Rape within the US military.
March 8, 2007 4:31 AM   Subscribe

The private war of women soldiers. "Last year, Col. Janis Karpinski caused a stir by publicly reporting that in 2003, three female soldiers had died of dehydration in Iraq, which can get up to 126 degrees in the summer, because they refused to drink liquids late in the day. They were afraid of being raped by male soldiers if they walked to the latrines after dark."
posted by Sticherbeast (187 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
"In Camp Arifjan, no one can hear you scream."

Terrible story. Great post.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 5:20 AM on March 8, 2007


Why does Helen Benedict hate the troops? Oh, it's because of the rape, sexual harassment and general lack of controls to prevent same.

This story is shocking, outrageous and sadly, not at all surprising.

Great article. She provides some pretty concrete examples of where the system is failing and what needs to be done to fix it. Only hope the military can pull out denial long enough to do something to improve this horrible situation.
posted by psmealey at 5:26 AM on March 8, 2007


Heard a story from a female A1C about how two guys "partied" with her and told her they'd back each other up that it was consensual if she said anything.

Stories like this make me want to break stuff.
posted by pax digita at 5:27 AM on March 8, 2007


I'm emailing this story to my friends, both those who are against this war and those that still - somehow - support it.

However, the real issue isn't the combat situation these soldiers face. It is the damnable reality that women are seen as 'less than' men, subject to any sort of domination and subjectification by men.

I am outraged that women are still struggling with this. I have no words for the disgust I feel for the predators who walk among us.

Not all men are like this, I assure you. I know many men who would never treat any woman like sex toys to satisfy their urges. It does seem that the military either draws men to it that have low regard for women, or draws out of men their worst instincts and institutionalizes this attitude.
posted by Corky at 5:28 AM on March 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


Women should frag any rapists and the CO should back them on this. The training manual should instruct as much.
posted by nofundy at 5:31 AM on March 8, 2007 [9 favorites]


Seconding nofundy.
posted by notsnot at 5:38 AM on March 8, 2007


Women should frag any rapists and the CO should back them on this. The training manual should instruct as much.

There would be a lot of things wrong with doing this. I'm still for it, though.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:40 AM on March 8, 2007


Typically, I associate rape in war as an act of an invading army against civilians. Eye-opening and disturbing article that demonstrates the results are the same: obediance, shame from a female population, whether they be soldiers or villagers.
posted by typewriter at 5:44 AM on March 8, 2007


What everyone else said, but also a practical note: If you are so thirsty you are literally about to die, drinking a little before bed will not be enough to make you need to pee so bad you can't wait until morning. Also, a bucket (or bush outside your bunker) is handy in case you really can't wait.
posted by DU at 5:46 AM on March 8, 2007


I have to say, as much as I am personally concerned about the treatment of women in the military, this article sent up a ton of red flags for me regarding its conclusions and its veracity.

I always get concerned when someone says “I’m writing a book” and this is a prelude article as it smacks of publicity, but beyond that there are troubling problems with the article.

She says she interviewed 20ish people – that’s honestly a low number if you are going to make broad accusations instead of reporting singular events – and few of the interviewees are actually named.

One of the interviewees is Karpinski – of Abu Abu Ghraib fame, which makes her less than credible.

After that we get statements about rape studies without citations to the studies.

Next is an insinuation of incredible rape prevalence without any statistics of any type from any source.

Finally, we have the incredible stories of masses of rapes in showers and so on. The article makes it sound like nearly every woman in the military is being raped (upwards of 70% right?). I do find that incredibly hard to believe. Not even the battlefront could hide those kinds of numbers.

Now, I’m absolutely certain rape happens in the military. I’m also certain that there is a high level of harassment. All of this is entirely unacceptable – but this article is very poor journalism and frankly I can’t take much away from it except a deep desire for a good investigation with some real facts.
posted by Muddler at 6:03 AM on March 8, 2007 [7 favorites]


People that go to war might say "My people aren't playing fair. We're on the same side. They should treat us with respect, just like we're in civil society". Not going to happen. I just watched a TV interview [not online at the time of posting, but it shouldn't be long] from a deserter in Canada describing how they played soccer with an Iraqi persons head.

Also, this has been documented (from the Salon article), since 1992, I don't see this ever changing just because, Wow! They're all over the calendar on this.

Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld ordered a task force in 2004 to investigate. As a result, the Defense Department put up a Web site in 2005.

Last year, Col. Janis Karpinski caused a stir by publicly reporting that in 2003, three female soldiers had died of dehydration in Iraq.

The rapes and sexual hounding of Navy women at Tailhook in 1991 and of Army women at Aberdeen in 1996 became national news.

And in a third study, conducted in 1992-93 with female veterans of the Gulf War and earlier wars, 90 percent said they had been sexually harassed in the military.1992-93 with female veterans of the Gulf War and earlier wars, 90 percent said they had been sexually harassed in the military.1992-93 with female veterans of the Gulf War and earlier wars, 90 percent said they had been sexually harassed in the military.

posted by tellurian at 6:06 AM on March 8, 2007


More sickening than the stories related in the articles are the letters/comments following it. Jesus Christ, I can't believe people still have to spit their bile like this. So much hatred.
posted by Sijeka at 6:07 AM on March 8, 2007


The DoD need to stop looking at rape and assault just as a problem for the women, and see it as what it also is: a problem with the men, and with the organisation as a whole. The article mentioned that their new website is all about how to protect yourself, but what are they doing about educating men and changing their attitudes, about changing the culture such that even sexism is unacceptable, let alone harassment?

I have worked in very close quarters with men; I have shared change rooms, stayed up all night and slept in tents with them, including men whom I had known for only a month or two. But I never encountered any harassment, let alone danger; the culture of the organisation I was working with (a theatre company) just didn't allow for any of that sort of attitude, let alone people acting on it. I think men were in a slightly minority, but more than that, they all treated us as respected comrades-in-makeup. That was the norm, and if any one person had tried to buck that norm, they would have been the one who was austracised.

The culture of a given organisationation is much more important than most people seem to realise - and it can be changed, if there is the will to do so.
posted by jb at 6:09 AM on March 8, 2007


From Salon.com, the people who brought you "terror sex".
posted by Optamystic at 6:13 AM on March 8, 2007


I have talked to more than 20 female veterans of the Iraq war in the past few months, interviewing them for up to 10 hours each for a book I am writing on the topic, and every one of them said the danger of rape by other soldiers is so widely recognized in Iraq that their officers routinely told them not to go to the latrines or showers without another woman for protection.

W.T.F.

If you are so thirsty you are literally about to die, drinking a little before bed will not be enough to make you need to pee so bad you can't wait until morning.

Again W.T.F.

Women should frag any rapists and the CO should back them on this.

I'd like to think that the other men in the unit would beat him to a bloody pulp, but I guess that's asking too much.
posted by three blind mice at 6:13 AM on March 8, 2007


Well said, Muddler, and I agree.
posted by thirteenkiller at 6:15 AM on March 8, 2007


Again W.T.F.

Just in case you think I'm blaming the victim: I'm not. I'm just saying that advice to "bring another woman along" could be appended with advice to "pee in the bushes outside". The situation is awful, but the solution isn't to die of thirst.
posted by DU at 6:21 AM on March 8, 2007


One of the interviewees is Karpinski – of Abu Abu Ghraib fame, which makes her less than credible.

Care to elaborate? I'm not seeing it. Is it because Rumsfeld traduced her?

I'd like to think that the other men in the unit would beat him to a bloody pulp, but I guess that's asking too much.

That is the most obvious conclusion one could have.
posted by nofundy at 6:22 AM on March 8, 2007


My mother was the first female navigator in her ANG unit and was in the first graduating AFROTC class that accepted women navigators. She's told me about the "bitch/whore/dyke" thing before (she was a bitch, apparently). She also got lots of shit from the other officers when she requested that people giving briefs stop inserting pornographic pictures into their slideshows.

Also, an interesting story from her -- she served in the first Gulf war. She flew tankers. Her unit went in to drag out a fighter that was in trouble over combat airspace, got him out okay, all was well, the unit was set to get medals. Then they found out she was on the plane. The medal awards were revoked, since women weren't allowed to be in combat, and the commanders didn't want to be seen condoning it. I wonder if the women actively in combat right now are being recognized for what they're doing? Bad enough they're treated poorly; even worse if they aren't even accepted as doing the job all the men are doing, too.

It's sad that things don't seem to have changed much. Mom always said the crappy atmosphere was worth it because she was making things better for the next generation. This article is going to make her very sad.
posted by olinerd at 6:22 AM on March 8, 2007 [7 favorites]


This is a war which has been fought from day 1 with a complete disregard for "rules", "civility", or any sence of "human compassion".

I don't see how this would surprize anyone.

Also, I don't want to blame the victim, but I can't believe that the females could have had no idea that they were putting themselves into a high risk group by joining.

The army IS full of people who solve most of their problems with violence.
posted by Balisong at 6:27 AM on March 8, 2007


jb - I don't think it makes sense to contrast the situation for soldiers in Iraq with that of women in a theater company. Rape is obviously equally unacceptable in either situation, but the situations are so radically different in virtually every way that I don't think any meaningful comparison can be made.

To point out one obvious example of a huge difference, how many of the men in a theater company figure they may well die a random, violent, and painful death at any given time? How many know they have almost certainly (accidently or otherwise) killed innocent men, women, and children in an attempt to preserve their own lives? The mental state of soldiers in an active war zone during a bloody insurgency is unique. These kinds of stresses do not in any way, shape, or form excuse rape, but they are things that are not present in any other situation and do change matters greatly.

Take the exact same men in your theater group and thrust them into the situation in Iraq and some of them will snap.
posted by Justinian at 6:30 AM on March 8, 2007


the military is waiving criminal and violent records for more than one in 10 new Army recruits

Here's a crazy idea: stop doing that.

Stop allowing violent criminal offenders-- Rapists, White Supremacists, Gang Members, etc.-- to join the military. Keep allowing psychos like Stephen Green to join the military and guess what? Women-- civilian women, military women-- will keep getting raped.
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 6:31 AM on March 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


All of this is entirely unacceptable – but this article is very poor journalism and frankly I can’t take much away from it except a deep desire for a good investigation with some real facts

Certainly the topic itself is highly charged, but wtf would satisfy your desire for good investigation and real facts? When the DOD itself reports that sexual harassment is rampant (90%) and rape is a persistent problem, interviewing some 20-odd people seems more than sufficient to put together some anecdotals for context. The piece seems well-researched and cited. It should make you uncomfortable, but not because it is "poor journalism".

It's always been nigh impossible to get accurate rape statistics due to lack of reportage, but given the lack of meachanisms for reporting and counseling, and knowing something of military culture, what she describes does not seem far-fetched
posted by psmealey at 6:33 AM on March 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


Oh, and for what its worth, I think the solution is obvious; don't unnecessarily thrust young men and women into a mentally and phyically untenable situation in which any of them may find themselves staring at their own guts at any given moment.
posted by Justinian at 6:33 AM on March 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


These kinds of stresses do not in any way, shape, or form excuse rape, but they are things that are not present in any other situation and do change matters greatly.

Maybe that's the point. I'm somehow offended by a statement that says "I'm not looking to explain/excuse rape" but achieve just that.
posted by Sijeka at 6:34 AM on March 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


Justinian, true, but things like this aren't just confined to war zones (see: Tailhook convention). The problem still lies in the ways women are viewed in the military and the lack of an infrastructure that allows rape and harassment victims (male or female) to feel comfortable reporting and dealing with these cases. I think in theatre, women aren't seen as less-than-men; just different. In the military, they often are. So that comparison can be made, with the military clearly needing some change.
posted by olinerd at 6:35 AM on March 8, 2007


Stop allowing violent criminal offenders-- Rapists, White Supremacists, Gang Members, etc.-- to join the military.

IIRC, they had stopped, but they relaxed their standards because recruitment was so low.
posted by thirteenkiller at 6:35 AM on March 8, 2007


Next is an insinuation of incredible rape prevalence without any statistics of any type from any source... The article makes it sound like nearly every woman in the military is being raped (upwards of 70% right?).

I'm not sure where it says that. Presumably the "upwards of 70%" figures comes from this set of sourced statistics:
A 2003 survey of female veterans from Vietnam through the first Gulf War found that 30 percent said they were raped in the military. A 2004 study of veterans from Vietnam and all the wars since, who were seeking help for post-traumatic stress disorder, found that 71 percent of the women said they were sexually assaulted or raped while in the military. And in a third study, conducted in 1992-93 with female veterans of the Gulf War and earlier wars, 90 percent said they had been sexually harassed in the military, which means anything from being pressured for sex to being relentlessly teased and stared at.
This is different to what you suggest in terms of content and it is also not the author making the claim but rather reporting previous surveys. How then is it an insinuation rather than the reporting of facts?
posted by ninebelow at 6:36 AM on March 8, 2007


What is most surprising to me is that our military seems to reflect our national character.

Are there any women here who have served in the Israeli army? How frequently does this kind of thing go on there?
posted by Mister_A at 6:38 AM on March 8, 2007


Just in case you think I'm blaming the victim: I'm not. I'm just saying that advice to "bring another woman along" could be appended with advice to "pee in the bushes outside". The situation is awful, but the solution isn't to die of thirst.

I don't think you are blaming the victim, DU, but suggesting that female soldiers should follow your "practical note" to avoid being raped BY THEIR FELLOW SOLDIERS is too much for me to swallow.

Some serious headbanging is in order.
posted by three blind mice at 6:44 AM on March 8, 2007


Some chicks just look (too) good in camo and firepower.
posted by Balisong at 6:44 AM on March 8, 2007


Not funny. This is a fucking disgrace anyway you slice it.

This is a war which has been fought from day 1 with a complete disregard for "rules", "civility", or any sence of "human compassion".

Yes, chief. By definition. Y'know, "war"?
posted by adamgreenfield at 6:49 AM on March 8, 2007


To point out one obvious example of a huge difference, how many of the men in a theater company figure they may well die a random, violent, and painful death at any given time? How many know they have almost certainly (accidently or otherwise) killed innocent men, women, and children in an attempt to preserve their own lives? The mental state of soldiers in an active war zone during a bloody insurgency is unique. These kinds of stresses do not in any way, shape, or form excuse rape, but they are things that are not present in any other situation and do change matters greatly.

Take the exact same men in your theater group and thrust them into the situation in Iraq and some of them will snap.
posted by Justinian at 2:30 PM GMT on March 8 [+] [!]


If it were only the stress, why don't the men rape or attack each other? Are the men beating each other up?

No, they are focusing their agression on the women because of the rampant sexism in their institutional culture, as shown by olinerd's examples. A briefing is not a high stress moment - those men chose to include pornography. No one who mattered would be offended, right?

