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The Military's Secret Shame
April 6, 2011 8:55 PM   Subscribe

When men in the military rape other men in the ranks, no one wants to talk about it. Why the sexual assault of males in the service is finally being confronted.
Greg Jeloudov was 35 and new to America when he decided to join the Army. Like most soldiers, he was driven by both patriotism for his adopted homeland and the pragmatic notion that the military could be a first step in a career that would enable him to provide for his new family. Instead, Jeloudov arrived at Fort Benning, Ga., for basic training in May 2009, in the middle of the economic crisis and rising xenophobia. The soldiers in his unit, responding to his Russian accent and New York City address, called him a “champagne socialist” and a “commie faggot.” He was, he told NEWSWEEK, “in the middle of the viper’s pit.” Less than two weeks after arriving on base, he was gang-raped in the barracks by men who said they were showing him who was in charge of the United States. When he reported the attack to unit commanders, he says they told him, “It must have been your fault. You must have provoked them.”
posted by hippybear (47 comments total) 22 users marked this as a favorite

 
I've heard stories -- nothing solid, just stories from trusted friends -- of a unit discovering that a male soldier is gay and then "using" the gay soldier for pleasure. The victim can't come forward, because to do so would be to admit gayness, and thus be kicked out. The abusers and investigators justify the abuse as "Well, he's probably enjoying it anyway, so who cares?"
posted by Avenger at 9:16 PM on April 6, 2011


Aren't these guys already fucking enough people?
posted by tumid dahlia at 9:20 PM on April 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Until 2006, sexual assault was classified as a women’s health issue"

My brain just shut down. There are just so many things wrong with that. I can't even.
posted by Garm at 9:26 PM on April 6, 2011 [21 favorites]


"... as embarrassing as male-female rape is, [from their perspective] this is even worse. The very fact that there's male-on-male rape in the military means that there are warriors who aren't strong enough to fight back.”

So the military is embarrassed by the fact that the victims don't fight back, rather than the fact that there are rapists in the military? Mindfuck.
posted by gatorae at 9:28 PM on April 6, 2011 [30 favorites]


When females in the military are sexually assaulted, no one lets them talk about it.
posted by Slackermagee at 9:29 PM on April 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


In one of the worst incidents, a group of men tackled him, shoved a soda bottle into his rectum, and threw him backward off an elevated platform onto the hood of a car.

When he reported the incident, Stephens says, his platoon sergeant told him, “You’re the problem. You’re the reason this is happening,” and refused to take action.


I'm going to go to bed and try to dream of a world where I'm naive enough to be surprised by this awful shit.
posted by Uppity Pigeon #2 at 9:32 PM on April 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


...the experience seems even more detrimental for men’s mental health,” says Amy Street, a psychologist with the Boston VA hospital who has worked with both male and female survivors. “The way I make sense of that is that women, for better or worse, live their lives with this idea that they might experience sexual assault at some point. There are public models of how to recover from rape. Men don’t have any expectation that this might happen to them...

It's said so often in feminist circles that it's become a cliche: the patriarchy hurts men, too.
posted by echolalia67 at 9:32 PM on April 6, 2011 [28 favorites]


.
posted by jb at 9:34 PM on April 6, 2011


When females people in the military are sexually assaulted, no one lets them talk about it.

FTFY

(The ENTIRE ARTICLE is about how men in the military who are sexually assaulted aren't able to come forward... did you read it?)
posted by incessant at 9:38 PM on April 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Hunh, Bay Pines was my local VA clinic while I was living in Florida. I had no idea it had that program. It's a tiny little facility, I wonder where they run it.

Man, ugh. I wonder if this is more common in the combat-arms MOSes or the support MOSes. I could see it going both ways.

I'm glad it would seem that there's at least some pushing for increased recognition, treatment, and prosecution within the military of this stuff. The best commanders really understand that - especially in a time of war - just letting this shit happen is infinitely more corrosive to unit cohesion and morale than dealing with it is. I certainly know that my last commander would have taken any report of anyone raping anyone else very seriously and, I'm sure, brought it to the batt commander for investigation and prosecution under UCMJ.

Slackermagee - the point of the article is that, to the degree that that's true, it's true of men as well. It's always going to depend upon your local chain of command. Some will be chickenshit, others are good. I've seen an NCO that was inches from being promoted to a Sergeant First Class get busted down to Specialist and moved to a different battalion because he sent a bunch of harrassing texts to a female Soldier that had just recently pissed hot for cocaine and been busted down to Private herself. If there's any Soldier it's going to be safe to harass it would have been her, and sending texts is certainly not as bad as having grabby hands or whatever, but that SSG still wasn't safe.

