U.S. Military Accused of Punishing Sexual Assault Victims in New Human Rights Report


First women couldn’t be in the military because it was too “tempting” to have women on military bases.  Next, we could have women in the military, but they could only do non-combat duty.  Now, women in the military can be in combat.

As a pacifist, I don’t want any of this; I’ve always been a pacifist and I’m sure I will die a pacifist.  As a feminist, however, I support a woman’s right to choose what do with her life, and that includes military service.

What disturbs me about women in the military isn’t that they want to go and serve their country, or that they want to be able to fight for their country; it is the fact that sex, once again, is being used as an excuse for harassment, molestation and rape.

For thousands of years, males — i.e. Adam and all non-feminist men after — have used the excuse “she made me do it”.  There is not a legitimate reason, ever, to sexual molest, rape, attack or violate a woman.  In actuality, these things have to do with power and control, not with sex.

The military is the American bastion of male power and control.  The good old boys are going to have to suck it up and get a grip on themselves; they need to realize that the only thing they have legitimate power and control over is themselves, and begin to act accordingly.

 US Military Accused of Punishing Sexual Assault Victims in New Human Rights Watch Report

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

Every 3 Minutes – Every 5 Minutes


With No Immediate Cause

by Ntozake Shange

 

every 3 minutes a woman is beaten

every five minutes a

woman is raped/every ten minutes

a lil girl is molested

yet i rode the subway today

i sat next to an old man who

may have beaten his old wife

3 minutes ago or 3 days ago/30 years ago

he might have sodomized his

daughter  but i sat there

cuz the young man on the train

might beat some young women

later in the day or tomorrow

i might not shut my door fast

enuf/push hard enuf

every 3 minutes it happens

some woman’s innocence

rushes to her checks/pours from her mouth

like the betsy wetsy dolls have been torn

apart/their mouths

menses red & split/every

three minutes a shoulder

is jammed through plaster and the oven door/

chairs push through the rib cage/hot water or

boiling sperm decorate her body

i rode the subway today

& bought a paper from a

man who might

have held his old lady onto

a hot pressing iron/i dont know

maybe he catches lil girls in the

park & rips open their behinds

with steel rods/i can’t decide

what he might have done i only

know every 3 minutes

every 5 minutes every 10 minutes/so

i bought the paper

looking for the announcement

the discovery/of that dismembered

woman’s body/the

victims have not all been

identified/today they are

naked and dead/refuse to

testify/one girl out of 10’s not

coherent/i took the coffee

& spit it up/i found an

announcement/not the woman’s

bloated body in the river/floating

not the child bleeding in the

59th street corridor/not the baby

broken on the floor/

“there is some concern

that alleged battered women

might start to murder their

husbands and lovers with no

immediate cause”

I spit up i vomit i am screaming

we all have immediate cause

every 3 minutes

every 5 minutes

every 10 minutes

every day

women’s bodies are found

in alleys & bedrooms/at the top of the stairs

before i ride the subway/buy a paper/drink

coffee/i must know/

have you hurt a woman today

did you beat a woman today

throw a child across a room

are the lil girl’s panties

in yr pocket

did you hurt a woman today

 

i have to ask these obscene questions

the authorities require me to

establish

immediate cause

 

every three minutes

every five minutes

every ten minutes

every day.

 

 

Born Paulette Williams in Trenton, New Jersey, Ntozake Shange took her pseudonym as an expression of her anger at the dilemma of being a black woman. In Zulu the name means “she who comes with her own things.” / “she who walks like a lion.” She was educated at Barnard College and the University of Southern California.

 

 

 

Black and White photo of Pacific coast.

Pacific Ocean

Women’s Battles and How We Can Improve Life for Women


The issues facing women in our country are really not new or just a problem in America. We are actually in better shape than in some other countries. This doesn’t diminish our problems here. I am really tired of the excuse that this misogyny we face as women, began with Eve. My response is this, that:  Adam chose the fruit, Eve didn’t twist his arm. Yet, men are not held accountable for his decision. It is all Eve’s fault. Please. Divinity would not be omniscient and infinite if he did not know what happened and what the result would be. This story which is found in the Tanach is a good story. Jews also have a legend that the first woman was actually Lilith. She was not “created” from Adam’s rib. G-d created Lilith to be his equal partner. Adam couldn’t handle a partner so he asked G-d for a new helpmate who would listen to him and obey him. In the Jewish calendar, we are in the new year of 5773. It is a different calendar than the Western one. It is a Lunar calendar and based on the moon instead of the sun.

In the years since, the exile from the garden, most societies have blamed and diminished women as the natural course of events. 2012 is no exception. Women are treated without respect or equality by the men in their lives. Most sexist men and women feel women are weak, not as intelligent and the beginning of the evils men cannot resist.

Many fundamental sects of all the religions speak of  having to control women and that women should not speak. Some separate women in worship, some don’t allow them to speak, and some come up with ridiculous reasons that women are not equal. All of them use G-d as their as their right to use and punish women in unbelievable ways. Just being a woman, just having the power to create life seems to be a crime.