They don't beat on each other because the other men are, as the article points out, their "buddies", the people they rely on for life and death. The women should be their "buddies" too - but the men who attack women in the military clearly do not see the female soldiers as fellow soldiers, or they would see those women as their buddies to whom they had loyalty. Instead the women are objects, things, others, just like the enemy. (I'd like to point out that the behaviour of soldiers towards both the enemy and civilians is

My comparison was to show that men and women could work at close quarters and very intimate situations and not tear each others clothes off, consentingly or not. We had a culture of respect, which was supported by the leaders and reinforced by all participants.

I would be interested to know if there are other militaries where women are equal (unlike the US military), and what their cultures are like.
posted by jb at 6:50 AM on March 8, 2007 [3 favorites]


Served in the 2/11th Armored Cavalry Regiment, (Death Rides a Blackhorse, hoo-ah!) 87-90 and we had no women in our unit. We had what was known as a peace-time mission, defending 152 KM of East/West Demarkation before the fall off the "wall". No Girls allowed.

Came stateside to a Support battalion and went to the field with women soldiers. I never knew of any rapes. I would gladly plunge my knife into the throat of any prick who feels that he has to RAPE a person for any reason, anytime, anyday. then I would brag about doing it. Don't get me wrong, there were soldiers who you knew were capable but, even they knew what to expect from their peers.

Must have something to do with combat?
posted by winks007 at 6:50 AM on March 8, 2007


...but suggesting that female soldiers should follow your "practical note" to avoid being raped BY THEIR FELLOW SOLDIERS is too much for me to swallow.

I knew I shouldn't have entered this thread. I get this rebuttal all the time and I just don't get it. OBVIOUSLY it is very, very bad thing that these women are in danger. GRANTED that is the core of the problem and needs to be addressed urgently. However, GIVEN that they are in danger at least for now, what is better: Dying of thirst or peeing in the bushes?
posted by DU at 6:52 AM on March 8, 2007


(sorry - didn't complete my comment correctly)

I was also going to say that the attitude of soldiers towards both the enemy and civilians (especially those in a country they are occupying) is also very dependent on the culture of the institution. Soldiers who see either the enemy or civilians or both as inferior or other are much more brutal. It happens among police as well.
posted by jb at 6:53 AM on March 8, 2007


The article makes it sound like nearly every woman in the military is being raped (upwards of 70% right?). I do find that incredibly hard to believe. Not even the battlefront could hide those kinds of numbers.

well, please Read the numbers first.

30% raped. female war vets from Vietnam - Iraq I
71% assaulted (military definition?)or raped. PTSD female war vets Vietnam -2k4
90% harassment female vets of Iraq I and other wars

war vets are subset of "the military." so based on this article, <3 0% rape of women in the entire military. these are also probably women vets entering the va for medical care, which may also decrease the overall total. would you believe a 25% rate? if 8% is a conservative justice department rate of female rape for the usa as a whole, 25% doesn't sound unrealistic for the military. a href="http://www.democracynow.org/">DemocracyNow
will have a transcript presently, in which this question is asked. but i don't think any new light is shed.

Here is an article, which i don't entirely agree with, discussing the politics of statistics of female rape in the United States.

P.S. i could buy a 90% harassment rate.
posted by eustatic at 7:01 AM on March 8, 2007


If these military bases so far from civilian communities that soldiers have to rape other soldiers then maybe the U.S. armed forces should emulate rich Arabs by importing Indonesian "comfort women."
posted by davy at 7:04 AM on March 8, 2007


"Also, I don't want to blame the victim, but I can't believe that the females could have had no idea that they were putting themselves into a high risk group by joining."

It's funny how often "I don't want to blame the victim, but ..." is usually followed by some sort of, oh, what do you call it ... blaming the victim.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 7:09 AM on March 8, 2007 [8 favorites]


The mentality of the US military pays lip service to the rape of women, when it should be actively pursuing crimes against its soldiers. That is to say, women are still seen as a category separate from soldiers.

You can bet your ass that if some man was raping men in the barracks, he'd be in a court martial lickety-split, and whoever reported Joe The Soldier Rapist would be seen as less of a snitch than as the helpful sort of person who prevents soldiers from getting raped.

After all, violence against soldiers is violence against soldiers. The mentality that women are anything except full-fledged fellow soldiers needs to change before this issue can be tackled.
posted by Sticherbeast at 7:15 AM on March 8, 2007 [2 favorites]


However, GIVEN that they are in danger at least for now, what is better: Dying of thirst or peeing in the bushes?

I'm not sure how being in a public place near where all the men you're afraid of are housed with your underwear off is an improvement over walking to the unlit, far away latrines, frankly.
posted by jacquilynne at 7:17 AM on March 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


Oh, sorry, I should clarify: I meant "disgrace" in the strictest and most literal military sense. An endemic atmosphere of rape has to be aggressively pursued and dealt with at the unit level, and units which fail to do so should be stripped of their honors, their campaigns, suffer a black bar across the guidon and the unit insignia.

I know this sounds trivializing, but my experience of service sadly enough suggests to me that these potent markers of disgrace actually mean more to a lot of folks than, you know, the fact that a human being has been violated.
posted by adamgreenfield at 7:18 AM on March 8, 2007


The mentality that women are anything except full-fledged fellow soldiers needs to change before this issue can be tackled.

I agree. If the "you do it for the guy next to you" ethos were extended to "guy or girl", this sort of thing could potentially be dramatically reduced.
posted by psmealey at 7:19 AM on March 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


However, the real issue isn't the combat situation these soldiers face. It is the damnable reality that women are seen as 'less than' men, subject to any sort of domination and subjectification by men.

Oh please. The issue isn't one of social dominance, its an issue of simple hornyness in a situation where social norms have gone on tilt (for lack of a better term). These guys would be just as likely to rape their "betters" if they thought they could get away with it.
posted by delmoi at 7:22 AM on March 8, 2007


its an issue of simple hornyness in a situation where social norms have gone on tilt

I think it's more complicated than that. If these assholes knew that their fellow comrades would beat the shit out of them for catcalling and verbal abuse, or frag them for raping women soldiers, I'll wager any amount of money that they'd be more inclined to restrain themselves from doing it.
posted by psmealey at 7:26 AM on March 8, 2007


Since you asked, nofundy:
Whereas detainees used to cry at the very thought of Abu Ghraib, for many the "living conditions now are better in prison than at home," Karpinski says. "At one point we were concerned they wouldn't want to leave."

and I got the same feeling that Muddler had about the red flags. Not saying that there isn't a problem with rape in the army, but this article is short on facts and long on innuendo.
posted by Challahtronix at 7:30 AM on March 8, 2007


Oh please. The issue isn't one of social dominance, its an issue of simple hornyness in a situation where social norms have gone on tilt (for lack of a better term). These guys would be just as likely to rape their "betters" if they thought they could get away with it.

You do realise you just supported the "women are raped because they're seen as inferior" with your "if they thought they could get away with it", right?

The real question is, why can they get away with it?
posted by Deoridhe at 7:31 AM on March 8, 2007


For those of you questioning my dislike of the quality of the journalism -

There were general statements about some statistics from some reports that, as far as I could tell, were supposed to clue us in on the rate of rape/assault/etc. that has happened in the military over the last 30-40 years. That's basically all as far as any generalized statistics.

I can only assume that little bit was to tell us about today's situation...but it doesn't for two reasons. The first is that the journalist gave no citation to these studies so that we could inform ourselves as to their methods and their conclusions. Reporters are terrible at analysis of such studies, so I always try to read the underlying material. Note that even here people are confused and guessing as to the meaning of the numbers, and at least one person tried to dig up a citation or other similar information - you shouldn't have to do that. A journalist needs to provide sources, especially as to studies. The second is that these studies are not about today's situation - they're all from the past.

It's just a poorly written article, and it should have made a better argument on such an important issue. The topic is interesting and very much in need of debate, but before I can believe the underlying premise, I need more information.

Can anyone tell from this article the levels of rape, the veracity of the charges, the occurance rate of assualt? No. That means that really this article should be about two things:

1) The incidents that can be in some form verified through the victim's statement or otherwise; and

2) A call for a formal investigation to see what the overall situation really is

That kind of writing isn't as splashy and won't sell as many books, but it is responsible journalism. If you're going to write an article that insinuates what this article insinuates, you have a duty to write a better one than this.
posted by Muddler at 7:33 AM on March 8, 2007 [3 favorites]


The women should be their "buddies" too - but the men who attack women in the military clearly do not see the female soldiers as fellow soldiers, or they would see those women as their buddies to whom they had loyalty. Instead the women are objects, things, others, just like the enemy.

Well said jb. Very well said indeed.
posted by three blind mice at 7:34 AM on March 8, 2007


"Hornyness" does not lead to rape.

Rape is about dominance, not "hornyness."
posted by nofundy at 7:36 AM on March 8, 2007


Came stateside to a Support battalion and went to the field with women soldiers. I never knew of any rapes. I would gladly plunge my knife into the throat of any prick who feels that he has to RAPE a person for any reason, anytime, anyday. then I would brag about doing it. Don't get me wrong, there were soldiers who you knew were capable but, even they knew what to expect from their peers. Must have something to do with combat?

Well, winks007, if all male soldiers saw their female colleagues as equals (or "buddies" as jb put it) wouldn't you think the urge to "plunge the knife" would be even stronger in combat?
posted by three blind mice at 7:40 AM on March 8, 2007


Mister_A: Are there any women here who have served in the Israeli army? How frequently does this kind of thing go on there?

Some info here.

"According to the recently published (Yediot Acharonot, June 3, 2003) findings of the IDF study, then, 20% of women in the army said they experienced sexual harassment. However, when the term ‘sexual harassment’ was broken down into its various components, the incidence turned out to be up to 4 times higher. 81% reported having been exposed to humiliating innuendo, 69% had been exposed to unwanted sexual proposals, 52% had experienced embarrassing touching, 26% had been promised rewards for sexual favors, 19% had been exposed to embarrassing body exhibition by soldiers, 8% had been threatened to secure their consent to sex, 7% had been sexually assaulted.
Suspicions that the number of reports on harassment in the IDF is unrealistically low are upheld by the findings published by yet another security organization – the Israeli police force. According to a study conducted in 2000, 92.4%(!) of the women working in the police force said they had been sexually harassed on the job."
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 7:40 AM on March 8, 2007


I would gladly plunge my knife into the throat of any prick who feels that he has to RAPE a person for any reason, anytime, anyday. then I would brag about doing it.

Um, yes, I think most of us civilized-types are trying to establish that this whole Neanderthal "plunging" instinct is basically at the root of the problem. But thanks anyhow for the chills.
posted by hermitosis at 7:40 AM on March 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


But most men who join the Armed Forces are bound to think problems can be solved and one's goal met by (often deadly) force, and women thinking of joining up should realize that this kind of male will vastly outnumber them. Maybe the U.S. military ought to refuse enlistment to all women who aren't "diesel dykes", give said dykes training in kung fu, and restrict female warriors to all-female units?

And yes, this problem could be improved by reducing sexism in the military. Fat chance of THAT happening: Sensitive New-Age Guys are by the very nature of military service bound to comprise a very small percentage of voluntary recruits, and when they do to be rather ineffective at its stated mission of killing ragheads by the truckload.

Think, people: what kind of man joins the military, especially in wartime? At the very least tell female recruit-aspirants the obvious: if you rule out the kind of men sensible women won't want to marry you'll have very few men in the military.
posted by davy at 7:43 AM on March 8, 2007


I like how the "Pistol Packin' Mama" all-female units in the Soviet Army in World War II dealt with rape in a highly unofficial manner. Use your imagination. Word got around, and it didn't happen much.
posted by pax digita at 7:45 AM on March 8, 2007


Rape is about dominance, not "hornyness."

Stereotype much?
posted by delmoi at 7:48 AM on March 8, 2007


Rape is about using violence to get what you want. Kinda like, oh, war.
posted by davy at 7:51 AM on March 8, 2007


hermitosis: "Um, yes, I think most of us civilized-types are trying to establish that this whole Neanderthal "plunging" instinct is basically at the root of the problem. But thanks anyhow for the chills."

You are John Stoltenberg and I claim my five pounds!
posted by PeterMcDermott at 7:54 AM on March 8, 2007


Rape is about using violence to get what you want.

Like your rocks off.
posted by hermitosis at 7:55 AM on March 8, 2007


Maybe the U.S. military ought to refuse enlistment to all women who aren't "diesel dykes", give said dykes training in kung fu, and restrict female warriors to all-female units?

Poison Pussies!
posted by thirteenkiller at 7:57 AM on March 8, 2007


I'm not sure how being in a public place near where all the men you're afraid of are housed with your underwear off is an improvement over walking to the unlit, far away latrines, frankly.

Seconded. I'd also love to see women soldiers armed with the nastiest pepper spray imaginable, one that dyes your face hot pink or some other embarassing-to-jerkoffs color, and given not only permission but encouragement to fuck them up if they lay a single, unwelcome hand anywhere. Someone tries to rape you? Good, spray their ass and then report them. Try explaining your pink face to your commanding officer, asshat.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 7:58 AM on March 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


Interesting quote from that page, PeterMcDermott: "Pornography tells lies about women. But pornography tells the truth about men."

It is, of course, nonconsensual plunging, with any object aimed at any body part, which is to say any indiscriminate or unwelcome plunging, to which I refer. Now please get your knife out of my throat.
posted by hermitosis at 7:58 AM on March 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


If there were ever a more appropriate time for a "ZERO-TOLERANCE" policy towards sexual abuse/harassment/RAPE in the military...surely, this is the time.
Instead, they have a great zero-tolerance policy for drugs. I'd rather have a fucked-up stoned army, then a unit full of armed rapists whose life may end that very day.

BTW, rapists - remember, the women have guns too. Then all you gotta do is hope for a female judge. I'd love to be on that jury.

Then again, maybe if the punishment fit the crime, things would be waaaaay different.
posted by winks007 at 7:58 AM on March 8, 2007


[I]ts an issue of simple hornyness ...

Sure it is. You just keep telling yourself that.
posted by adamgreenfield at 8:02 AM on March 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


"If there were ever a more appropriate time for a 'ZERO-TOLERANCE' policy towards sexual abuse/harassment/RAPE in the military...surely, this is the time."

Right: U.S. soldiers should only mistreat RAGHEAD women!
posted by davy at 8:05 AM on March 8, 2007


Then again, maybe if the punishment fit the crime, things would be waaaaay different.