Just... everyone remember that the military - even if you think it is accurately and exhaustively described as a monstrous engine of death - is made of people. People be different. Terrible things happens in it, as do miracles, and even terrible miracles.
posted by kavasa at 9:42 PM on April 6, 2011 [6 favorites]


I worked in a Psychiatry emergency clinic in a VA hospital and was surprised at the proportion of male patients who had experienced rape by other men while in the US military (I had expected some, but not that many). Some of them were young and this had happened during OIF/OEF deployments. Some were old, Vietnam or even Korean eras.

In my experience, the proportion of females reporting rape (mostly - though not exclusively - by males) was definitely higher.
posted by meehawl at 9:44 PM on April 6, 2011 [2 favorites]


Applying common morality to people who kill for a living is anthropologically naive. The military attracts the desperate, the stupid, and the sociopathic, and always will, in our all-volunteer force. We must do better prosecuting rapists and their enablers -- but as words of wisdom for anyone considering entering, if you give the impression of physical or mental weakness, for god's sake, do not by any circumstances enter the military. You are putting yourself in grave danger. You will be surrounded by professional killers -- please pause to reflect on that statement. This issue has nothing to do with gender or sexual orientation.
posted by blargerz at 9:48 PM on April 6, 2011 [12 favorites]


[Folks, let's keep the "I hope you get raped" comments down, please?]
posted by jessamyn at 9:57 PM on April 6, 2011 [8 favorites]


This quote was extra chilling to me too, gatorae. "Not strong enough to fight back" is a ghastly but somehow unsurprising way to characterize a rape victim. Yikes.
posted by Neofelis at 10:02 PM on April 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


These soldiers are in a highly-structured, supervised environment, with a high risk of discovery and no real deniability, and they're assaulting comrades whom they will encounter on a regular basis. How likely is it that they'll be doing worse things to locals in, e.g., Afghanistan or Iraq?
posted by Joe in Australia at 10:05 PM on April 6, 2011 [9 favorites]


I'm not sure if I should bother writing this comment, since the previous thread regarding military people was like 40% "all current servicemembers are monstrous and evil", and I'm unlikely to keep that from happening here. But it's worth a shot. And that last thread really did bug me.

"Applying common morality to people who kill for a living is anthropologically naive."

Ok so. I think I should get some points for resisting the urge to be more than a little snarky at your use of the word "anthropologically" here. I will say that your choice of words really makes it seem like you have thought very shallowly and briefly on a subject before condemning literally every servicemember in every volunteer force to be "desperate, stupid, or sociopathic".

Allow me to suggest an alternative: it is always, always, always easier to dismiss your fellows as wildly different from you than it is to think that maybe, if things were different, you could be standing in their shoes. Or your parents or friends or your spouse. Joining the military, even in a combat arms MOS, simply does not require desperation, stupidity, or mental illness. It may require that someone be different from you, blargerz, but no more than that.

I'm sympathetic to the argument that the world would be better off if no one ever killed anyone else on the orders of a third party, and on that basis, no one should serve in any military. I think that's a persuasive argument. But I also think that the pragmatist's response to it can not be dismissed out of hand. Until the species as a whole ascends to a higher plane of consciousness, I think that even the most gloriously pacifistic culture is going to need someone to stand on the walls and take shifts on guard.

It is possible (although not quite as easy) to discuss problems in the military without resorting to calling everyone who has served or is serving a monster or a degenerate.
posted by kavasa at 10:06 PM on April 6, 2011 [66 favorites]


The military attracts the desperate, the stupid, and the sociopathic, and always will, in our all-volunteer force.

This stuff is a picnic compared to what happens in Russia's conscript army.
posted by atrazine at 10:14 PM on April 6, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ok so. I think I should get some points for resisting the urge to be more than a little snarky at your use of the word "anthropologically" here. I will say that your choice of words really makes it seem like you have thought very shallowly and briefly on a subject before condemning literally every servicemember in every volunteer force to be "desperate, stupid, or sociopathic".

