Child Sexual Abuse and Rape in the Military


Military child rape and sexualabuse—what the Pentagon does not want you to know

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This is a tough one to write. In a recent report, a incredibly disturbing statistic has been revealed involving the military and child rape and sexual abuse.

There were at least 1,584 substantiated cases of military dependents being sexually abused between fiscal years 2010 and 2014, according to the data. Enlisted service members sexually abused children in 840 cases. Family members of the victims accounted for the second largest category with 332 cases.

Most of the enlisted offenders were males whose ranks ranged between E-4 and E-6. In the Marine Corps and Army, for example, those troops are corporals, sergeants and staff sergeants. Officers were involved in 49 of the cases. The victims were overwhelmingly female.

In one instance, Marine Capt. Aaron C. Masa sexually abused a fellow Marine buddy’s three-year-old stepdaughter. He also took sexually explicit photos of the toddler and her infant sister. The three-year-old began having nightmares and sleeping by the door. She said she “hurt down there.” When her mother took her to the hospital the child was happy and the hospital staff diagnosed her with a urinary track infection and treated her with antibiotics. It wasn’t until the child told a neighbor she didn’t like Masa and he touched her—and “made it hurt.” Military authorities stepped in and Masa, 24, admitted to five instances of sexually assaulting the toddler. He is currently serving 30 years in prison.

Clair Burnish with AntiMedia writes that the data accounts “only for cases involving military dependents” which are the only child victims.

In other words, children outside military families who are sexually assaulted by troops simply aren’t accounted for. This fact, in itself, creates enormous lingering doubts about the reasons for lack of tracking — and for the actuality of the victim count.

On international levels, ColumbiaReports.com cites historian Renan Vega of the Pedagogic University in Bogotá whose research reveals a 2004 case in Melgar where 53 underage girls were allegedly sexually abused by military contractors “who moreover filmed [the abuse] and sold the films as pornographic material.” Vega explained:

There exists abundant information about the sexual violence absolute impunity thanks to the bilateral agreements and diplomatic immunity of United States officials.

Burnish with AntiMedia adds that according to the Colombian report, “no disciplinary or legal action was ever undertaken, so tracking the perpetrators is next to impossible.”

But of those cases that do reach trial, the numbers are no less than shocking. According to a previous study by the AP from November 2015, this apparent rampant child sexual assault issue among the troops is clearly evidenced; of the 61% confined in the military’s prison network for sex crimes, over half the cases involved children as victims.

The question: What is the U.S. military doing to help end this military plague?

There are reportedly three Democratic senators who are urging Defense Secretary Ash Carter to lift what they called the military justice system’s “cloak of secrecy” and make records from sex-crimes investigations and trials more accessible. You can privately message or post on Defense Secretary Carter’s Facebook Page.  As for addressing the thousands of alleged military sexual assault crimes in Columbian, by U.S. military, U.S. President Barack Obama sent Special Envoy Bernie Aronson to Colombia to assist in the process. Sadly, Columbia is only one country—out of how many?

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​As well as addressing these atrocious crimes, causes and solutions must be explored so they don’t continue to occur. After helping and protecting victims/potential victims, extensive mental health evaluations and treatment for U.S. troops would do well to also top the list.

There is nothing worse than hurting a child in any way. These children have been traumatized and will carry the scars for ever. I spent a bit of time of counseling adults who had been molested as children. That it would happen in our military, makes me cry. We trust them to save people from war. Not to torture children with sexual abuse. I realize not all military personnel are guilty, but it is like the Catholic Church. How do you know who is a danger to children and who is not.

 

Namaste,

Barbara

Is This Child Safe?


 

 

I have been thinking about holidays and children. Not just American children, but children in the UK and children in India. I have been worrying about children in Russia and in Jamaica.