Considering the atrocities that take place within our criminal justice system, I guess it actually does. That must warm your little toesies.
posted by hermitosis at 8:06 AM on March 8, 2007


Why don't you people admit to yourselves the obvious purpose of any military? There's an obvious difference between the Armed (with DEADLY WEAPONS) Forces (NOT Gentle Persuaders) and the Boy/Girl Scouts.
posted by davy at 8:12 AM on March 8, 2007


Actually hermitosis, soldiers who rape other soldiers are likely to be prisoners who rape other prisoners, not victims themselves. Far better to put them in the front lines where they can harrass/abuse/rape/torture/kill "the Enemy" (and "enemy" "bitches" and "punks").
posted by davy at 8:19 AM on March 8, 2007


Think, people: what kind of man joins the military, especially in wartime? At the very least tell female recruit-aspirants the obvious: if you rule out the kind of men sensible women won't want to marry you'll have very few men in the military.

I think that's a really unfair assessment of the character of most soldiers. By and large, they really are not monsters. Seriously.
posted by thirteenkiller at 8:19 AM on March 8, 2007


Seconded.

The bushes was just an example. A honey bucket inside the bunker is just as effective and doesn't leave one's panties open for comment (by men, anyway).

Someone tries to rape you? Good, spray their ass and then report them. Try explaining your pink face to your commanding officer, asshat.

This is an awesome idea, but not every woman is Buffy the Rapist Sprayer.

I'm not saying the situation is even marginally acceptable. I'm saying that the situation exists and if I were there I'd drink something and pee elsewhere rather than die of dehydration.
posted by DU at 8:20 AM on March 8, 2007


and few of the interviewees are actually named

If you wanted an outright academic sort of study, I can assure you that no one would be named there either--federal rules for dealing with human subjects would preclude it, regardless of the topic involved (rape in the military, hip-hop cliques, political action committees, Hollywood entourages, the underground economy, etc.). You can name people only if they sign a release for most university presses and reputable publishers of academic work. All reputable media sources in the U.S., however, grant special anonymity to those making accusations of rape due to continuing social stigma, a reasonable stance. So a failure to name names doesn't hurt the author's credibility, really.
posted by raysmj at 8:23 AM on March 8, 2007


Seriously thirteenkiller, you would expect to find more (and worse) monsters in the military, especially during wartime, than say working the registers at Wal-Mart or teaching history, would you not? Again, why don't you people admit to yourselves the obvious purpose of any military?
posted by davy at 8:28 AM on March 8, 2007


Again, why don't you people admit to yourselves the obvious purpose of any military?

The purpose of the military is to kill your enemies and to protect your country, not rape your fellow soliders.
posted by Fuzzy Monster at 8:38 AM on March 8, 2007


If you've never served, you really don't know what goes on.
IANAM (I am not a monster!) Fuckyou very much. There are a ton of "good-guys" in the military.
Here's a question I'd like to see answered: What were the number of rapes reported by Female Officers?
Not exactly your buddy, not "inferior" to you. Did they mention any female officers getting raped?
posted by winks007 at 8:40 AM on March 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


In the private business sector, there has been a tremendous change in the last 45 years in the sexual harassment policy of individual companies. How was change achieved? By lawsuits and the threat of lawsuits.

I'm not sure that allowing soldiers to sue the military would be feasible, but what about changing the way rape and sexual harassment charges are handled? What if outside (nonmilitary) trials were allowed? What if real penalties were handed out-- loss of rank and privilege for "turning a blind eye" or "fostering an atmosphere of sexual inequality"?

I think it is going to take some extreme outside pressure for the military to change.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 8:41 AM on March 8, 2007


Again, why don't you people admit to yourselves the obvious purpose of any military?

Why don't you just give us the answer you're looking for and save everyone some time?
posted by Cyrano at 8:43 AM on March 8, 2007


Men rape women and each other, this is the grotesque fact, it has little to do with the fact that it is happening in the military.

The military brass, if they want to keep that bizarre double-standard "I'm just doing my job with honor" thing that seems to allow people to be party to systematic murder and still consider themselves human, needs to punish this harshly and with no equivocation.

Rape is no more about "hornyness" than war is about resolving conflicts.
posted by Divine_Wino at 8:46 AM on March 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


Think, people: what kind of man joins the military, especially in wartime? At the very least tell female recruit-aspirants the obvious: if you rule out the kind of men sensible women won't want to marry you'll have very few men in the military.

Thanks, buddy.
posted by Lord Chancellor at 8:47 AM on March 8, 2007


Think, people: what kind of man joins the military

Somehow I missed this. Hey, davy? Fuck you.
posted by adamgreenfield at 9:00 AM on March 8, 2007


"Men rape women and each other, this is the grotesque fact, it has little to do with the fact that it is happening in the military."

Really, Divine_Wino? Then why is the military equipped and trained to destroy "the enemy" and their property, instead of teaching them redecorating and dropping them in with armloads of fabric samples? What do you think war is but "systematic murder"?

Now: why do you expect people who volunteer to be trained, equipped and encouraged to maim, kill, plunder, and yes rob and rape "the enemy" to refrain from doing it to the weaker members of their own "side"? Are they the Peace Corps, fercrissake?
posted by davy at 9:04 AM on March 8, 2007


"Pornography tells lies about women. But pornography tells the truth about men."

What a bigoted statement.
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 9:09 AM on March 8, 2007


Now adamgreenfield proves my point. That is, he wants to rape me (or at least he's threatened to). What else does "Fuck you!" mean? Maybe he wants to help me coordinate my shoes and gloves with a nice Derby hat?
posted by davy at 9:09 AM on March 8, 2007


davy, they are still human beings. They are still expected to be controlled. As an engineer, I am equipped to design, build, analyze, improve. That doesn't mean that every time I see someone doing something inefficient, I go Six Sigma on their asses; or that if I see a kid playing with Legos, I MUST BUILD SOMETHING OUT OF IT. Equivalently, I expect that we teach our military to know when force is the right thing to use and when it is not. Same with the police department. If we are not doing that, then we must, but either way, military personnel are not monsters and should not be expected to be such.
posted by olinerd at 9:11 AM on March 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


The military is trained to "plunder..., rob and rape the enemy"?
posted by Challahtronix at 9:13 AM on March 8, 2007


This kind of behavior has spread to the armed forces of the Netherlands. A warship from the Dutch navy with a mixed crew had so many sexual harassment and rapes, that the Defence ministry sacked the Capt.

The main cause was found to be the UBER MACHO, mind sent of Military people.
posted by happybunny at 9:19 AM on March 8, 2007


nofundy: "Hornyness" does not lead to rape. Rape is about dominance, not "hornyness."

You get this isn't scientific fact, right? There are other theories and thoughts out there, like those offered by sociobiologists. Repeating a mantra as it were fact won't make it so.
posted by spaltavian at 9:21 AM on March 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


Davy
You are being silly. Please do not construe that statement as a threat of rape or an offer of a derby hat.
posted by Divine_Wino at 9:32 AM on March 8, 2007


I think worry about this exact sort of problem was at the backs of the minds of some of the "dinosaurs" among the US military when they looked askance at the expanded role of women starting in the 1970s. (Along with some other stuff like gender norming and double standards.) Hadn't noticed this mentioned earlier, so just sayin'.
posted by pax digita at 9:35 AM on March 8, 2007


DU, you read this article, and the most important point you garner from it is that the women should be more resourceful about where they piss? That's really not the point. Thanks for the tips, though.
posted by miss tea at 9:36 AM on March 8, 2007


Um, olinerd, "sensitive soldier" is like "vegan butcher".

And Challahtronix, you never read much history, especially military history, did you. It's only in the last century that some "civilized" societies stopped explicitly and openly encouraging their soldiers to do whatever they want with "the enemy" (as long as their officers and kings got a share of the plunder and captives). Do you really expect somebody to risk getting killed (or worse getting their faces and hands burned off and then having to be an outpatient at Walter Reed) solely for the pittance the military gives as salary? It's not that the Nazis and Khmer Rouge were so exceptional, it's that "enlightened" societies won't face the obvious.

And Divine_Wino, there is a difference between "you are being silly" and "I hereby threaten to sodomize you against your will." Surely you see what I'm getting at?

(pax_digita seems to get it.)
posted by davy at 9:37 AM on March 8, 2007


Army training is designed to systematically harden you so that you view the opposition not as humans but as obstacles and enemies. I don't think anyone can deny that.

Under these circumstances, who can be surprised that to some, a woman is just an obstacle to her vagina?
posted by hermitosis at 9:41 AM on March 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


And hermitosis gets it too.
posted by davy at 9:44 AM on March 8, 2007


davy, my mother was a sensitive soldier, so ... screw you, dude. And I mean that in the figurative sense.
posted by olinerd at 9:45 AM on March 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


its an issue of simple hornyness

Are you saying that any horny guy is a potential rapist?

That guys who get laid regularly don't rape women?

Because neither of these things are true.
posted by oneirodynia at 9:46 AM on March 8, 2007 [2 favorites]


That should really be "don't ever"
posted by oneirodynia at 9:49 AM on March 8, 2007


davy, you total pantsload, *I* am a sensitive soldier. Or was.

I wasn't the only one, not by a long shot. Some of the finest, most insightful (and yes, some of the vilest) people I've ever met served in the US Armed Forces. You're not doing yourself any favors by continuing to characterize them, us, all as barbarians.
posted by adamgreenfield at 9:49 AM on March 8, 2007


davy, my mistake, I thought we were discussing the current U.S. Army per the original article (and subsequent discussion) and not the Hessian mercenaries of the 1700s or whatever you're referring to.
posted by Challahtronix at 9:50 AM on March 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


Davy if you seriously think someone saying "fuck you" is a threat of sodomy then you are being silly. If you are making some childish jailhouse lawyer point about what the word fuck means then you are being silly.

I am relentlessly against this war and all wars really, I wouldn't ever join the military (non serviam), I loathe repression and coercion and violence in the name of greed with all my heart, I live my politics as much as possible, those are my credentials in this discussion.

I also happen to think that what you are saying is willfully simpled-minded and reductionist in the extreme.

Do you really expect somebody to risk getting killed (or worse getting their faces and hands burned off and then having to be an outpatient at Walter Reed) solely for the pittance the military gives as salary?

So people are signing up for a couple semesters at community college and all the rape they can handle?

We're all just spitting in the wind here but there seems to be no purpose to your statements other than to wind people up. The military (any military) is no more one monolithic block of personalities or intentions than any other group, society or culture and to say that it is illuminates nothing more than that you are (in this case, at this moment) operating with the same tactics and outlook as the most silly war-horny kill 'em all troll.
posted by Divine_Wino at 9:53 AM on March 8, 2007


its an issue of simple hornyness

Right. Because the only way to deal with horniness is to bodily assualt another human being against their will.

If these military bases so far from civilian communities that soldiers have to rape other soldiers then maybe the U.S. armed forces should emulate rich Arabs by importing Indonesian "comfort women."

And davy, I don't know if you are being satirical here, but this statement is reprehensible.
posted by jokeefe at 9:56 AM on March 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


Oh dear. Your attention has been rather skilfully misdirected toward the usual suspects. One of my sergeants was very proud of how she could pee further than any man -- standing up -- and could rarely be discouraged from demonstrating the skill whenever the opportunity presented itself, or encouraged to use a latrine. As an officer, I've dealt with all four combinations of men/women brutalisation, sexual and otherwise (you will recall the odious Ms. England). Humans being unpleasant to other humans is an inexcusable aspect of military life, but an attempt to analyse it by gender is contrived and your outrage is, I'm afraid, misplaced. How effortlessly we slide these days from hoax premise to misandrous conclusion.
posted by falcon at 10:03 AM on March 8, 2007


In other words, your sergeant's answer to visiting the latrines past dark involved a more, *ahem* direct approach?
posted by hermitosis at 10:09 AM on March 8, 2007


Happy International Women's Day, I guess.
posted by otherwordlyglow at 10:33 AM on March 8, 2007


delmoi: its an issue of simple hornyness

jokeefe: Right. Because the only way to deal with horniness is to bodily assualt another human being against their will.

Right. I must have missed where delmoi said this or anything remotely like it. Could you point it out for me? Can you quote the sentence where he says rape is the only way, or an acceptable way, to deal with it?
posted by spaltavian at 10:52 AM on March 8, 2007


davy, I apologize to you, and to everyone else in this thread. My feelings obviously ran away with my mouth. I'll do better next time.


Hooah.
posted by adamgreenfield at 10:52 AM on March 8, 2007


One proviso, O war correspondant in love: training in a volunteer army is made easier by the fact that (at least a large part) of its self-selected volunteers are already temperamentally suited to "view the opposition not as humans but as obstacles and enemies" and commit violence on them.

So adamgreenfield, do "sensitive soldiers" get combat assignments? "We're the U.S. Army and we're here to help you be your fabulous best!" (At gunpoint yet.)

And Divine_Wino, of course I don't mean that ALL soldiers are monsters and rapists any more than ALL frat boys are projectile- vomiting binge drinkers.

Now falcon has some reason, in two ways: it might well be harder to rape a Lynndie England than a Jessica Lynch, and more fun to rape "the enemy" with them.

A fellow Mefite just brought up with me privately the following point:

"While the military may self-select for people who are not completely averse to the use of violence to achieve a goal under some circumstances, it and ideally is also be selecting and training to develop strong self self-control and self-discipline, such that a solider under fire will do as told and trained rather than scream and run off to hide. If rape and sexual harassment are such widespread problems within the military, it is likely to be due to a failure of the selection or in the training process that leaves this area neglected."

My contention is that that kind of self-discipline -- and esprit de corps -- might be too much to expect of a volunteer military. I'd think, rather than extirpate the problem completely, they'd do well to keep it down. Of course I could be wrong, and I'm obviously going by my personal interpretations of history and "human nature" and not by any scientific study or divine revelation; indeed given my "cynicism" I'm surprised to have to argue this point with intelligent people.
posted by davy at 10:55 AM on March 8, 2007


It has only been fairly recently that women where allowed in the military under these circumstances. I would guess much of the "Suzy Rottencrotch" slang that was used back when I was looking at language and the military in the 80's is still there. Language may not be a direct cause for actions or beliefs, but it is a strong reinforcerIf things change in the American military it is going to happen over a few generations. I would be surprised if anything done in the short term would have drastic effect, because the people who grew up with and condone this type of behavior are those running the show.
echoing what someone was asking up-thread, I wonder how militaries in countries that are much more integrated handle this, and what the culture is.
posted by edgeways at 11:07 AM on March 8, 2007


support the troops!
posted by matteo at 11:09 AM on March 8, 2007


nofundy: "Hornyness" does not lead to rape. Rape is about dominance, not "hornyness."