Please note I did not say the military is all "desperate, stupid, or sociopathic". I said it attracts those people. It also attracts the noble, the selfless, the ambitious, and sometimes, the plain old mediocre. If I wanted to make a universal statement, I would have done so; I can only surmise you were reading very shallowly.
posted by blargerz at 10:23 PM on April 6, 2011 [4 favorites]


Tangentially -- and I hesitate to derail a decent thread -- I've always considered Sorkin's A Few Good Men to have strong implications of a bowdlerized homosexual gang rape in the crucial "code red" punishment. (I suppose the presence of the bowdlerized homosexual Tom Cruise in the film didn't help that.) I can't find any significant critique using this approach, though. Certainly, it resembles many other documented incidents where male power and male anger in a military/control context turned to male-on-male rape, from the Abner Louima incident to the alleged circumstances of T.E. Lawrence's Ottoman detention. I've always wondered about that. It seems an awfully big elephant to leave in the room.
posted by dhartung at 10:26 PM on April 6, 2011 [3 favorites]


This stuff is a picnic compared to what happens in Russia's conscript army.

I doubt anyone would dispute that.
posted by blargerz at 10:27 PM on April 6, 2011


I should learn to preview.

There are a few answers to that, Joe.

You'll notice that a lot of the stories in the article came out of basic training. There are ways in which I personally thought the attempts to make BCT stressful were laughable, but they are definitely trying to tire you out in basic. It's also an environment where you've got a ton of people, mostly kids, who you just toss into a barracks together. They're going to work out a pecking order like they did in HS - some of them are even stillin HS, doing BCT during the summer between their junior and senior years. And they're in the Army now, so they're applying a lot of pressure to each other to be hypermasculine and badass and stuff.

There was a kid in my platoon in basic that went like... one or two days and then asked for a discharge. He gave up. They discharged him, but at the end of the training cycle, and you better believe shit was miserable for him until then. But signing that enlistment paper and taking the oath is a serious thing. You can't just back out of it once you get to BCT. And they also can't let you, because then every kid in the company that's homesick is going to walk up to his or her drill and ask to go home too.

But I've wandered afield. My point is that some of the same social order bullying shit happens in BCT as happens in HS, and just like HS, it can turn into physical assault of various sorts.

A lot of that chills out a lot once you get to your actual unit, and as always: remember that it's going to be different for different people. Have you ever heard the This American Life episode done by the guy who confronted the man hat raped him as a five year old?

Ok. Another line of response is that yeah, some of these guys are just rapists, like the drill that went on to rape ROTC cadets. I'm sure they guy would be a danger to locals overseas. On the other hand, overseas is very much split up into inside the wire and outside the wire. At least for me, every second outside the wire was seriously spent trying to look for someone about to shoot you and/or places that might be roadside bombs. The infantry breaking down doors in the villages have more opportunities to abuse locals, but god... I can't even imagine ever feeling comfortable enough to shuck off the IBA to assault someone.

So then there are the guys like the shitbags that staged ambushes so they could murder unarmed civilians. Some of those guys get into the military, some get into the cops. It's gonna happen. All you can do is investigate and prosecute and, if there exists a culture of silence, you have to change it.

blargerz - you'll forgive me for carrying the universal statement made in your first sentence on to its logical connection with the second sentence. Or is it your contention that my reading of your post is in no way supported by the way you wrote it? Just wild and crazy? If so, then... whatever, I guess?
posted by kavasa at 10:29 PM on April 6, 2011 [10 favorites]


I feel like this relates closely to the primate sex concepts in Sex at Dawn. But it goes against the belief that we are most closely related to Bonobos, and shows behavior more closely related to that of Chimps.
I want to be angry...but I'm not sure at who... chimpanzees?
posted by aloiv2 at 10:35 PM on April 6, 2011


I was raped at all boys boarding school, violently, by one of the old boys. The pressure of sexualised violence in order to reinforce strict gender performance happened daily there. The trauma refuses to go away. Rape by men of men, in prisons, the military, in schools like the one I went to, is incredibly common and their is a profound code of silence and neglect about it.
posted by PinkMoose at 11:10 PM on April 6, 2011 [17 favorites]


I worked in a very small unit, and had contact with only very few Marines post-training, so I never heard of any of this type of violence.

Nobody has here, but nobody should throw around accusations of this happening because "grunts are dumz". This type of violence would decrease substantially if the college educated officers, the people who are 2-3 people away from the pentagon, actually cared enough about stopping this by punishing offenders.