 

I have been thinking of children who don’t have good role models or lunch money. I have been thinking about children who are afraid and ones who like to look at books and yet they can’t read. They can’t write their names. This is for all the children around the globe, every last noisy, coughing, running, laughing, crying, dirty, sassy one of them. I hope they have someone to hug them tonight when they go to bed and I hope they did not see violence today.

If the Child is Safe

We pray for children

who sneak popsicles before supper,

who erase holes in math workbooks,

who can never find their shoes.

 

And we pray for those

who stare at photographers from behind barbed wire,

who can’t bound down the street in a new pair of sneakers.

who never counted ” potatoes”,

who are born in places we wouldn’t be caught dead,

who never go to the circus,

who live in an x-rated world.

 

We pray for children

who bring us sticky kisses and fistfulls of dandelions,

who hug us in a hurry and forget their lunch money.

 

And we pray for those

who never get dessert,

who have no safe blanket to drag behind them, who watch their parents die,

who can’t find any bread to steal,

who don’t have any rooms to clean up,

whose pictures aren’t on anybody’s dresser,

whose monsters are real.

 

We pray for children

who spend all their allowance before Tuesday,

who throw tantrums in the grocery store and pick at their food,

who like ghost stories,

who shove dirty clothes under the bed, and never rinse the tub,

who get visits from the tooth fairy,

who don’t like to be kissed in front of the carpool,

who squirm in church or temple and scream in the phone,

whose tears we sometimes laugh at and

whose smiles can make us cry.

 

And we pray for children who want to be carried

and for those who must,

for those we never give up on and for those who don’t get a second chance.

For those we smother…and for those who will grab

the hand of anybody kind enough to offer it.

—Marian Wright Edelman

 

This time of year, everyone is looking for presents. Some people just have everything or you don’t know them well enough to be certain to find the right present. A lot of time gets wasted on trying to find the perfect item. Well, I have a suggestion. You can go to Heifer.com and decide how much you want to spend. Your money will be added to others and a flock of chicks, ducks or geese will be sent to a village where there is extreme famine and poverty. You can send a part of a cow or goat. It is your choice. These gifts will help to feed their owners and the animals can breed and everyone is better off. You get a card to send to your friend or relative and the family or village gets what you pick for them. Perhaps, this year because of your kindness, there will be more children who will not go hungry and will be ever so grateful for the kind stranger who helped fill their belly.

 

Heifer.com is an organization which has been around for seventy years. They provide livestock and environmentally sound agricultural training to improve the lives of people who struggle to have reliable sources of food. They are currently working in thirty countries.

 

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What we can do for a child of this world.

What we can do for a child of this world.

 

 

 

Children around the world playing. We can help them to continue to do so.

Children around the world playing. We can help them to continue to do so.

Immigrants


US NEWS

Hundreds of immigrant children settle in U.S. southern border states

A woman lays pictures of missing Central American migrants during a march by mothers who are searching for their children, in Mexico City, Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2015. The caravan of women, mostly from Central America, are traveling through Mexico to search for their relatives who left for a better life in the U.S. but disappeared. (AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo)

A new spike in unaccompanied Central American minors crossing into the United States is pushing federal officials to open shelters in Texas and California. About 800 immigrant children from Central America who have entered the United States illegally will be moved to two campsites in the Dallas area over the coming days, local officials said on Thursday. Incoming family groups are usually sent first to detention centers, and adult migrants are often jailed when they are apprehended, but children traveling alone need special treatment under federal law.

We didn’t feel like there was any way we could turn them away and not care for them. We have the beds that are empty and the food that can be served.

Reverend Rick DuBose, superintendent of the Assemblies of God of North Texas

Increasing gang violence is pushing people out of Central America, said Maureen Meyer, a senior associate for Mexico and migrant rights at the Washington Office on Latin America. More migrants are crossing the border, even as new checkpoints between Central America and the U.S. are turning thousands of people back, said Emilio Gonzalez Gonzalez, a political scientist and independent researcher in Mexico City. Rather than fleeing, many of the children seek out U.S. officials, surrender and request political asylum, citing violence and endemic crime in their home countries.