You get this isn't scientific fact, right? There are other theories and thoughts out there, like those offered by sociobiologists.


Please do elaborate.
Here I was thinking someone believes "horniness" is the singular cause of rape.
I'm listening if you're explaining.
Let's test these other hypotheses, shall we?
IOW, bring it on.
posted by nofundy at 11:15 AM on March 8, 2007


delmoi: its an issue of simple hornyness

jokeefe: Right. Because the only way to deal with horniness is to bodily assualt another human being against their will.


spaltavian wrote: I must have missed where delmoi said this or anything remotely like it. Could you point it out for me? Can you quote the sentence where he says rape is the only way, or an acceptable way, to deal with it?

Okay, let's read delmoi's post again, in full:

The issue isn't one of social dominance, its an issue of simple hornyness in a situation where social norms have gone on tilt (for lack of a better term). These guys would be just as likely to rape their "betters" if they thought they could get away with it.

delmoi is trying here to reduce the problem to a matter of 'simple hornyness' in a context of destablized social norms, which presumably contain this behaviour outside of stressful conditions like war zones.

You can see where I get the idea that delmoi believes that these men are merely using violence as a coping mechanism for their horniness, given that that they can get away with it? Does he condemn it, or say it's acceptable? No. Was I being sarcastic, given what I inferred from his post? Yes.
posted by jokeefe at 11:25 AM on March 8, 2007


davy, I dunno if I "get it" or not -- I'm coming at it from an essentially World War Two - type mindset when the women almost exclusively in the medical and auxiliary services freed the guys up to go in harm's way. Some of the less "enlightened" military organizations around the planet still divide up the jobs that way, I'm told.

We males do not do well psychologically with the notion of females in danger -- as the Israeli Defense Forces had to learn the hard way and the movie G.I. Jane pointedly ignored -- plus there's this here rape thing, which strikes me as a far more serious potential obstacle to good order and discipline than openly gay and lesbian service members likely would. On top of that, the gals mostly lack upper-body peak strength, you wouldn't want a possibly menstruating woman along on any kind of op where an enemy sentry dog could smell her, and yeah, even without the rape there's attraction distraction, favoritism, resentment and sexual harassment aplenty.

These are really adjunct issues to flat-out rape, though, which is an assault against a fellow serviceperson that just happens to also be about sexuality and dominance. Despite some of the blanket aspersions being cast by igorant MFs (and I don't necessarily mean "MeFi'ers") in this thread, even in the worst situations an awful lot of guys can behave pretty nobly despite having to see, do and endure some horrible stuff, but not all service members are quite that heroic despite carrying a laminated card espousing a purported set of values -- there are some bullies, thugs, crooks, pervs, and moral cowards as well. (And despite a pitifully small survey sample here, I 'spect you'll find some of them are ossifers, too.)

FWIW, I'm completely sympathetic to what winks007 had to say about encountering a rape scenario, except I'd prefer to use my E tool or a machete because I can take out the rapist a lot more quickly and surely by beheading him with it. If anybody wants to be snarky about the idea of using violence in stopping a rape, I suggest you go find another thread -- this one's all about brutality to start with.
posted by pax digita at 11:30 AM on March 8, 2007


you wouldn't want a possibly menstruating woman along on any kind of op where an enemy sentry dog could smell her,

Excuse me? If a dog could smell a woman menstruating, it certainly could detect any man in the area.
posted by agregoli at 11:37 AM on March 8, 2007


I love how not raping someone is considered "sensitive" and "self-disciplined" and "heroic". Is that how we look at Abu Ghraib as well -- just the inevitable consequence of having a military at all?
posted by transona5 at 11:39 AM on March 8, 2007


pax, my snark wasn't on the idea of using violence to stop a rape, it was on what I perceived as wink's pantsbusting lust to avenge a rape with violence. In case the point hadn't been made clear, he was sure a moment later to speculate that rape-- and not murder-- would perhaps be a better punishment for rape.
posted by hermitosis at 11:59 AM on March 8, 2007



you wouldn't want a possibly menstruating woman along on any kind of op where an enemy sentry dog could smell her,

2 possibilities here:

1. It was satire. Correct response:
Ha Ha!

2. It was written in earnest Correct response:
Retard, dogs can smell just about anything from a mile away. Menstruating or not, they'll smell people long before they see 'em (and vice versa).
posted by Mister_A at 12:01 PM on March 8, 2007


I'd be interested to know if anyone here thinks that its ever acceptable to rape someone in self defense (or for "National Security")?

I'd also like to know from these same people if they think killing in self defense (or killing for God & Country) is equally heinous or somehow "different"?


My point is that killing, rape, mayhem, injuring all lie on a single spectrum of violence. Its novel (and quite silly) to train men in the fine art of killing their fellow humans and not reasonably expect some of them to engage in any other area of that spectrum.

Not to say that I support that kind of thing (I certainly don't) but if we're going to have a standing army -- and let's be honest here, an "army" is, at its very best, an organization of well discliplined killers -- then we need to be prepared to deal with the consequences.

War is hell, and it's our own short-signtedness for thinking otherwise.
posted by Avenger at 12:05 PM on March 8, 2007


*that thinks otherwise.
posted by Avenger at 12:10 PM on March 8, 2007


Interview with Helen Benedict
posted by homunculus at 12:11 PM on March 8, 2007


This is profoundly disturbing, though I can't say that I'm surprised. There needs to be a serious Zero tolerance policy in effect here.

I understand that is isn't just about rape, it's about all sorts of abuse and control, harassment, etc, but:

I know that this just adds to all the violence, and violence begets violence, but if someone raped me, they would have to die. I'd take their fucking head off with an e-tool. Yes, I know it's shortsighted, and there would be consequences. What about a nice "friendly-fire" accident?

Honestly, I'm really, really surprised that more of the victims don't calmly walk into the mess hall with their weapons and kill their assailants. They should. Or wait, and follow them into a noisy part of "generator city," and cap them there. I some women were quoted in the article as carrying knives for defense... don't they carry sidearms anymore? .45 acp? something?

tap. tap. torso and head.

This is what I mean by Zero tolerance.
posted by exlotuseater at 12:17 PM on March 8, 2007


My point is that killing, rape, mayhem, injuring all lie on a single spectrum of violence. Its novel (and quite silly) to train men in the fine art of killing their fellow humans and not reasonably expect some of them to engage in any other area of that spectrum.

It's a good point, but the problem is that when they do, when they direct that violence inappropriately (within the context of a "war"), they must be dealt with, and no one seems to be doing that.
posted by exlotuseater at 12:25 PM on March 8, 2007


agregoli, true. Repeating an old canard mindlessly; my bad. The guy who first said that one about women around me was an ACDU Ranger type, so I figure he knew more about it than I did. Any law against having a wrong opinion? Mister_A, ditto, and "love and kisses" to you too.

I don't see much point in avenging a rape -- let criminal justice take its course, as best it can; I thought we were talking about stopping one in progress, in which case I see no problem with deadly force.
posted by pax digita at 12:27 PM on March 8, 2007


Not to say that I support that kind of thing (I certainly don't) but if we're going to have a standing army -- and let's be honest here, an "army" is, at its very best, an organization of well discliplined killers -- then we need to be prepared to deal with the consequences.

WTF. Is the answer really "boys will be boys"?

The article itself states that rape and harassment are not issues in units where the commanders have and enforce a zero tolerance policy towards bullshit of any stripe. This would include, I would imagine, catcalling, sleazy innuendo or any behavior the reinforces some idea that the women in the unit are lesser soldiers or humans than the men.

We got to painting with too broad a brush in this thread and that's just fucking wrong.
posted by psmealey at 12:33 PM on March 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


The reason that doesn't happen more often, exlotuseater, is that there is no magical hard-reset button in the vagina that, when pressed, completely erases a person's indisposition toward murder and violence. People have incredibly varied psychological reactions to it, and in surroundings that are already hostile and unsympathetic to women, avoidance, denial and shame are probably more standard. These women can't just move to another town or switch jobs; their lifestyle, livelihood, and social network are totally wrapped up in the very setting that has thrust this disaster upon them. No pressure.

Also not surprising that they don't exact automatic vengeance, since the most obvious result of walking into a mess hall and firing at anyone is finding oneself spontaneously perforated.

It must be quite a burden on a person to walk around knowing that, due to the wrongful actions of any random individual, he or she could be immediately transformed into a murderer. Sounds sort of crazy to me. Like that dad last year who murdered his neighbor who'd molested his daughter. Except it that it inconveniently turned out later to be untrue.
posted by hermitosis at 12:39 PM on March 8, 2007


I'd be interested to know if anyone here thinks that its ever acceptable to rape someone in self defense (or for "National Security")?

I'd also like to know from these same people if they think killing in self defense (or killing for God & Country) is equally heinous or somehow "different"?


Raping in self defense is sadly a part of modern life. The other day, these two teenage boys invaded my house with the intent to steal my money, honey or possibly Lucky Charms. I had to take action simply to protect myself. I gave out a clear warning bukkake to indicate that the game was up, but they turned around sharply, cocks loaded. It was rape or be raped. The whole goddamn incident was a tragedy, but I cannot genuinely regret my actions. Sometimes, when you're staring rape in the face, you just have to rape first.
posted by thirteenkiller at 12:48 PM on March 8, 2007 [3 favorites]


"Raping in self defense is sadly a part of modern life..."

Is it just me or was that tale fucking hilarious?
posted by davy at 12:56 PM on March 8, 2007


On the other hand...
posted by davy at 1:02 PM on March 8, 2007


thirteenkiller, why do I have to follow that? But I digress.

I have no true picture of the prevalence of rape in Iraq versus the peacetime military, in the US versus anywhere else, and certainly no desire to minimize or excuse any rape any time any where. I certainly expect that it happens and way too often and probably not dealt with in the most sensitive manner by many officers.

That said, it seems to me that if you are in the military and in a war, and you are afraid to go to the bathroom or too stupid not to die because you don't want to drink water in the desert or are too modest to piss out side the tent, then a potential rape is probably the least of your problems. No?

OMFG Porn in a briefing? Being called names? Worried about being offended. WTF? You are in a fucking war and your buddy probably got blown apart yesterday. Does it offend you to rake a car with machine gun fire? Throw a grenade into a room full of teenagers? Fucking grow up. Maybe you shouldn't be in the military? At least in a combat role.

I don't buy what this article is selling for a minute. I'm surprised anyone does. Sorry if I offend anyone.
posted by sfts2 at 1:16 PM on March 8, 2007


"Raping in self defense is sadly a part of modern life....Sometimes, when you're staring rape in the face, you just have to rape first."

Funny story, but your humorous sentiment has actually been put into practice in recent memory. Rape can be theoretically committed as an act of national or ethinic self defense. So how is that different than killing for the same?

Psmealy: WTF. Is the answer really "boys will be boys"?

Note that I'm not trying to excuse anything here. Far from it. What riles me is that we get in a righteous huff when our soldiers start raping (each other or Iraqi civilians) but we also think that its ok when they kill (a much more violent act?) in our name.

Whats interesting about your comment is that you imply that the soldiers actually need more disclipline to not rape than they do to actually go out and kill them some hajis.

Am I wrong to feel that its a bit backasswards?
posted by Avenger at 1:21 PM on March 8, 2007


It must be quite a burden on a person to walk around knowing that, due to the wrongful actions of any random individual, he or she could be immediately transformed into a murderer.

Well, yes and no. I'm a pretty content person, and I'm not generally preoccupied thinking about rape-and-murder-revenge situations. I'll admit I may have spoken a little hyperbolically there. The mess-hall is probably a bad idea. "Generator city" though...

But really, if the problem isn't addressed by the administration, it's going to have to be addressed from the ground.

Sounds sort of crazy to me. Like that dad last year who murdered his neighbor who'd molested his daughter. Except it that it inconveniently turned out later to be untrue.

Well, that's not really the best example, is it? I mean, the guy was killing someone based on second-hand (wrong) information. I admit that victims don't always see their attackers either... and that revenge is, at best, a business fraught with complications, but this is why I'm asking about sidearms. If you're being attacked, you don't need to see who it is, you point your weapon at them and end it.

Part of it though, is that I am viewing this as less revenge and more corrective action in a situation where the system for correction is broken. I know that it's a pretty bold suggestion, but two things happen here: one is that men who rape will understand that the consequences of their actions will result in their own safety being compromised, and two, if they aren't dissuaded from their actions, well, at least another one of them is prevented from doing it again.
posted by exlotuseater at 1:25 PM on March 8, 2007


agregoli, true. Repeating an old canard mindlessly; my bad. The guy who first said that one about women around me was an ACDU Ranger type, so I figure he knew more about it than I did.

It made me laugh more than anything. It's such a ridiculous thing to say and such a totally transparent attempt to say that women don't belong somewhere.

Don't know what ACDU Ranger means, but I'd love to see some proof that a menstruating woman could compromise a mission.
posted by agregoli at 1:25 PM on March 8, 2007


OMFG Porn in a briefing? Being called names? Worried about being offended. WTF?

It's not about being offended or having feelings hurt, for chrissakes. All of those things, if left unchecked, foster an environment of intimidation, objectification and ultimately, dehumanization, all of which directly contributes to this. Even if they don't lead directly to sexual assault (there's significant evidence that they do), the resulting break down in discipline it causes endangers everyone.

Didn't your alien leaders teach you about that before they sent you here?
posted by psmealey at 1:27 PM on March 8, 2007


That said, it seems to me that if you are in the military and in a war, and you are afraid to go to the bathroom or too stupid not to die because you don't want to drink water in the desert or are too modest to piss out side the tent, then a potential rape is probably the least of your problems. No?

Huh? Did you even read? The reason they were afraid to go to the bathroom is because of rape, so yes, rape was indeed one of their biggest problems, not the least.

And if I was afraid of being raped, I wouldn't want to take my pants down to pee even outside my tent.
posted by agregoli at 1:29 PM on March 8, 2007


Whats interesting about your comment is that you imply that the soldiers actually need more disclipline to not rape than they do to actually go out and kill them some hajis.

I'm really not sure how you arrived at that. But you need discipline to maintain the unit under all circumstances. I'm sure, at times, that the urge to go and kill indiscriminately (honestly, "some hajis?" wtf) when your buddies have been hurt or killed by an IED can be stronger than whatever primal urge there is do sexual violence to someone. Both are bad. Both are criminal, both need to be prevented.

You need a level of discipline to prevent both things from happening. Not sure how you arrived at an either/or, or a more of this versus less of that. That's some strange thinking.
posted by psmealey at 1:33 PM on March 8, 2007


I would imagine, catcalling, sleazy innuendo or any behavior the reinforces some idea that the women in the unit are lesser soldiers or humans than the men.