I mean god damn, these are humans.
posted by hal_c_on at 2:32 AM on April 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


blagerz: Please note I did not say the military is all "desperate, stupid, or sociopathic". I said it attracts those people. It also attracts the noble, the selfless, the ambitious, and sometimes, the plain old mediocre. If I wanted to make a universal statement, I would have done so; I can only surmise you were reading very shallowly.
Wow. You haven't just moved the goalposts there. You've packed them up, put them in a shipping crate, and had them couriered to Vietnam. Well done!
posted by Sonny Jim at 3:59 AM on April 7, 2011 [6 favorites]


Hearts and minds.
posted by xqwzts at 4:35 AM on April 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Please note I did not say the military is all "desperate, stupid, or sociopathic". I said it attracts those people. It also attracts the noble, the selfless, the ambitious, and sometimes, the plain old mediocre. If I wanted to make a universal statement, I would have done so; I can only surmise you were reading very shallowly.

Come on now. If you want your statements to be implication free, write them in Lojban rather than English.

Nobody has here, but nobody should throw around accusations of this happening because "grunts are dumz". This type of violence would decrease substantially if the college educated officers, the people who are 2-3 people away from the pentagon, actually cared enough about stopping this by punishing offenders.

This. It still makes me angry that nobody with an O in front of their pay grade went to prison over Abu Ghraib, and it looks like the same is going to happen over the kill squads in Afghanistan, and about this.

If none of these officers knew what was going on then they should be charged with failing to do their duty, they're not shift managers at Pottery Barn, they're military officers who are supposed to have control over their units. The real problem is that an awful lot of officers, especially below staff grade, actually believe this shit about "asking for it" and let this attitude trickle down to their people. Then they get to act all shocked-shocked-to-find-gambling-going-on-here when it gets out.
posted by atrazine at 4:58 AM on April 7, 2011 [6 favorites]


"Until 2006, sexual assault was classified as a women’s health issue"

My brain just shut down. There are just so many things wrong with that. I can't even.


When I started college, all of the men were required to attend a "sexual assault awareness" seminar put on by One in Four. It is one of the singularly most offensive things I have ever attended in my life. The anti-male bias in it was insane. Sure, it's a sensitive issue, but the tone and content of the presentation crossed quite a few lines, and basically implied to us that deep down on the inside, all men are rapists at heart, and that we'd better be careful, because a woman can get us kicked out of school for sexual assault with little to no evidence.

Being the snarky jerk that I am, I raised my hand and asked the instructor if men could also be the victims of sexual assault. The instructor paused for a moment, and then mentioned that he had a video handy that addressed this very issue. We then got to watch a 10-minute video where a policeman (in excruciating detail) described the process by which he had been "repeatedly raped in the ass by a sex-crazed black homosexual." I'm 99% sure that quote is verbatim too. Words fail....

Afterwards, we were handed anonymous surveys (that asked us for part of our SSN and our Mother's maiden name....for tracking purposes) that essentially asked us: "How many women have you raped? How many women have you sexually harassed? How many women have you raped (phrased slightly differently)? Have you lied to us? Why are you lying to us? When did you first become a liar? Would you like to rape someone right now?" (These questions are only slightly exaggerated -- there were about 20 questions asking us how many times we'd raped a woman, each phrased slightly differently, and several more asking us why we weren't being honest in the survey).

I pulled out a black magic marker, and wrote "ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?" on the scantron card, and left the room.

Way to undermine a perfectly good cause, One In Four. Way to go.
posted by schmod at 5:21 AM on April 7, 2011 [5 favorites]


[A few comments removed, please skip the "oh but this one other time you said this other thing" stuff.]
posted by cortex at 6:58 AM on April 7, 2011


rape is not good for unit cohesion, people.
posted by rmd1023 at 7:19 AM on April 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Jesus, I'm sorry, PinkMoose.
posted by cereselle at 7:40 AM on April 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


For immediate help, contact the Safe Helpline, the Department of Defense’s new crisis support service, via phone call, text, or instant message. Operated by RAINN, the nation’s largest anti-sexual-violence organization, your information will be kept confidential and will not be shared with anyone on your chain of command.
I'm one of the volunteers who takes calls from the Safe Helpline. (Everything I say here represents my views, not those of anyone at RAINN or the Helpline.) Much of what I hear on the "normal" hotline is heart-breaking. The training for the Safe Helpline was so infuriating - not because of the training, but the content. If you're raped in the military, you don't have a lot of rights that civilians have, and the system is archaically complex. There are no confidentiality rights in the military regarding medical treatment; if your CO wants your medical records from a civilian rape crisis center, they can have them. Even if they're the perpetrator.