G-d, Adonia, The One, The Beloved, Buddha, Allah have been said to have given instructions for the deplorable treatment of women in the world. So the Divinity which resides within all of us and the fact that we are “All children of the Universe” matters not in terms of gender.

I began mentioning some of the terrible things that women were having to endure yesterday. I want to go back to the practice of polygamy in some fundamental Mormon sects. I find this to be disturbing because American children are being raised to think that this is a form of marriage that will help them into heaven. I have read the book, The True Origin of Mormon Polygamy.

This book goes back to the founding of the Mormon Church upon the revelations of one Joseph Smith. They actually started out in Kirkland, Ohio and as time went on they moved farther and farther west. My research has led me to many testimonies made under oath that tie Joseph Smith and Bringham Young to the revelations. Some were made by women that one or the other of them had tried to entice the women into plural marriages.

In the before mentioned book, you are able, if you wish, to read Joseph Smith’s revelation which he said he received on July 12, 1843. The revelation is called, “Revelation on Celestial Marriage.” Polygamy was made illegal by the Federal government in the late 1800’s.

My reading of memoirs of women and children who have “escaped” from polygamy (see yesterday’s blog for titles written by women involved in the practice of polygamy), have given me a distressing view of life for women and children in these sects. What I have discovered is that the so called “”Revelations” give Mormon men the right to have as many Celestial or Plural wives as they wish.

There are entire communities where everyone is living in polygamy. Los Molinos is one of them and is in California. These women must share their husband with ten, 20, or more sister-wives. They are raised to believe that the only way they have of getting into heaven is to become a jewel in a man’s crown. When he dies, if he has enough jewels, he will reach godhood. The wives make it in using his coat tails.

This is why educated women and girls put themselves into this situation. Polygamous families do have differences, in how the husband works out the challenges that come with more than one wife and with enough children to fill a cruise ship.

Some families live all together. the husband wives and all of the children. Try to imagine perhaps 50 people in a house trying to have meals, get ready for school/work, dealing with sick kids. The other scenario is that each wife and her children have their own home. In either scenario, the women have to deal on a regular basis watching their husband spend the night with one of the other women. This causes jealousy, envy, sadness, stress and loneliness for these women. Husbands often don’t know the children’s names or birthdays. Some wives go out to work and some stay at home to raise a scary amount of children.

The husband gives them as much money as he can, many are often working for the church so often that they aren’t available to work and generate an income all the time. Older male children often leave and go to large cities to earn money to send home for shoes, food, or additions to the family.

The fundamental sects keep this all a secret. Often women and children live in tents, or houses without running water or electricity. Most live in some of the worst poverty found in our country. The girls are prepared to take their place as a plural wife all of their lives. Some girls have been sealed into Celestial marriages as young as ten years of age.

Women have no control over their lives and abuse takes place and they believe they  have no recourse. Of course, they do, but these marriages are secret, and they are raised to believe they accept it unless they are willing to run with their children and lose their ticket to heaven.

Having enough food is difficult. Education doesn’t usually include college. Some of the sects are built in Mexico for protection from the law.  Having young girls as wives is more about the molestation of their young bodies than spirituality.

Wives often have children at home with the assistance of women who act as midwives. The man is to get anything he wants because he is a man. There are stories of girls being talked into running away from their families and marrying a man to ensure their heavenly place.

All of these conditions bring us repeatedly to women being property, owned by a man, demeaned, abused and kept in near slavery, in some cases. There is a Federal law which makes this lifestyle illegal, but it must be enforced. The Warren Jeffries case is just one of the cases happening in our country while we look away and women and children suffer. We must begin to enforce these laws without fear. We must protect these women and children. They — and all women and children — are part of the fabric of America.

The Work to be Done


The language of the eyes is tears.

While I am celebrating Labor Day and it’s often forgotten beginnings, I am also looking at what is happening around the world and here to women. There are honor killings, little girls are being sold for their bodies, rape is on the rise in America as well as most other countries. Abuse is rising and I mean physical as well as emotional abuse. Women and children are dying due to Domestic Violence. Children are being molested every day. Sex offenders are being trusted to register. Not any help to the person they kidnap and molest. There are people who are kidnapping our young teens and selling them for their bodies and they are left to rot in brothels all around the world.

My point is that while we have to have positive thoughts, meditate, pray and work for peace in this world, we also have to fight to stop the treatment that women and children are experiencing here in America and around the world.

This is not a time to be silent. It is not a time to conform. This is a time to reach out a hand and help. It is time to volunteer for a shelter, a time to donate to a children’s after-school program. It is time to tell your friend that you can’t agree with her opinions. She is welcome to them but you don’t share them.

It is a time to remember the example of Martin Luther King Sr., Desmond Tutu, Nelson Mandela, John F. Kennedy, Ghandi and Rosa Parks. It is time to speak up, stand tall with dignity and remember that passive resistance freed India from being a British colony to being a country in its own right.

Positive change takes energy, passion, love, and determination. We are all capable of change and we have changed things before, it is time to do it again.

Write to your Congress people and Senators, on the state as well as the national level. Look in your communities for shelters, Rape Crisis, Planned Parenthood or youth groups. Look at what they need and find what you can do to help and make a change. We all must work to make this a better world. There are millions of women and children who need our help and need us to care.

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