Doesn't the entire American military set up explicity reinforce that women are in fact lesser soldiers by restricting the possible duties they can carry out?

Its all well and good telling soldiers not to tell dirty jokes or lay off the porn but you can't really create an environment of equality while maintaining an official position of inequality between genders.
posted by Reggie Knoble at 1:33 PM on March 8, 2007


From the piece:I think creating an environment of equality might be a bit too much to hope for. Maybe an environment of dignity, respect and non-intimidation is the place to start.

It's basically the Stanford Prison Experiment writ large. Once you have a breakdown in order, pretty much any kind of behavior becomes permissible.
posted by psmealey at 1:44 PM on March 8, 2007


psmealey: Apologies if my thinking seems a bit strange. It makes sense from this end. Doesn't it always?

Maybe I should clarify where I'm coming from a bit more.

I am, for the most part, a pacifist.

You talk about soldiers killing indiscrimately as being equivalent to rape. I agree.

I differ in that I also think that soldiers carrying out their assigned killing in a methodical, orderly and disciplined fashon is akin to rape, in the sense that they're both acts of violence. We (the West) are the ones who have created the comforting fiction of "legal" and "illegal" forms of violence. It's comforting to us because it allows us to pay our taxes with a good conscience (your money will only go towards perfectly legal killing! Hooray!) and comforting to our leaders, as it allows them to order wholesale slaughter as long as the paperwork is in order (and it always is. Strange, that.)

It matters very little, I think, weather you're putting a bullet in the head of an armed 16 year old Iraqi (who also sees himself as defending his country, btw) in the name of "self defense" or a Yugoslav soldier putting a baby in a Kosovar woman's belly in the defense of his motherland, which he sees as being ultimately a kind of "self defense" as well.

We, as Americans, tend to think that the second example is evil, wicked, immoral, criminal and so on, while the first example is necessary, even good or patriotic. Common Sense tells us so, doesn't it?

Sorry if I've derailed. I'll pipe down now, I guess.
posted by Avenger at 1:59 PM on March 8, 2007


psmealey,

You seem to have a large number of posts in the thread so you obviously have strong feelings on this one. I'm not going to enage with you with a lot of enthusiasm, because most of what you have written on this topic, while sensitive and idealistic is moronic.

Dignity, resepct, non-intimidation...in a combat zone. I maybe from a different planet, but that planet shares a border with reality. And actually, no, I don't think rape was their biggest problem, because they are fucking dead, because they didn't stay hydrated in the desert. Dumbass.

Lastly, I might suggest a level of critical thinking when reading blog posts and articles from Salon. Just because someone writes it, doesn't mean its true. Maybe the level of rape in combat justifies the hysteria that this article attempts to create, its just that I don't think they did a good job backing up thier assertions, as was mentioned upthread, and I agree with that poster. The lack of credibility starts with the use of Col. Janis Karpinski as a prime witness. Is it me, or is it somewhat ironic that the leader of Abu Gharib is waxing eloquent on the need for sneior officer accountability for the actions of their subordinates?
posted by sfts2 at 2:08 PM on March 8, 2007


Avenger, when we enlisted we signed up, voluntarily, knowing damn well you may have to go invade another country and kill the emeny's opposing force. Neither myself or any of the stand up soldiers that I served with signed up for rape or to be raped. War is fucking war. In a volunteer Army, it's your doddamn job man. Rape is fucking rape. A rapist is a fucking coward. As for the rapist, we all reap what we sow, I just wish it was paid back in ten-fold and a helluva lot quicker. No soldier, person, enemy, woman or man, deserves to be mistreated in such a manner.
It's clearly a break-down of leadership and discipline.

Let's go back to the most elemental sayings in basic training, discipline is what you do when no one is watching.

Aside from killing, treat others as you wish to be treated.

It's funny, killing, (to me anyway) doesn't seem so bad compared to the rape.

to give emphasis, I would easily and without a tear, gut someone to prevent or stop a rape in progress and I can't imagine a military court not siding with me. Maybe the boy scout in me surfaces every now and then.
posted by winks007 at 2:20 PM on March 8, 2007


Rape happens in the military more than the military is prepared to admit. And it happens to men way more than the military is prepared to admit. though I doubt some of the numbers present in the article I am sure the real numbers are still shocking.

And it is complicated. Just laying it on the doorstep of the inherently violent culture of war making is an incomplete theory.

You have to understand that the military on the enlisted level is very much about prolonging adolescence. Boiling down complex social order to black and white. You have men who are essentially children to start with being instructed to disregard complex thinking. In most combat situations complex thinking - nuanced thinking - gets you killed. And then add to this unprecedented level of women soldiers present in the combat arena that nobody figured out how to deal with before the war.

Then you have this crazy war itself. These guys were fed known lies, told they were liberators, and now 12 year old kids are trying to kill them from ambush everyday. Yet also a bad guy one day is a guy you need to talk to the next day. This environment requires complex thinking to avoid killing innocent people. But they don't have the capacity or luxury for this kind of thought. Our soldiers are uniquely unprepared for this war. Almost as much as our leaders. Our soldiers are very much aware of fucked they are.

Plus you have lowered recruiting standards and and evaporating experienced officer corps. There is nobody responsible in charge. And nobody on line to change things.

Committing rape is a symptom of a broken person. This war is simply manufacturing more broken people.
posted by tkchrist at 2:56 PM on March 8, 2007


Avenger said: "We (the West) are the ones who have created the comforting fiction of 'legal' and 'illegal' forms of violence."

Exactly.

Then winks007 said: "I would easily and without a tear, gut someone...Maybe the boy scout in me surfaces every now and then."

Please don't help me cross any streets, okay Mr. Boy Scout?
posted by davy at 3:01 PM on March 8, 2007


sfts2 you clearly think that maintaining of basic intra-unit discipline and order in a war zone such that the enlisted personnel don't violate ech other is moronic or unrealistic, This tells me that you either have no experience with such matters, or if you do, you have a pretty cartoonish understanding of reality.

The reason things like My Lai or Abu Ghraib are shocking and DON'T happen more often is because most of the time, troops can keep the level of discipline. On planet stfs2, I would expect more of this kind of thing. In the real world, most troops hold it together in the direst of circumstances.

Karpinski's credibility notwithstanding, she's not the linchpin of the article, and Rumsfeld himself commissioned a report to look into this. Furthermore, going back to 94, to Tailhook, the military's track record on this sort of thing ain't so good. Nothing to it? Doesn't seem so.

Furthermore, I groan to have to break this down for you, but I think you have an understanding of "dignity" and "non-intimidation" that is off the mark. I mean nothing more than: your female comrade is your sister. Think about how you would feel if you saw your sister back home being catcalled by a bunch of your buddies. I bet you'd be pretty pissed off huh? Then DON'T LET IT HAPPEN. That's at least a step toward fostering a culture where guys would look out for their female comrades. I grant you, in every population there's going to be some percentage of slimeball fuckhead rapists, but at least you can create an atmosphere of vigilance.

From this article, and accounts I have gotten from friends and family members who are serving now, this does not seem to be the case.

Lastly, to be given a lesson in critical thinking as well as to be called a dumbass by the likes of you is hilarious. Truly a real life Beavis and Butthead moment for me. Thanks for the laugh.
posted by psmealey at 3:05 PM on March 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


We (the West) are the ones who have created the comforting fiction of 'legal' and 'illegal' forms of violence.

WE created... wha? Oh. Nonsense.

Nearly every culture - even tribal cultures - have codified rules for violence— for which type of violence is permissible and which is not. Perhaps you never heard of the Samurai or the Grand Valley Dani or the thousands of other warrior cultures that created complex rules for warfare.
posted by tkchrist at 3:09 PM on March 8, 2007


...also the Dakota Souix, the Cheyenne, the Persians, the Indus peoples. Jeez. The list could go on. The worst you could say about the west's ideas of legal war concepts is that it makes obvious when we are hypocrites.

But - that is a GOOD thing—considering, if you understand that violence is (for the foreseeable future) a given with humans, the alternative of unchecked total and wanton destruction.
posted by tkchrist at 3:19 PM on March 8, 2007


So many people here are jumping up onto high horses about what they think these women should do and how normal the urge to rape must be for these soldiers.

Ew.

Many comments are going on and on about how a military org is a group of killers. Someone even used "well-disciplined" and then excused the mindset towards rape. "Well-disciplined" means they don't rape. It means they do only what they are legally and ethically bound to accomplish to meet the goals of the mission. Anything else is free will and, for the sake of everything sacred and green, that's what fucking makes us human. They have the free will to not rape, and they do it anyway.

Our military is comprised of adult volunteers, many of whom are mislead during their recruitment on various points about environment, circumstances, and expectations. While some of the people signing up are aware of this and decide to take their chances regardless, many more go into it honestly believing they are just going to see the world, support the patriotic urges they've discovered in themselves, pay for college, help their families, and/or learn something they wouldn't otherwise learn. That happens on lots of other jobs, too, but in this one you can kill and be killed. Because of that, because of *all* of that, there should be *more* stringent guidelines for getting in to the military, not less. If they wanted to put together a branch made entirely of frothing maniacs, fine, but keep them away from non-frothing maniacs and don't associate them with my nation.

Rape may well be about "horniness". That doesn't excuse it. One of the qualifiers for being in the military should be ability to control that urge, since one doesn't know how much access one will have to the powerless and/or poor in the field. In fact and honestly, I sincerely believe that if I could trust anyone to put together a do-no-harm, completely consensual brothel for those deployed in war zones, that's what I would vote for. Having known many sex workers and employers of sex workers, however, I can't see that working out without someone getting hurt, either.

The point is, when someone joins the military, it's not about "getting some". It's about getting a job done. A brutal, ugly, possibly illegal job in this case, but that's what they signed up for. Anyone here trying to give a pass to the predators in question has revealed a hell of a lot more about their own mindset than provided any valid support for why it should somehow be understandable.

Rape is not understandable. Knowing you are doing something so intimate to someone who has not given you permission to do so - whether they struggle or not, whether they are non-sexually assaulted during the greater assault or not - shows a lack of humanity that should, I think, result in immediate and serious consequences for the perpetrator(s). Won't happen, though, because too many people are too willing to entertain any possible reason such brutality can be justified. Or they guiltily, secretly, are projecting their own confused logic about when it's okay to "take it" instead of finding some that's being offered freely or, I dunno, *waiting*.

For those who wondered whether it's worse to be killed or to be raped, I'll testify before any court in the land that living with a memory of rape, especially violent rape or that committed by those you trust the most (or should be able to trust the most, as the case may be) is one of the most dehumanising, suicide-tempting life events one can have. I don't yet know whether or not the life that follows is worth enduring the destruction of peace of mind it causes, nor any of the more tangible side effects (loss of fertility, for example). I hope one day to find the answer to be "yes".

A more futile but no less profound hope is that we will one day have a military that doesn't commit atrocities, a government that doesn't support the commitment of atrocities, and a nation that reaps the rewards of respect and goodwill. What a sweet dream. Such a shame it's so unlikely, eh?
posted by batmonkey at 3:49 PM on March 8, 2007 [4 favorites]


you wouldn't want a possibly menstruating woman along on any kind of op where an enemy sentry dog could smell her,

Excuse me? If a dog could smell a woman menstruating, it certainly could detect any man in the area.

posted by agregoli at 2:37 PM EST on March 8

I think maybe pax digita got dogs confused with enemy sentry sharks. Or possibly bears.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 3:58 PM on March 8, 2007


“A 2003 survey of female veterans from Vietnam through the first Gulf War found that 30 percent said they were raped in the military. A 2004 study of veterans from Vietnam and all the wars since, who were seeking help for post-traumatic stress disorder, found that 71 percent of the women said they were sexually assaulted or raped while in the military.”

Sexual harrasment /= rape. I’d like to see apples compared to apples here. With perhaps smaller time spans.
Still it’s very disturbing.


“the danger of rape by other soldiers is so widely recognized in Iraq that their officers routinely told them not to go to the latrines ...”

Officers carry sidearms. This is one reason they have them. If any officer knew about it, if he was worth a shit, he’d have armed escorts and make them responsible for women’s safety. She stubs her toe it comes out of your pay.
This certainly wouldn’t have happen in any unit I was in.

But it seems to me this can be attributed to the gutting of experianced NCOs. Officers - regular chair polishers - tend to be a bit distanced from the men. That tends to be by design, but there are some units and some military communities closer than others regardless of rank.

“That said, it seems to me that if you are in the military and in a war, and you are afraid to go to the bathroom...”

I disagree. I think this should be legally prosecuted and treated the same as if it were man on man.
Gender, color, ethnicity, make no difference once the uniform is on.
That’s the standard. It should be vigorously enforced until it is fully the practice. (& 2nd adamgreenfield’s comments on “disgrace”)

Though all female units might be a solution. I haven’t fully considered it. But y’know, grabbing a couple of guys who’d otherwise be burning turds and making him on-call and responsible for female security when they go to the latrine could work well. If she doesn’t have an absolutely delightful experiance firing out a turd and feels as safe and cozy as if her rifle toting daddy, brother, and godfather was walking beside her every step of the way - if she so much as sneezes - it’d be their asses, could work too. But then I was a bastard to work for.

“Think, people: what kind of man joins the military, especially in wartime?”

I was a killing machine. Some folks pretty much thought of me too. Bought stock in body bags when I left base. Strangely, I didn’t rape anyone. And I have a very loving relationship with my wife and family. I guess I’ll have to get a divorce now. Man, I’d like a derby hat though.

“My contention is that that kind of self-discipline -- and esprit de corps -- might be too much to expect of a volunteer military”

Yeah. Those draftee armys are way more self-disciplined.

“If a dog could smell a woman menstruating, it certainly could detect any man in the area.”

Sweat, menstration, nasty ass, crotch rot,...s’all why hush puppys are used.

“if anyone here thinks that its ever acceptable to rape someone in self defense”

Nope. Never.

“My point is that killing, rape, mayhem, injuring all lie on a single spectrum of violence”

I disagree. We kill because we cannot use any lesser level of force and still maintain our own lives and/or the lives of our fellows.
Rape can only occur once someone is in your power and cannot threaten your life - at least at that moment.
Now whether killing is moral is debatable, but it can never be called “good.”And it should be done only when necessary.
If my battalion could sneak up on and enemy battalion and subdue them it would be a reprehensible act if we killed them. As it is we’re not Fremen or super-soldiers. In fact Special Operators are a very rare breed.