The institutional barriers to getting men and women serving in our military help make me want to beat my head against the wall and howl. How can they do this? How can they make a system like this? There are no answers; we work in the system we have and work to make the system we want.

It sounds hopeless; it's not hopeless. Nothing is hopeless. I get off my hotline shifts exhausted, but it is worth it, to keep working with people when they need help. People come on the hotline in crisis; we hope they leave and can get through the crisis. We work with people, military and civilian alike, to brainstorm and find solutions to help get or keep them safe.

If you need help, the online hotline is free, confidential, and 24/7. If you'd like to volunteer, here's how.
posted by quadrilaterals at 8:24 AM on April 7, 2011 [12 favorites]


atrazine is like a billion percent right. If the military wants to give all the credit for its success to the commissioned ranks, it needs to ultimately lay the blame for the failures there as well.

quadrilaterals, you're a hero.
posted by kavasa at 9:33 AM on April 7, 2011


Doesn't traumatizing your fellow soldiers compromise combat readiness? Shouldn't there be very severe penalties for that alone, regardless of any other cultural bias?
posted by amtho at 10:10 AM on April 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


" Among many other types, the military attracts the desperate, the stupid, and the sociopathic..."

FTFY. It's lazy writing to set your readers up. Don't get defensive when people react to what they read - you have to anticipate how people are going to read it.

As my mother used to say, "It's not enough that you are understood. You must not be misunderstood."
posted by Xoebe at 11:09 AM on April 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


Kavasa:

"My point is that some of the same social order bullying shit happens in BCT as happens in HS, and just like HS, it can turn into physical assault of various sorts."

I completely get your point and I agree with you. This sort of social order bullying also happens on job sites, at the office, and many other adult venues. However, rarely does it involve rape, relative to the army.. given that, I'm not sure what that entire post of yours was meant to really convey in the context of this thread.

note: I am not arguing or debating with you - I am generally confused.
posted by mbatch at 11:46 AM on April 7, 2011


FTFY. It's lazy writing to set your readers up. Don't get defensive when people react to what they read - you have to anticipate how people are going to read it.

Ah, here is where I disagree. A responsible reader, faced with an unfamiliar writer or point of view, should not presume there exists a justifiable occasion for offense just because they feel uneasy. When faced with uncertainty concerning a writer's intent, the reasonable course of action is to make an inquiry, especially when the opportunity is clearly available.
posted by blargerz at 11:57 AM on April 7, 2011 [4 favorites]


It still makes me angry that nobody with an O in front of their pay grade went to prison over Abu Ghraib, and it looks like the same is going to happen over the kill squads in Afghanistan, and about this.
atrazine: I saw Gen. Karpinski speak on a panel. For those who don't know, she was the brigadier general responsible for several prisons in Iraq, among them, Abu Ghraib. During her talk, she said that the (if memory serves) the senior non-commissioned officer at the prison, and the battalion commander both slept around 100 meters from where all the torture took place. During the Q&A I asked her how it was that she didn't know what happened-- didn't she talk to the senior NCO and BC during meetings every week? Surely they had to know?

She had no answer.
posted by wuwei at 12:31 PM on April 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


mbatch - I'm specifically trying to get at the difference between BCT and other bullying contexts. I would contend that BCT is fundamentally different from HS, the workplace, and so on, due to the combination of the age of most of the people there and an environment that prizes aggression and standard masculinity above all else.

To cry in BCT is to be instantly made an outcast from your platoon, whereas overseas tears were freely shed at fallen comrade ceremonies. I've seen a CSM crying with his Soldiers after they lost 3 KIA from one platoon in a single firefight.

blargerz, seriously? Please. You done wrote badly. There wasn't any "uncertainty," and it was absolutely fair of me to interpret what you wrote the way I did. The snark about "anthropologically naive" maybe wasn't, and maybe that's why your response was defensive instead of just going "oh that's not what I meant to say," but really.

Just so we're clear, I am glad that that's not what you meant! Because to be sure, many persons in the last thread were exactly and explicitly of the opinion that pretty much everyone that's served recently was morally bankrupt.
posted by kavasa at 12:58 PM on April 7, 2011 [1 favorite]


I would contend that BCT is fundamentally different from HS, the workplace, and so on, due to the combination of the age of most of the people there and an environment that prizes aggression and standard masculinity above all else.

