rise—and gain a great poster boy (137 comments)

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  •  It could be (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LSophia, patbahn

    a higher or lower rank, or even an officer of another branch, if available.

    And you keep reporting it until it is taken seriously. If it comes out you told another officer and they did not take action, their ass is on the line too when it comes to light.

    One of the most effective catalysts to action for an enlisted person frustrated by the chain of command is to mention your congressperson. The military hates congressional interference. I've seen it done.

    When my brother-in-law was drafted into Viet Nam, his mother fought to remove him from a combat role as the sole male progeny of a WWII vet, which was the rule at that time.
    But by the time they got to him, he was in-country with his unit and would not leave for fear of weakening the unit.
    Weeks later, a mortar he was cleaning after a monsoon exploded and took half his right hand and loaded his torso with shrapnel. He survived and has a nice benefits package working as a federal employee in AK.

    He could have gone into an office job in 'Nam. Congress trumps the Chain of Command.

    Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal. - Martin Luther King, Jr.

    by Gentle Giant on Tue May 07, 2013 at 08:18:39 AM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  It is much more complicated than that (9+ / 0-)

      from the perspective of the victim.  The victim has already been victimized and when they report they are re-victimized by a system that protects the attackers.

      Look at the number of people who report anonymously.  That is a staggeringly high number of people.  26,000 reports in one year.  Those are people who want something done, but who are afraid to ruin their own careers and lives within their unit by attempting to get justice.

      The problem is out of control and it really isn't good for the military as a whole either.  It needs to be addressed and at this point, it is pretty clear that civilian intervention is what's needed.  Neutral parties who are not beholden to some commander or another - people who will take the facts as they come and make sure that those facts are appropriately dealt with.

      •  I can see your point. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        dinotrac, LSophia

        Civilian intervention may help with the problems.

        I wouldn't want to see military intervention into civilian problems. Not again.

        But there is civilian oversight at the Pentagon. We'll see if Chuck Hagel himself gets involved.

        Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal. - Martin Luther King, Jr.

        by Gentle Giant on Tue May 07, 2013 at 08:50:26 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Hagel (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          pasadena beggar, zinger99, LSophia

          will not get involved.  But you can bet if men were being raped in large numbers and then getting punished for being raped, he'd be getting involved.

          •  Not sure on that yet. He was reported (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Gentle Giant, dinotrac, LSophia

            to have been really furious when informed of this yesterday.

            "People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone. " Audrey Hepburn "A Beautiful Woman"

            by Ginny in CO on Tue May 07, 2013 at 09:20:31 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Time will tell. (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              zinger99, dinotrac, LSophia, Ginny in CO

              He was under the gun to do something after an Air Force general overturned a sexual assault conviction (and court martial) of an F-16 pilot.  Apparently the pilot raped a woman on the base in Italy.  You can imagine how beloved our troops would be in Italy after that hit the local papers.

              •  What I really face palmed over was (0+ / 0-)

                when they transferred Wilkerson to the base at her hometown. There was a diary in the last week on the 'reception' from her family and friends.

                Heh, the SOFAs all over the world have made our soldiers persona non grata where ever they are based. And the DC crowd, especially GOP, could not understand that the Iraqi Parliament had way too much reason to vote down the proposed SOFA there. No way Obama or al-Maliki could negotiate anything.

                "People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone. " Audrey Hepburn "A Beautiful Woman"

                by Ginny in CO on Tue May 07, 2013 at 12:51:00 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

        •  I think that people are starting to get (6+ / 0-)

          very nervous about this problem.  It is pretty big.

          Cleaning house could potentially have the effect of really decimating the commanding ranks given how many cover up and protection schemes there seem to be.  So, that's, I think, why we haven't seen a huge effort made to fix the problem.

          Then there is the problem of how to do it - our civilian leadership has been kowtowed by the military and their proponents for about two decades to the point where politicians and others are basically afraid to intervene in the inner workings of the military.  No one wants to be seen as having been anything but their "friend" and that goes right up to the top in the White House, imo.

          But what the military needs is some sort of team of sexual assault prevention experts who are not military or former military - people who have no skin in the military game - and not just a presidential commission to "study" the problem, but people who might be stationed at bases or at a call center who would have the power to move complaints along even if a commander were to object.  That idea is probably unthinkable in a lot of circles, but it seems like it is the only way to turn the trend around at this point.

          •  The military polices itself, though. (0+ / 0-)

            They have the UCMJ. Military personnel are not covered by the Constitution. They are, in effect, military/government property.
            The armed forces' propensity to solve all problems, handle all issues, "in house" is ingrained for over two centuries. It is a different world from the civilian world.

            Don't expect any direct-to-enlisted civilian oversight. The resistance to it runs so deep that those who haven't served may not grasp it.
            When the military decides to get something done, it can be accomplished with amazing speed and efficiency. The problem will be addressed. Once the top brass decides to make it so, it will be so.

            I'm not saying civilian involvement wouldn't be beneficial. I'm just stating it is highly unlikely to happen. It will be addressed. And it may involve an upheaval the likes of which are rarely seen in the armed forces.

            I'm quite certain civilian intervention, aside from that of the Pentagon, will never happen.

            Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal. - Martin Luther King, Jr.

            by Gentle Giant on Tue May 07, 2013 at 10:22:10 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Senator Gillibrand is really - really - pissed (4+ / 0-)

              off.  This story is about to get a lot bigger because of the Air Force spokesman's testimony at the Senate hearing they held about the sexual assault rate rising so dramatically.  

              He said that it was a problem because of the "hook up culture" in American society.  Andrea Mitchell led her questioning in her interview of Gillibrand by saying, "Doesn't this sound a little bit like blame the victim?"

              So, the military leadership is proving themselves to be completely clueless and misguided both by the numbers and based on their words.  It is going to come down to some serious civilian intervention.

              And I say that not to contravene your point that there will be heavy resistance, but to underscore how hot this issue looks like it is about to become.

              •  I agree and didn't misconstrue your comments. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                Gillibrand, my congressperson, and Congress in general can hold the Air Force and other branches' feet to the fire. They can force reform.

                But reform will be created and implemented by the military structure in place. With proper and sufficient force, it will happen.

                I'd like to see a no-nonsense female high-ranking officer put in charge of implementation. Such a person would not involve herself in any ol' boy mentality and might inspire victims to come forward- might provide the sense of security needed for someone to feel safe to come forward and might possess a deeper understanding and connection to the issues. Such women do exist in the military.

                Recent LGBT issues, the repeal of DADT, took effect with amazing speed once adopted. The same is true of racist attitudes from the middle to the end of the last century.

                The double-edged sword of the military world is it's size and rigidity. Rigidity can hurt from resistance to change, but is a boon when change is adopted. It's a small, highly-regimented world our military people serve in. When (not "if") this atrocity is addressed and engaged against, that world will change rapidly, and those who can't keep up will find themselves on the outside. Or worse.

                I am by no means a flag-waver, military cheerleader as may be seen by my comments above. But I do respect our armed forces and remember that world, even though it was an ill fit for me. I have faith something will be done. Something definitive. Once there is the motivation to do so, and we're seeing that motivation building now.

                Don't be surprised if the military high brass has already hit the ground running by the time Gillibrand or any others in a similar position come knocking on the Pentagon's door.

                Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal. - Martin Luther King, Jr.

                by Gentle Giant on Tue May 07, 2013 at 11:08:55 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  Civilians are afraid to intervene in the military? (0+ / 0-)

            Since when?

            Bush fired two Joint Chiefs.
            Obama has fired two Generals.

            I don't think you are paying attention to the world as it is.

            LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

            by dinotrac on Tue May 07, 2013 at 10:30:55 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Gentle Giant commenting just above (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              describes the "world as it is" within the military and with respect to civilian oversight pretty accurately.

              I'd add that your commentary throughout this thread suggests that you have little perspective on how huge and epidemic this problem is.  Firing a general or two isn't going to come even remotely close to solving it.

              •  Goodness gracious. Sorry, but it's very hard to (0+ / 0-)

                write everything like this:

                Fired a couple of generals, and if I had the time, I'll be we found some other interventions as well, but, gee, given the original assertion is that the civilian overseers are afraid to intervene (like Harry Truman was afraid of MacAurther) the fact that civilian overseers have not hesitated to knock top generals out of their posts does not comport with an assertion of fearfulness. While we're at it -- if civilian overseers wish to impress their seriousness about this issue on the military, all they really need to do is make sure the Joint Chiefs know their asses are on the line if something isn't done.  The military is actually pretty good at making change when it realizes that change is required.  For example, while the military hasn't exactly solved the problem of race relations, it got out way ahead of the civilian world.  It was training and promoting minorities to positions of responsibility when the civilian world was still claiming that qualified applicants couldn't be found. And that'st he kind of thing I'm talking about: the civilian oversight can and does make an impression on the military -- WHEN IT CARES TO.

                LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

                by dinotrac on Tue May 07, 2013 at 10:56:32 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  The military is actually pretty good about (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  making change when it realizes that change is required**

                  **Tailhook Scandal


                  We are still waiting.

                  I think that 20 years is a pretty generous grace period.

                  •  **cough** Secret Service hookers **cough** (0+ / 0-)

                    Yeah. The military has a ways to go. Sticks out like a sore thumb given that civilian society has completely solved the problem.

                    *cough* Eliot Spitzer *cough
                    * Jerry Sandusky *cough
                    * Mark Hurd *cough
                    Jennifer Vigilcough*

                    I feel compelled to tell you that there are more names because I just know you'll say that 5 people is hardly very many.

                    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

                    by dinotrac on Tue May 07, 2013 at 11:15:54 AM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

        •  So, I'm even more convinced now that (0+ / 0-)

          I've seen a clip of the testimony of an Air Force commander who spoke at a hearing in the Senate today saying that he believes that the problems come from "the hook up culture" outside the military before these people come in.

          Further, he stated that many of the women who come into the military had already been assaulted prior which I have no idea why he decided to include in his testimony.

          •  Oh. It sounds like he thinks that, since they (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            DSPS owl

            were assaulted "prior" to getting into the military, that they should be used to it by now (and therefore, so what?). That's even worse than his statement about the "hook-up" culture.

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