10,888

CHILDREN

Young immigrants

A total of 10,588 unaccompanied children crossed the U.S.-Mexico border in October and November, more than double the 5,129 who crossed during the same two months last year, according to the U.S. Border Patrol.

bjwordpressdivider As liberal as I am, I do not want undocumented people sneaking into our country. I guess this is my conservative trigger. I am from immigrant ancestors who came here to avoid Communism. They spoke English quite quickly after arriving and became citizens. They got jobs and even survived the Depression by taking care of each other. My grandmother would make soup from bones she had begged from the butcher. They lived in Cleveland and during the Depression my grandfather found a job in Chicago and sent money home for people to survive on. They cared, and they worked to help each other survive. We don’t really do that anymore. Some people might but not many. It is far easier to assist people to get back up on their feet than to go to war and then have to rebuild entire cities.
I am very glad that we are taking these children in. They are in so much danger from the drug cartels. I realize that this costs us money, but one of these children might find the cure for cancer. One might be the next Mozart. One might be a Monet. One might be the one who is able to lead us to peace.
May we live in peace with our neighbors and may we keep remembering that these are our sisters and brothers in the human family. All have something to give to enrich the world.
Wars cost trillions of dollars and we are sacrificing our sons and daughters on the alter of the warriors. War accomplishes nothing and peace brings about the peace we so badly need.
Namaste,
Barbara, the Idealistic Rebel

#Bloggers4Peace

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Save the Children with Books!


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Waterstones has launched an industry-wide campaign to raise £1m by urging people to “Buy Books for Syria”.

In an unprecedented step, the industry’s top publishers from Penguin Random House, HarperCollins, Hachette and Simon & Schuster to indies such as Profile Books and Canongate are donating titles from big name authors such as David Walliams, Neil Gaiman, Victoria Hislop and Ali Smith for Waterstones to sell through their stores under the ‘Buy Books for Syria’ banner, with 100% of the retail price going towards Oxfam’s Syria Crisis Appeal.

The charity promotion will begin on Thursday (1st October) with titles displayed on tables front of store in Waterstones’ 280 shops, stickered with the ‘Buy Books for Syria’ name.

The offerings will include both frontlist and backlist titles from a vast array of authors including Mary Beard, Alan Bennett, Michael Bond, William Boyd, Bill Bryson, Tracy Chevalier, Lee Child and Julia Donaldson.

The company’s m.d, James Daunt, is committed to launching the appeal despite it being the industry’s most crucial time of the year in the run up to Christmas.

He said: “In desperate times like these, everyone feels the need to do something, to help in some way. We are doing what we do best: bookselling, and it only feels right that every single penny of each book sold will go straight to Oxfam. We are proud to be able transform the generosity of authors and publishers into such a substantial contribution to Oxfam’s work.”

He told The Bookseller that “some-perhaps most” of the sales would substitute “sales upon which otherwise we would be earning money” in the run up to Christmas but added that the company was “very fortunate to have an owner and board who have put this to one side and supported the initiative.” Waterstones is owned by Russian oligarch Alexander Mamut.

Tom Weldon, c.e.o of Penguin Random House UK, added: “We often speak as an industry about the power of books to change lives – our aim with this campaign is to use the power of books to save lives. I’m humbled by the way publishers and authors are collaborating to support Waterstones and Oxfam in this initiative. I hope that together we can make a difference.”

The original idea for the campaign came from Profile editor Mark Ellingham. The titles in the appeal include Karen Joy Fowler’s We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves (Profile), War Horse by Michael Morpurgo (Egmont), Midnight’s Children by Salman Rushdie (Vintage), One Day by David Nicholls (Hodder), The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini (Bloomsbury) and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson (Quercus/MacLehose), among others. Publishers have provided between 1,000 and 2,000 copies of all the titles to be sold for the appeal.