I’ll concede to your argument that there is some relation among them in terms of excess from the norm. But killing is a radically different form of violence than rape. I excel at killing. I, and no one who knows me, could imagine I would ever rape someone. Killing is only warranted when it serves the very practical purpose of ultimately saving lives (granted there’s a separation and judgement as to which lives are more valuable, but that’s another issue as to whether that is itself an egregious act). Similarly, we kill and eat animals (or have) in order to survive.
By your analogy hunters going out to rape deer is of the same order. The necessity of the act of killing legitimates it, rape can have no legitimacy because in no way can it be truly and practically necessary - once someone is in your power it’s not necessary to rape them to save your life or someone elses. We kill because we cannot place the enemy in our power. And to emphasize - that’s legitimacy, not morality.

Although those doe do have those cute little tails. Unfortunately a doe raped me first (+strap-on antlers), so I’m a bit put off.
posted by Smedleyman at 4:33 PM on March 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


Interesting how you all seem to be so sure none of these women have extracted vengeance. Do you suppose it would show up in msm? I can just imagine the field day the press would have with the court martial of a woman soldier. Wouldn't the military love that.
posted by notreally at 4:50 PM on March 8, 2007


“I, and no one who knows me, could imagine I would ever rape someone.”

Could *not* imagine, should be. Et.Al. Man, I’m a typoholic today.
posted by Smedleyman at 4:50 PM on March 8, 2007


The purpose of the military is to kill your enemies and to protect your country, not rape your fellow soliders.

Omit '...your fellow soldiers' and most of human history shows us the contrary. Comrade-rape is a new wrinkle, that's certain.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 5:21 PM on March 8, 2007




We all have a little of the "Smedleyman" in us.
posted by winks007 at 5:23 PM on March 8, 2007


I seem to remember an article posted to the blue that man-on-man rape was up during this war too. Did my tired brain make that up?
posted by lekvar at 5:30 PM on March 8, 2007


Smedleyman, I appriciate your service. I'm sure that MOST of the military types are like you.

But there are some who are not.

What do you want to bet that, of the types who voluntarily join the armed forces, there is, say, 3 out of 10 that are just ruthless killers, in it for the joy of blinking out the enemy's lights. And out of those three, say 2 of them can be constrained by military discipline.
But there's still that one, just a few percent of the force, "bad apples" or whatever you want to call them, that don't give a shit about military discipline. They were recruited because they were an able body, but in more peacefull times, wouldn't be allowed to stay in.

There's still quite a few, maybe less than 10% that are great tools for killing people and breaking things, but is not exactly someone you would want living next to your house and your children.

Those individuals are there. That's what we are railing against. Not the flag-waving, Ain't Skeered sticker-on-their-Ford F-250, Calvin alternately pissing on Terrists, and praying under the shaddow of the oversized cross, voted for the Repubs because they want to give me a tax break soldiers. The ones that just want to hurt someone. Anyone. The ones that you had just better get them on the front lines, so they can do some good, but you wouldn't want to unleash them on the general public of any country, types.

We all know you are a skilled soldier, but you aren't the problem. We know what the problem is, and it ain't you. It's those others. We know they are there. You know they are there. The US military command know they are there, but just hopes there aren't reporters around when they do their magic.

Those people shouldn't be there. Those people shouldn't be the face of the US military. They shouldn't go on "winning hearts and minds" missions where you bust down peoples doors to search for weapons and distribute soccer balls.

I hope you can see what I'm saying.
posted by Balisong at 5:59 PM on March 8, 2007


What do you want to bet that, of the types who voluntarily join the armed forces, there is, say, 3 out of 10 that are just ruthless killers, in it for the joy of blinking out the enemy's lights. And out of those three, say 2 of them can be constrained by military discipline.

I'd bet anything you want, since you clearly pulled those numbers out of your ass. That would mean that around 850,000 ruthless killers were just sitting around waiting to join up (counting active and reserve. All those ruthless, ruthless lawyers and accountants.) Of which around 265,000 (of the around 2.6 million total strength) will be off-the-hook-psychos using Balisong Math. I don't think the U.S. as ever had that many soldiers in country at any time.

I guess it might hinge on what your definition of "ruthless killer" is. Trained to be a killer? The guy slopping gruel on your plate in the mess had to pass the same M-16 qualification that you did.

(And, Balisong, I hope you realize I doubting your math, not your general point.)
posted by Cyrano at 6:33 PM on March 8, 2007


89% of all statistics are made up on the spot.

My math sucks, but my point stands.
posted by Balisong at 6:36 PM on March 8, 2007


And actually, no, I don't think rape was their biggest problem, because they are fucking dead, because they didn't stay hydrated in the desert. Dumbass.


stfs2, let's try this again, in simpler terms. Perhaps you will understand.

1) Female soldiers are afraid of being raped.
2) Drinking water makes you pee.
3) The place where they pee is poorly lit and far away, providing many opportunities to be assaulted.

.: They decide to minimize peeing, in order to minimize being raped.

If you think that being afraid of rape--when it's clearly a justifiable fear--is somehow stupid, then you need some serious mental help.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 6:39 PM on March 8, 2007


Wasn't this sort of 'problem' one of the main reasons the Pentagon opposed allowing women in the military for so long?
posted by Fupped Duck at 7:06 PM on March 8, 2007


Do you know who else used to make up statistics to prove his point, don't you...

Hitler's accountant! (Prescott Bush)
posted by Balisong at 7:36 PM on March 8, 2007


Just for the record, I never thought that adamgreenfield seriously meant to rape me or even made a real threat; I just wanted to point out that taken literally the words "Fuck you!" are indeed a rape threat, which is why it's "offensive". My point was that violence, or the threat of it, is ubiquitous enough even among unarmed civilians. And I don't know why he apologized, but his unnecessary apology is accepted. (I'd've posted this hours ago but I got sidetracked by Real Life.)

And anyway, my "SO" tells me I could sometimes use help in choosing what to wear with what (or at all, like she hates straw hats).
posted by davy at 9:28 PM on March 8, 2007


Why not just pee in something like an empty mayonnaise jar with a handy screw-on lid? It's what I'd do if I were afraid to go pee elsewhere, or if it's just too cold to leave my tent. Is this a "female thing"? Or is the U.S. military in general just selecting for idiocy as well as "killer instinct"? If the latter, do they want morons of both sexes or just dumb women?

Note that I'm not "minimizing the problem", just suggesting a better way to handle it temporarily than dehydration.
posted by davy at 9:35 PM on March 8, 2007


"All those ruthless, ruthless lawyers."

Hey, why do you think they call 'em "land sharks"?

What do you have if you have 6 lawyers buried up to their necks in pig shit?

Not enough pig shit.

posted by davy at 10:11 PM on March 8, 2007


Well, 'most everything has been said. I'd like to point out though, in some fairness to the command element, that it isn't as easy as some seem to think to be all hardass zero-tolerance about anything. It takes extraordinary leaders to consistently do the hard thing.

You're already using 15 people to do 25 people-worth of work, and the price of doing a poor job is someone's death. Now you have to get rid of ten of them for misconduct. Yes, the right answer is that it's your fault for not preventing the misconduct in the first place. You should get rid of the ten and do something about your leadership and unit climate immediately. Easier, though, to see it as many of our own mefi members do (from the safety of home, no less)--boys will be boys, and I'd like to do something, but don't have the resources.

I also think there is another reason why reporting is low, aside from fear of ostracism. A busy supervisor, when he hears the complaint, is immediately thinking "Oh goddamn it, wtf, I can't afford this crap (meaning the investigation pita, losing people, embarrassment with his boss) right now." They won't actually say that. They do care on a personal level (the decent ones, I mean) and most likely will do their best to help, but it's instinct after thinking in terms of their management responsibility 24 hours a day for their mind to immediately flash to "how is this going to screw me"-type thoughts. Not exactly a supportive reception.

So yes, we need better people. Better soldiers who wouldn't even dream of such a thing, no matter how stressful the situation (or how horny, or how any-lame-excuse). We need better leaders who can do the hard thing and stomp this out even if it hurts their unit in the short-term. We need leaders who can keep this #1 on the priority list even while overloaded with 25 hours a day of work trying to keep people from being killed while actually accomplishing something.

Know any of those people? Are you volunteering?
Rereading, it looks like I'm an apologist for those responsible. I'm not. I'm just saying, it's probably harder than it seems from your chair.
posted by ctmf at 10:13 PM on March 8, 2007


Please do elaborate.
Here I was thinking someone believes "horniness" is the singular cause of rape.
I'm listening if you're explaining.
Let's test these other hypotheses, shall we?


The major proposed rape causation theories include feminist theory, cultural pathology theory, strategic rape theory, biosocial theories, implicit theories, positivism theory, individual determinant theories (i.e. evolution, physiology and neurophysiology, alcohol, psychopathology, personality traits, attitudes, gender schemas, sex, power motives, and social learning), dyadiccontext theories, institutional theories, and social theory (see Abbey, et al. 2001; Barkan, 2006; Beech, Fisher, & Ward, 2005; Gottschall, 2004; The National Research Council Staff, 1996, p. 51; Thornhill & Palmer, 2001).

Feminist theory (Stock, 1991) which postulates rape is strictly about domination of women and/or power and is not motivated by sex in any way. Radical feminism postulates that rape is a way for men to control women and maintain their dominance over women (Dworkin, 1989; MacKinnon, 1982; both as cited in Barkan, 2006, p. 250). Both feminist theory and social theory state rape is not a sexual act, instead is due to violence or power driven. Contradicting this theory, a study by Looman and Marshall (2005) exploring the validity of phallometric assessments with rapists found “[r]apists do not exhibit a sexual preference for depictions of rape as opposed to depictions of consensual sex with adult females on any of the assessments”. They also found no meaningful relationships between sexual arousal and offense-related variables, psychopathy, or risk assessment measures. If rape were not about sex, then the rapists would find the depictions of consensual sex less arousing than depictions of rape.

Abbey, A., McAuslan, P. Zawacki, T., Clinton, A. M. & Buck, P. O. (2001, August). Attitudinal, experiential, and situational predictors of sexual assault perpetration. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 16(8), 784-807. Retrieved October 1, 2006 from Sage Criminology Collection.

Barken, S. E. (2006). Criminology, A sociological understanding, 3rd ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Prentice Hall.

Beech, A., Fisher, D., & Ward, T. (2005, November). Sexual Murderers’ Implicit Theories. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 20(11), 1366-1389. Retrieved October 1, 2006 from Sage Criminology Collection.

Gottschall, J. A. & Gottschall, T. A. (2003). Are per-incident rape-pregnancy rates higher than per-incident consensual pregnancy rates? Human Nature, 14(1), 1-20.

Gottschall, J. (2004). Explaining wartime rape. The Journal of Sex Research, 41(2), 129-136. Retrieved October 8, 2006 from EBSCOhost database.

National Research Council Staff. (1996). Understanding violence against women. Washington, DC: National Academies Press. Retrieved October 13, 2006 from Ebrary.

Stock, W. (1991). Feminist explanations: Male power, hostility, and sexual coercion. In Sexual Coercion: A Sourcebook on its Nature, Causes and Prevention, Grauerholz, E. & Koralewski, M. A., Eds. New York: Lexington Books. Retrieved October 1, 2006 from the National Criminal Justice Reference Service Library Collection.

Thornhill, R., Palmer, C. T., & Wilson, M. I. (2000). A natural history of rape: Biological basis of sexual coercion. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.
posted by locatorsjoy at 10:16 PM on March 8, 2007


"But there are some who are not....just a few percent of the force, "bad apples" or whatever you want to call them, that don't give a shit about military discipline...I hope you can see what I'm saying." - posted by Balisong

General thumbnail estimation aside (fair enough calling it what is) - I absolutely agree. And indeed, manifestly so. One raped soldier is one too many.
It's a general disaster though. The U.S. has never really seemed to want to go ahead and have a fully professional military. Where a person could be a professional, be treated like one, have an environment conducive to raising children, and most importantly have medical - and psychiatric - benefits commensurate with the job.
Lots of things we seem to want done on the cheap - again - manifestly so. Innumerable cases in the media alone.
Most telling - we don't spend enough to significantly train and retain experienced quality people and weed out the bad apples.
Of course it might mean spending more on defense, but I'd be happy to see what we flush down the toilet to private defense contractors for all kindsa toys rechanneled.
At this point it's not technology but training that is - and is going to a continually greater degree - the edge.
Not technology. Especially once the A-bomb & sundry delivery systems are in enough hands.
Of course, there's always space. But that's not in the relevant future.
And indeed - even if I'm wrong - if technology is going to be the edge for a while yet (and it was) it's only going to get more complex and we're still going to need experienced quality people.
Last thing you want is some bad apple getting ahold of some heavy ordinance or getting rank enough to be really dangerous.
We cannot allow communist infiltration to sap and impurify our precious bodily fluids, Mandrake.

"And anyway, my "SO" tells me I could sometimes use help in choosing what to wear with what (or at all, like she hates straw hats)." - posted by davy

Your SO has a great deal of class (no snark). Those straw hats are itchy and you have to wear one of those bulky fur coats, sit on flag poles, swallow goldfish...
posted by Smedleyman at 10:35 PM on March 8, 2007


Actually, the thing with command - in these situations
Ok...consider the scene in Platoon where you have the redneck who calls his black brothers in arms niggers and says 'thank God for the sickle cell' and such. The men in his unit certainly don't like that, but they might love him (under fire animal mother is one of the finest human beings in the world).

So you have a guy, say you owe your life to six times over. Maybe he's a dick sometimes or he cheats at chess, but he'll lend you money when you need it, but he's got a foul mouth, but he'll take your shit duty for you if you're low, but he's a misogynist, but he'll set you up with his sister...etc. etc. Either way, he's pulled your fat out to the fire and your buddys ass and the whole unit loves him because when the shit comes down, he's the guy who's got your back.
And you hear he rapes someone from someone you don't know.
Your move?

Or your top NCO tells you the guy is a stellar performer out in the field but comes to you with the same kind of story. So you have to decide whether to investigate - which alone will destroy morale - and if anything comes up whether to bring him up on charges. That's IF they stick. And that's not even getting into whether it's true or not. Or even whether it's your unit or someone handed it off to you or how long you've been there. etc. etc.

Now certainly the right thing has to be done. But I agree with the above, it's not easy.
A lot of those problems would never arise in certain commands. As I've said, some folks run tighter ships. Doesn't help much, but prevention is always better than the cure.
posted by Smedleyman at 10:51 PM on March 8, 2007


dirtynumbangelboy - being afraid of rape is not stupid. To speculate whether it is stupid to be more afraid of rape than of dying is irrelevant because it is a false dilemma. To risk death rather than go to the lavatory with 9 other people drawn from the 15% of women on active duty, to risk death rather than quit to a job with FedEx, to risk death rather than employ the dozen other mitigation options the finest military training in the world has trained them to be capable of would be stupid -- if it were true.