Well, that and the whole "we all live together" bit. That's pretty different from most high schools or workplaces.

It's a lot easier to do horrible things to people when you're with them 24/7.

(Not that horrible things don't happen outside that context. I quit my job because of workplace bullying, so I'm fully familiar with how THAT particular bullshit scenario can play out.)
posted by hippybear at 1:07 PM on April 7, 2011


Just so we're clear, I am glad that that's not what you meant!

Now that you've established that NOT EVERYONE is conspiring to offend you, please feel at liberty to venture forth in to the latter portion of the statement, where the point has been waiting, undisturbed.
posted by blargerz at 1:39 PM on April 7, 2011 [2 favorites]


blargerz, your point, for all your painfully stilted language, was essentially an ASCII rendition of this with A Scary Guy In ACUs instead of A Scary Black Guy. I, uh, "ventured" to it before and didn't find anything worth remarking on.

I do believe we're done here. :/

hippybear - yeah, the living together thing is probably true. I'm sorry that happened in a job for you. I dunno.

I'm also shaken by Pinkmoose's post, but don't feel like I have a meaningful response to it. It's crazy for me to read all this stuff because, socially, my life has always been such smooth sailing. I'm a pretty introverted, nerdy, pedantic dude, but I somehow always end up slotting pretty well into whatever social structure I'm near. I wish that's how it went for everyone.
posted by kavasa at 3:50 PM on April 7, 2011


Kavasa, I don't appreciate that picture, which not only reinforces and perpetuates negative stereotypes about black people and (arguably) the mentally ill, but makes light of them. Even when only used as an example not expressly endorsed by its poster.
posted by blargerz at 4:10 PM on April 7, 2011 [3 favorites]


The thing that struck me right away by the article is the assertion that the men who are perpetrating these assaults are predominately "heterosexual men." I understand that sexual assault is generally regarded to be a crime motivated by a desire for power over a desire for sex, however I can't help but feel that sexual repression and closeting is a major factor in these same-sex assaults. Power-be-damned, I can't imagine a truly straight guy thinking it's a good time to shove foreign objects/erections into another man's rectum.
posted by ryaninoakland at 3:20 AM on April 8, 2011


Men have been sodomizing other men with their penises and foreign objects as a power demonstration since time immemorial. It's really not about homosexuality after a certain point. Take all the incidents over the years involving police using broom handles on arrestees.

It's not like there are entire police squads or army squads made up of gay men who are raping the heterosexual weaklings they encounter out of sexual frustration. I don't have any hard evidence, obviously, but I seriously doubt it's repressed faggots doing the raping here.
posted by hippybear at 7:01 AM on April 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


The thing that struck me right away by the article is the assertion that the men who are perpetrating these assaults are predominately "heterosexual men." I understand that sexual assault is generally regarded to be a crime motivated by a desire for power over a desire for sex, however I can't help but feel that sexual repression and closeting is a major factor in these same-sex assaults. Power-be-damned, I can't imagine a truly straight guy thinking it's a good time to shove foreign objects/erections into another man's rectum.

I am so late to the thread on this, but look, um, no.

Straight men rape sexually vulnerable and socially marginalized people with whom they would not seek consensual sex. Trans men and trans women, for example, face sexual assault for being visibly trans, as do queer people generally. This isn't because of queer folks' and trans folks' irresistible allure to the closeted; it's the desire to threaten, punish, bully, establish social hierarchy. There are lots of really horrible stories from butch queer women who have been sexually assaulted to "show them" that they're really just regular women and need to get their gender performance lined up. I think about this a lot when I'm walking around alone late and there are groups of guys.

And this is social behavior - it's about a group creating an outsider/victim/scapegoat as a means of homosocial bonding. That's also why it's not about being closeted; it's about straight-identifying men affirming straightness to each other.
posted by Frowner at 9:22 AM on April 8, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Until 2006, sexual assault was classified as a women’s health issue"
A health issue? You mean, like low bone density? Well, great! Now I can just take a supplement and not have to worry about those pesky rapists. Wish I had know this sooner!
Seriously though,this is infuriating, and just perpetuates the format of thinking that the issue is women (or men) are getting raped, when the real problem is that people are raping people.
posted by shesaysgo at 8:39 PM on April 9, 2011 [1 favorite]


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