Support from UK publishers includes Atlantic Books, Bloomsbury, Canongate, Egmont, Faber, Granta, Hachette, HarperCollins, Pan Macmillan, Penguin Random House UK, Profile, Scholastic, Simon & Schuster and Usborne.

Other authors involved in the appeal include Mark Haddon, Matt Haig, Robert Harris, Khaled Hosseini, Max Hastings, Marian Keyes, Linda La Plante, Andrea Levy, Hilary Mantel, Peter May, Alexander McCall Smith, Caitlin Moran, Michael Morpugo, JoJo Moyes, David Nicholls, Ian Rankin, Tom Rob Smith, Salman Rushdie and Jacqueline Wilson.

Nicholls said: “This is a wonderful initiative, turning our passion for the written word into practical help at a time of terrible crisis.”

Smith added: “I support this initiative with heart, mind and soul.”

Mark Goldring, c.e.o of Oxfam, said the £1m of raised would help its program of delivering clean water to another 150,000 people in Syria, or providing support to tens of thousands of people in Jordan over the next year. “This help is urgently needed as the conflict in Syria shows no sign of ending,” he said.

Earlier in the month, authors and publishers lead by Patrick Ness helped to raise over £600,000 for Save the Children’s refugee appeal by pledging to match donations from members of the public.

Helping those in the refugee camps is important. There have not been this many refugees in Europe since WWII. Hey, Rock world, how about a benefit concert? Let’s all come up with ideas to help these poor people who have lost everything. They are our brothers and sisters. This is one world and we all share it.

Namaste

Barbara

Religion: The View from the Coming Generation


I found this video on viralthread.com, and found it fascinating to see what was, to me, a different view of religion being expressed by children.

These children are Indian and Pakistani, but I wonder how different the views of American, British or European children would really be.

I’m sharing this post with you because we need to listen to the children, because, right now, they are pure and uncorrupted; and because we need to realize how the division between us brings about hatred and, often, wars.

 

I really would love to hear your comments on this one.  I think the opinions of these children is worth a good, honest discussion between us, the people who care about peace in the world.

Namaste,

Barbara

 

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You Have to Be Carefully Taught


My youngest grandson is 5 years old, and in pre-school.  He has lived his entire life in conservative areas, first in Arkansas, now in Oklahoma.  I talked to his mother today, and she told me that when he came home from school today, the following conversation took place:

“Mom, Mr. Obama is our President, did you know that?”

“Yes, honey, I did know that.  Did you know that he’s our First President of Color?”

“No, mommy!  He’s not the First President!  And he’s not the President for Color, he’s the President of All of Us!”

A 5-year-old can get that, but Congress, or at least many Republicans, apparently can’t.

Obama is the first President of Color, but to the youngest generation, that doesn’t matter.  What matters is:  He’s President of America.  Period.

Color is irrelevant, at my grandson’s age, because at 5, he has not been taught to hate people who look differently than he does, or who worship differently than he does, or who worship not at all.  At 5, we’re all just People.  Nothing more, nothing less.  Just People.

Think of what a wonderful world it could be, if he were never taught that all people whose skin has a different hue are dangerous or stupid or lazy or out to get him in some undefined way.  Think of what a wonderful world it could be, if he were never taught that his God hates the way other people worship the same God and that they will be punished for believing differently.  Think of what a wonderful world it could be, if he were never taught that all people in foreign lands, or whose parents or grandparents come from foreign lands, want to destroy our country, or hurt his family.

What would the world be like if we never taught our children to hate, or to fear or to be intolerant and prejudiced?  Can you imagine such a world?

It’s hard, looking at the news and beheadings and bombings and riots and protests, to imagine a world without hatred being taught to children.

But I, for one, think it’s worth trying.

 

 

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Gun violence in America


5-year-old boy finds gun, shoots baby brother in head