If forced to decide between the possibility that the unfortunate individuals are terminally stupid, or the possibility that the finest military training in the world does not equip its soldiers with the skills to manage the hazards of going to the toilet, or the possibilty that this is a politically motivated story intended to advance a certain agenda, many on this thread are choosing the latter.

It is plausible that some individuals have died from dehydration. It is plausible that other individuals have been raped. It is implausible that some individuals have died from dehydration because other individuals have been raped - the causality is contrived.
posted by falcon at 11:24 PM on March 8, 2007


The major proposed rape causation theories include feminist theory, cultural pathology theory, strategic rape theory, biosocial theories, implicit theories, positivism theory, individual determinant theories (i.e. evolution, physiology and neurophysiology, alcohol, psychopathology, personality traits, attitudes, gender schemas, sex, power motives, and social learning), dyadiccontext theories, institutional theories, and social theory (see Abbey, et al. 2001; Barkan, 2006; Beech, Fisher, & Ward, 2005; Gottschall, 2004; The National Research Council Staff, 1996, p. 51; Thornhill & Palmer, 2001).

Jesus H Popsicle-stick Christ. There's a reason why, much as I'm tempted sometimes, I'll never venture back into academia.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 12:44 AM on March 9, 2007


This was all in all a very good post. It makes you wonder, if you swing open a latrine door looking for a potential victim and GI JANE is sitting on the pot sharpening her k-bar, I'd be willing to wager, she'll get a pass that night. I work in a fucking sales office and a majority of the women there all have little knives and such in their purse. We have special laws for effin with the old, senile or infirm. We even have special penalties for crimes against small children. Maybe it's time for some laws with regards to rape, have some real teeth.
posted by winks007 at 4:42 AM on March 9, 2007


Compare:
psmealey "Great article. She provides some pretty concrete examples of where the system is failing and what needs to be done to fix it."

with:
salon.com "The March 6 story "The Private War of Women Soldiers" originally said that National Guard soldier Demond Mullins told the author that "a commander in his camp turned a blind eye to rape all the time." But Mullins says that he heard only secondhand from his unit commanders about rapes in other units. The story also quoted Mullins as saying that more than one solider raped a woman in the shower, whereas Mullins says that he heard that only one man committed the rape. The misstatements have been corrected.."

Nice that they have been corrected. But how many, I wonder, will be checking the errata pages, and how many thousands more will have had their prejudices confirmed by this misinformation. Thus is the meme of man's brutality to women propagated.

On rereading it, it seems the piece collapses under the weight of the contradictions set up by the false dilemma it is founded on: a contrived choice between rape or death by dehydration, omitting consideration of plausible alternatives.

Consider the contradiction, for example, between the assertion that females are trained and resourceful enough to manage the hazards of combat patrol (or they would not be the equal of males), yet cannot manage the hazards of going to the toilet. Both cannot simultaneously be true. If the latter is true then either the credibility of the entire U.S. military training system is in question, or females cannot be the equals of males in the military. If the former is true (as I believe) then females have a plausible alternative to death or rape when visiting the latrine.

In another contradiction, the means by which individuals can readily avoid risk (unauthorised absence) is described in some detail, yet we are invited to accept without question that the risk of death by dehydration is somehow preferrable to the unpleasant but plausible alternative of court martial.

But we are not really meant to have thought through the contradictions in any depth because of the piece's central fallacy - its misandrous premise that the brutalisation of females by males is a special case, different in kind rather than degree from brutalisation in any other gender combination, or racial combination, or other arbitrary basis of classification, and for which the greatest species of horror is reserved.

Brutalisation by females is real, both in the military and elsewhere. 67% of perpetrators of staff sexual misconduct in US state prisons are female [Dumond 2006]. The majority of domestic violence in the UK is initiated by females [BBC/MORI 2004]. Examples of violence by women against men in a US study of hospital patients included choking, kicking, biting, punching and non-consensual sex [Mechem 1999].

So rape and sexual humiliation is inflicted by women as well as men. It should not (but does) need saying that it is no less traumatic for the victim when it is inflicted by a woman. But such is the success of the deeply politicised, highly effective feminist agenda over the preceding 3 decades that even to state this obvious point is to invite death threats -- from women, as Erin Pizzey discovered to her cost.

It is against this backdrop that these misandrous pieces thrive.
posted by falcon at 5:25 AM on March 9, 2007


How dare you throw my own words back at me, Falcon.

What I was referring to do had less to do with the examples you raised (and some of the more sensational aspects of the story), then it did with things like putting forward chaplains as rape crisis counselors when they had no training to do this, and not having any mechanism in the chain of command by which a woman could report a rape to a highly ranking woman (it's true that women are much less likely to report a rape to a male authority figure).

She just pointed out a couple of problems in the current structure that can be addressed with some relatively painless common sense measures.
posted by psmealey at 5:35 AM on March 9, 2007


misandrous

Interesting that you used that word no less than three times on this post. Is that what you really think is at the core of this article and much of the discussion to follow? A feminist agenda of misandry?
posted by psmealey at 5:45 AM on March 9, 2007


yes
posted by falcon at 8:14 AM on March 9, 2007


I'm sorry you are upset. I wasn't picking on you particularly. Your comments were perfectly valid at the time that you made them, and you were not to know that the person you were endorsing had misquoted her sources. Feel free to throw mine back at me, if you feel I've misunderstood those parts of her story she has not distorted.
posted by falcon at 8:24 AM on March 9, 2007


I'm not upset. My initial response was intended to be rather more tongue in cheek than impassioned.

To be honest, the angle of critique that you came at this caught me off guard, and I'm still thinking through it. I'll have to do a bit more digging on the credibility of the journalist before I can respond at length.
posted by psmealey at 8:29 AM on March 9, 2007


"Consider the contradiction, for example, between the assertion that females are trained and resourceful enough to manage the hazards of combat patrol (or they would not be the equal of males), yet cannot manage the hazards of going to the toilet. Both cannot simultaneously be true."

Oh, that's retarded. A woman can be the equal of a man in modern combat and still be afraid of getting raped or improperly trained for the risk of rape (which still seems to be focused on blaming the victim for the rape). Not getting raped is not integral to modern combat (just as hand to hand combat has been deemphisized).
posted by klangklangston at 11:38 AM on March 9, 2007


It should not (but does) need saying that it is no less traumatic for the victim when it is inflicted by a woman

This is not true. Most females who rape males get the males hard and then penetrate themselves on the men. Most males who rape females penetrate females. It is a far more violent act to be penetrated. And until males can become pregnant by being raped you can not say that female on male rape is the same as male on female rape.

Got links to any of those studies? I tried looking them up and couldn't find anything.
posted by avagoyle at 1:59 PM on March 9, 2007


re. "Oh, that's retarded". I'm happy to set aside your casual use of exclusive language in a discussion about exclusiveness. Creating a safe environment in which to surface unconscious prejudice is, after all, a theme. I'm fascinated that our respective experiences of selecting for and leading combat patrols should lead to such different conclusions, particularly on the capabilities of women (which you appear to underestimate). How do you account for it?

re. "This is not true". From your perspective. It is true from the perspective of the victims I have counselled. There are two genders and two potential truths. It is only in an unconsciously gynocentric society like ours that you could imagine that "your" truth is indistinguishable from "the" truth. (Even now, there are people reading this whos inner voice is crying you can not say that female on male rape is the same as male on female rape, in the way 50 years ago the inner voice cried of course a woman's place is in the home. Neither are true and neither believer knows they are untrue, but such is the treacherous nature of unconscious paradigms.)

Our goal should be to build a society that reconciles both truths, not one in which "your truth" or "my truth" prevails. I will therefore not engage in a debate with you about whether one sort of rape is more, equal or less awful than another - to do so is literally meaningless.

I argue only that the problem of violence in the military is uniformly awful, and that an attempt to analyse it by gender is contrived and further evidence of a wider ill in our society.
posted by falcon at 10:30 PM on March 9, 2007


Falcon, I don't doubt that you believe what you have written, and written eloquently, I might add. But in order to support your central theses, that this article was solely written to forward a misanrouds agenda and that an attempt to analyze the issue of inter-gender violence by gender is contrived, you're going to have to do better than the odd grab-bag of citiations you've provided above.The notion, that we live in a "gynocentric" society, seems to me as subjective and contrived (without further evidence) as everything you are critiquing here. Again, I'm willing to keep an open mind about it, but your thinking on this matter seems deeply flawed.
posted by psmealey at 4:26 AM on March 10, 2007


"re. "Oh, that's retarded". I'm happy to set aside your casual use of exclusive language in a discussion about exclusiveness. Creating a safe environment in which to surface unconscious prejudice is, after all, a theme."

Motherfucker, please. Oh, no, I just realized— that's gynocentric to use the word "motherfucker." And we're really about a safe environment for suit-and-tie insanity over gender theory, so we all have to watch what we say.
But hey, after having conversations with women who teach self-defense classes specifically focused on defending from rapists, wherein they say they're still afraid of being raped, I'm underestimating the fine females of the US Military? I assume there are no men in the military who are afraid of being shot, because their fine combat training renders them invincible killing machines. To say otherwise would be to underestimate the gender, clearly. And possibly to hate the troops. So, either every US soldier is a cast-iron killer who enjoys their trips in under-armored humvees, or they're somehow inadequate for facing combat in the modern world.
Your premise is wrong.

"re. "This is not true". From your perspective. It is true from the perspective of the victims I have counselled."

Wait, the victims you have counselled don't believe that they are able soldiers or equal to men because they couldn't fight off rapists or were afraid of rapists? Wow, you don't think that could come from, you know, the psychological trauma of being raped, do you? Frankly, you sound like a terrible counsellor. What the fuck, man?

"There are two genders and two potential truths. It is only in an unconsciously gynocentric society like ours that you could imagine that "your" truth is indistinguishable from "the" truth. (Even now, there are people reading this whos inner voice is crying you can not say that female on male rape is the same as male on female rape, in the way 50 years ago the inner voice cried of course a woman's place is in the home. Neither are true and neither believer knows they are untrue, but such is the treacherous nature of unconscious paradigms.) "

Ah, yes, it's the unconscious paradigms. We were, I suppose, educated stupid and perpetuate word-crime against the cube time?
How many men are raped by women every year in the armed forces? And those rapes are exactly the same regarding the sociological setting in which they occur, and their relation to traditional power structures? And saying that is the same as saying that women should stay in the kitchen?
That's the most virulently stupid thesis I've heard proposed in some time, Falcon. The support is that it's all unconscious gynocentric bias? Really? Got any more support for that? Because right now, you sound like a Larouchite arguing that the Republicans and Democrats are collaborating to destroy industry through the myth of global warming. Both require an unsupportable belief in a real explication method that somehow rearranges a societal consensus for the benefit of the speaker's pet issue.
Or, in shorter terms, bullshit. (If I was truly gynocentric, wouldn't I have said "Cowshit"?)
posted by klangklangston at 8:25 AM on March 10, 2007


klangklangston: As I thought, but it was necessary to give you the benefit of the doubt. Arguments from Speculation have their place in any discussion. In the event that arrangements for military training in Iraq come to resemble those at your local self defence classes I'm sure your insights will be invaluable. In the meantime, thank you for sharing your thoughts.

psmealey: I appreciate your views and your offer. Unfortunately, discussion forums don't lend themselves to alternatives to "the odd grab-bag of citations" approach. One can waste hours constructing something better only to have a straw man constructed from its weakest point and the rest discarded. But how could I refuse your generous offer to keep an open mind?

As a starter, to serve as both a point and a qualification, let me ask you to consider the following:

1) There are two possibilities that might account for inadequate citations to support the notion we live in a gynocentric society: the notion is contrived and citations are not possible, or the notion is sound and, therefore, citations are not available.

It is, of course, fallacious to assert that the absence of citations is of itself sufficient proof of gynocentric suppression. It is necessary - and some would argue sufficient - instead to cite evidence of the suppression itself. Of this, there is no shortage.

For example, Erin Pizzey describes in considerable detail her experiences in founding the UK's first shelters for women. My point here is not that, in her experience, the women who came to her were as physically violent and psychologically more violent then men. It is that she received death threats from Women's Movements (who at the time were blowing up BBC broadcasting vehicles and London landmarks in their goal of "making the personal political") for saying so (I pray the contradiction is self evident). It is also that, to this day, you cannot obtain a copy of her book in most UK libraries. I asked mine to stock it and was refused - although the shelves are richly stocked with books on womens issues, the selection committee turned my request down "for lack of funds". The library selection committee is typical of UK public service boards - politically staffed and representing a socialist agenda [1]

This is by no means some special and rare grievance. Funding was withheld and Harvard President Larry Summers almost lost his job after suggesting that there might (my italics) be biological differences between men and women. The issue is not whether his point is true or not. The point is he doesn't even get to discuss it, and that a powerful social movement is influencing the agenda of an elite academic institution.[2]

So direct suppression of evidence takes place. It also takes place indirectly - suppression by omission (which brings us, however tangentially, back to this thread and this article). Our culture both reflects and is driven by the media. Media is now driven by advertising. Advertising is driven by appeal to the preferences of those with discretionary spending power. We are experiencing the wholesale transfer of wealth from males to females, to the extent that, in the UK for example, women will own 60% of wealth by the time my sons reach university.[3] Media content is merely the delivery vehicle for advertising, and has to be compatible with it or revenues suffer. Who the hell wants to run stories (or sitcoms, or movies) that might offend advertisers or their principle subjects?

In this story, there is no reference at all to the fact that bullying and sexual harassment by females exists, or that it is so bad in general that some males actively commit suicide to escape it. You might argue that this is a story by a woman about women - but that would, in this context, be my point.

2) My second point, which I won't labour, arises from the more subtle challenge those in my position face of where the Burden of Proof lies. It arises in part through careful framing of assertions by Feminists in absolute terms (avagoyle's comment above about the categorical difference between male and female rape was not intended as a premise, but as an axiom). This manifests itself in two ways: on the one hand, there is no evidence that I could present of the suppression of mens interests, because mens interests are categorically different and inferior to those of women. On the other hand, any citation is met with an equal and opposite citation, a form of argument anyone seeking to prove (insert your issue)centricity is bound to lose (see (1)).

I would argue that the burden of proof lies with you. An argument that asserts that women still face a unique challenge in our society that demands political preference requires there to be no evidence to the contrary, let alone evidence that suggests the opposite. If I present information to you showing, for example, that six times more young men than young women choose to end their lives than live in the society we have built for them (up from two times more 25 years ago) [4], or that according to a professional polling organisation acting on behalf of a respected public broadcasting service, the majority of domestic violence is initiated by women [5], it is the fact that such evidence exists at all that challenges your defence against the charge of gynocentricity, not the relative quantity of evidence or the strawman arguments contained within it.

So if we are to trade views, here is my stall set out. I believe that there is motive, opportunity and plenty of evidence that information relating to gynocentricity is culturally suppressed, and that the issue is framed by the dominant party in a way that ensures it remains so. Of course I can't prove gynocentricity. But nor can I prove that kangaroos didn't float to Australia on rafts made from palm leaves[6]. The fact that a significant proportion of the U.S. population (including the President) believe they did doesn't make it any truer. So while I don't compare myself to Emmeline Pankhurst (!), I do compare aspects of the situation facing men in today's society to those facing women in hers. You will, I hope, recognise the unfairness of anyone who had demanded a full set of citations from Pankhurst before considering the merits of her case.
posted by falcon at 3:37 AM on March 11, 2007


"As I thought, but it was necessary to give you the benefit of the doubt. Arguments from Speculation have their place in any discussion. In the event that arrangements for military training in Iraq come to resemble those at your local self defence classes I'm sure your insights will be invaluable. In the meantime, thank you for sharing your thoughts."

Ok, so you don't have any answer to any of the arguments that I put forward, and are here saying that the training for women in the military is LESS effective than that of women's self-defense classes. Because women, as demonstrated by this article (unless you're going to argue that all the quotes have been invented, which, given your axe-grinding I wouldn't doubt), in the military are still afraid of being raped.

"It is necessary - and some would argue sufficient - instead to cite evidence of the suppression itself. Of this, there is no shortage."

Really? Why don't you have any GOOD evidence then?
Where are, say, modern academic studies that support your view that America is gynocentric?
The Minzey piece has a) only anecdotes from an obviously biased source, which exagerates real elements into an indictment of all women with nothing cited except her general "persecution" by feminists, and b) appears on a website with a clear ideological purpose. Where are the news citations for women terrorists? She alleges a conspiracy so vast that it boggles the mind, and simply appending a "socialist" slur at the end tends to show your willingness to swallow whatever crap supports your internal narrative of persecution.
Citing the Slate piece reminds me of Ann Coulter, in that both you and her place footnotes as if they support your point, even when they don't. First off, let's take that article. An opinion piece (or agenda-feature) about Larry Summers that supports him (likely because magazines like contrarians). It cites studies of women making gains to dispute the argument that women aren't equal, when the studies cited still mention pervasive bias in their abstracts. Further, it ignores other studies (feel free to skim back to the MeFi thread all about Summers and the neuroscientist debates over his statements) which show that the influence of the distribution differences in academia is not sufficient to explain the gender gap at higher levels. The plain fact is that more women apply to hard science graduate school programs and more men are accepted, even when the qualifications are equal. Putting a female name on an application, the exact same application, means that a woman is less likely to receive funding or prefered lab space. Again, it's white men complaining that they're not as privileged as they once were.
But these studies are being done, and does not support your argument that they are suppressed. Perhaps your inability to understand what supporting an argument means is part of your gender?

"Who the hell wants to run stories (or sitcoms, or movies) that might offend advertisers or their principle subjects?"

Again, this is both wrong and doesn't support your point. In order for it to have supported your point, you'd have to demonstrate not that women control most of the wealth (a specious assertion even in that BBC article), but that women are the primary consumers of media and that women are offended per se by images that reinforce cultural norms, especially when those norms are sexist. You can watch, say, when soap operas are on (where the primary advertising goal is going to be reaching women, because there are far more women in the audience) and see that a) the ads very much affirm traditional gender norms, and b) that the ads are still made by men to engage what they think women want to buy.
More likely explanation— you're feeling emasculated and need to blame the women for a shift away from retarded pandering you feel entitled to.

"My second point, which I won't labour, arises from the more subtle challenge those in my position face of where the Burden of Proof lies. It arises in part through careful framing of assertions by Feminists in absolute terms (avagoyle's comment above about the categorical difference between male and female rape was not intended as a premise, but as an axiom). This manifests itself in two ways: on the one hand, there is no evidence that I could present of the suppression of mens interests, because mens interests are categorically different and inferior to those of women. On the other hand, any citation is met with an equal and opposite citation, a form of argument anyone seeking to prove (insert your issue)centricity is bound to lose (see (1))."

This is, again, victim-mentality bullshit. The preponderance of evidence relates to a historical context in which women were seen as unequal. Grant that? If so, when arguing a counter-claim, the burden of proof lies with you, asserting that something has changed. Then you have to offer proof.
As your premise is flawed, you can't find any credible proof outside of bullshit "men's rights" websites, which are just slightly more credible than ones that claim to be about "white pride."

"I would argue that the burden of proof lies with you. "

Of course you would. You've been wrong for so long, why stop now?

"An argument that asserts that women still face a unique challenge in our society that demands political preference requires there to be no evidence to the contrary, let alone evidence that suggests the opposite."

Exactly wrong. Not only are you arguing a contradiction to prior arguments (whether women are superior or inferior, or equal, they would still face a "unique" challenge), that assertion merely requires the preponderance of evidence, and is not easily refuted by gibberings about the violence of women. But the idea that it requires that there be no evidence to the contrary is flatly idiotic. Oh, and your citation [5]? Send me to direct studies, especially ones that look like they have huge methodoligical errors (like taking self-reporting on domestic violence initiation). If all you've got are white-power "men's rights" websites compiling selective statistics, you might want to blow that out your ass.

As for your meditations of the epistemology of "gynocentrism," the reason you cannot prove it is that your premises are wrong. That's certainly a more elegant reason than some bast conspiracy, isn't it? But I'm sure you'll give me plenty of meandering, button-down anti-feminism back for that.
posted by klangklangston at 8:29 AM on March 11, 2007


- "your willingness to swallow whatever crap",
- "internal narrative of persecution",
- "your inability to understand what supporting an argument means is part of your gender",
- "you're feeling emasculated and need to blame the women for a shift away from retarded pandering you feel entitled to",
- "victim-mentality bullshit",
- "bullshit "men's rights" websites",
- "You've been wrong for so long, why stop now",
- "Exactly wrong."
- "gibberings about the violence of women"
- "you might want to blow that out your ass"
- "your premises are wrong"

Again, thank you for your thoughts. I find your style to be confrontational and unpleasant to engage with. If you can figure out a way to address that I'd be happy to address your arguments.
posted by falcon at 11:36 AM on March 11, 2007


"I find your style to be confrontational and unpleasant to engage with. If you can figure out a way to address that I'd be happy to address your arguments."

No, sorry. It's confrontational and unpleasant because you're spewing bullshit and being called on it. And that you can't separate things like "your premises are wrong" from personal attacks pretty much shores up my interpretation.
(One of those things I've learned from the internet is that there is no shortage of polite people daintily putting forth absolutely retarded conspiracy theories and other nonsense. Racists and creation "scientists" abound who take exactly the same reasoned tone, despite the absolute paucity of their evidence.)
posted by klangklangston at 12:27 PM on March 11, 2007


I have the ultimate proof the world is not gynocentric: the line-up outside the women's washroom at any public place/event.

We want our girl-urinals already. Or maybe just some more damn stalls. And with our gyno-conspiracy we will hold the world by its balls until we get them.
posted by jb at 9:16 PM on March 11, 2007


klangklangston: one more time, and then we are done.

I have made an argument, the first and most simple element of which has been: "If we lived in a gynocentric society, there would be no GOOD evidence to the contrary".

Your reply was "Really? Why don't you have any GOOD evidence then?"

I've made an argument that, in a gynocentric society, any attempt to discuss the subject of gynocentricity would be shouted down.

Your reply was "you might want to blow that out your ass".

I have made an argument that, in a gynocentric society, the dominant party would manufacture categorical differences between the sexes which reinforced their position.

Your reply was "your inability to understand what supporting an argument means is part of your gender".

I have made an argument that men do not have a monopoly on physical and emotional violence (and could make the argument that women do not have a monopoly on caring for others).

Your reply was "Retarded!"

I run the real risk of being accused of planting a stooge, the better to make my points. I can't talk for the intelligent, thoughtful Feminist position but I suggest you calm down as I can't believe they find your contribution helpful.
posted by falcon at 10:30 PM on March 11, 2007


"I have made an argument, the first and most simple element of which has been: "If we lived in a gynocentric society, there would be no GOOD evidence to the contrary".

Your reply was "Really? Why don't you have any GOOD evidence then?""

You seemed so normal and intelligent in the peak oil threads. It's a bit like finding out that someone able to discuss global warming is also a holocaust denier. Still, it happens.

Let's start with this first claim. You start out by attempting to abuse the framing; as any number of studies and surveys show, men dominate the top tiers of power. Economic, political, military, academia. Pure numbers. Grant that? If not, get the fuck off my lawn.
From that, what is more likely, that the male-dominated positions of privilege have conspired to enforce a societal empowering of women, or that self-interest would govern this set of interactions, like the vast majority of others in human experience?
So, granting that the men at the top are rational actors, we begin with a premise of an androcentric society.
That puts the burden of proof on you, sir, and requires you to provide proof. You might remember an earlier comment of mine, which went something like "Your premises are wrong."

"I've made an argument that, in a gynocentric society, any attempt to discuss the subject of gynocentricity would be shouted down.

Your reply was "you might want to blow that out your ass"."

And here again, for those scoring at home, is some congenital misrepresentation— You were arguing "facts" with weak citations from a site with a clear policy agenda. I replied that if that was the highest bar for evidence that you could come up with, you could, indeed, blow further citations out your ass. It was not a reply to your whining about being shouted down, but an exortation to produce real proof. I don't cite Stormfront to talk about Dachau, and if I did I would be rightly shouted down. While we could mince over ad hominem, I find that modern society does demand some level of media literacy as a baseline, and pretending that the men's rights citations are objective and without agenda beggers imagination.

So, we're at 2-0 me for being impolite but right.

"I have made an argument that, in a gynocentric society, the dominant party would manufacture categorical differences between the sexes which reinforced their position.

Your reply was "your inability to understand what supporting an argument means is part of your gender"."

No, you made an argument that there would be ample evidence of suppression were it happening, and then failed to support it. You know, Falcon, one of the problems with the type of medium you're attempting to argue in is that anyone who reads this can scroll upwards and immediately see if the context in which you present these quotes matches the context in which they were presented. Keeps us honest. And if you're unable to parse a sarcastic aside on gender correlating to inability to support arguments, here's a hint— I'm a guy too. OMFG, right? If "false consciousness" wasn't coopted by feminists from Marxism, you might just try to hit me with that, right?

"I have made an argument that men do not have a monopoly on physical and emotional violence (and could make the argument that women do not have a monopoly on caring for others)."

No, you made an argument that women who are trained for combat should never fear rape. Which is, and I repeat, retarded. Are you being confused by the way the page works? I'm on a Mac, and have handy little buttons that allow the to scroll back up. Perhaps you could also use the "search" function. It's on Firefox, and allows people to, assuming the quotes are accurate, search directly on the page for text strings.
I mean, intellectual honesty is hardly a hallmark of the "men's rights" movement, but you could make a token effort.

"I run the real risk of being accused of planting a stooge, the better to make my points. I can't talk for the intelligent, thoughtful Feminist position but I suggest you calm down as I can't believe they find your contribution helpful."

Well, one of the beautiful things about feminism is that it has many voices, of which I am only one. And while you may get the vapors over a vigorous refutation of your bullshit, I don't feel that I'm particularly alienating an audience here, nor do I feel that there's any real likelyhood of someone so willing to suspend credulity, so willing to misrepresent arguments, so willing to argue on behalf of an insultingly stupid thesis, coming around to my point of view. Like I said, I know plenty of creationists who wear button down shirts and gasp when I drop the f-bomb, and attempt to reroute any critique of their absolutely intellectually bereft theories into discussions of tone of voice, that I don't particularly care whether you're offended or question whether we'll ever compromise. Sometimes you just gotta cut through the florid fulminations with the simple declaration that I ain't about to eat the shit you're slappin' on my plate.

But I imagine that you'll either drop off now or weakly retort with another round of "Now you see the violence inherent in the system" and declare yourself a martyr for the truth of gynocentrism after being "shouted" down yet again. I don't particularly care, because I know that the faux-decorum is a debating tactic used to control the rhetoric, and I know that it allows the substitution of endless pedantry and fact-shuffling, which is the bedrock of the sophistries you peddle on this subject. That you feel uncomfortable is good, frankly, because that's how you're supposed to feel when you're called on being full of shit. And that's what I'm doing.
posted by klangklangston at 1:38 AM on March 12, 2007


Hey, about those three women who supposedly died of dehydration.
posted by Sticherbeast at 6:21 PM on March 12, 2007


oops. good one stitcher.
posted by winks007 at 4:42 AM on March 13, 2007


klangklangston:

re. Let's start with this first claim

To the extent that, by your own admission, your position is utterly intolerant of any creed, belief, or opinion that differs from your own, your contributions are bigoted.

As any good feminist will tell us, bigotry is independent of context (your statement that I can't reason because I'm a man remains your statement irrespective of which statement of mine it comes after). Yet your rebuttal consisted of the reconstruction of a dialogue intended to establish a context within which your bigoted views might be justifiable.

In fact there is no context which could legitimise your views. Equally, a restatement of those views by me for the purpose of clarifying your bigotry doesn't need to observe any particular sequence.

So my post used the device of a mock Platonic dialogue to have a little bit of fun with you, to efficiently expose the tone and content of your argument, and to demonstrate its conformance with the tone and content of the argument you could be predicted to make if the premise of a gynocentric society were true.

The rest of your contribution was a restatement of views I first heard my parents utter 30 years ago. I detect nothing novel or interesting enough in your restatement of them worth responding to. My interest lies in the area of enquiry beyond the comfort zone of our parents' views.

For clarity, I am uncomfortable that your offensive argot may offend others. Your arguments and style cause me no personal discomfort, and some amusement. Within the constraint of not offending others, you may choose whatever style you feel comfortable with.

re. "You seemed so normal and intelligent in the peak oil threads"

Thanks for the kind words. As it happens I came to Peak Oil from the position of trying to overturn what I regarded as "a stupidly insulting thesis", and had my beliefs reversed. For me, exploring premises without first having to accept them is one way to avoid intellectual stagnation. The world has changed beyond recognition since our parents generation established the feminist agenda and I think there is merit in testing whether it still offers any value.

So now I'm curious. In what way, in your view, is a simple reversal of feminism's concept of unconscious gender bias "a bit like" Holocaust denial?
posted by falcon at 6:15 AM on March 13, 2007


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