Baby close your eyes until tomorrow It could bring joy it could bring sorrow But it will come sure as light Try not to dream a dream tonight Imagine that you’re standing here And suddenly you disappear A thread cut with a carving knife That is what they call our life
You have no idea how happy it makes me just to know that Lali Puna were not only in the studio, but they also completed an album and it’s ready to be consumed by the masses. This pretty much made my day. It sounds pretty familiar, within the group’s MO, but I’m okay with that because I hold Lali Puna in a special place in my heart.
In 2003, a survey of female veterans found that 30 percent said they were raped in the military. A 2004 study of veterans who were seeking help for post-traumatic stress disorder found that 71 percent of the women said they were sexually assaulted or raped while serving. And a 1995 study of female veterans of the Gulf and earlier wars, found that 90 percent had been sexually harassed.
Another study concluded that 90% of all women serving are sexually harassed. Another one estimates that 90% of all the rapes do not get reported, despite supposedly easier ways to report the crime with confidentiality since 2005. Either way, this appears to be an epidemic that needs to be dealt with.
An online discussion from a former soldier whose identity is being protected had this to say, “At least a rape ends. It’s the day-to-day degradation that eats at you. None of my friends who were raped on active duty reported it. Or if we tried, we were told to shut up for ‘morale.’ Working with your rapist on a daily basis isn’t a lot of fun, believe me.”
How the military is dealing with this appears to demonstrate a pattern of sweeping it under the rug. In 2008, 62% of those that were convicted of sexual assault or rape received very lenient punishments such as demotion, suspension, or a written reprimand.
Before I really start, I just want to say that I’m sure there’s a not small number of women who serve in armed forces who do so proudly, with honor and vigor, and all those good things that the military supposedly values and promotes. I’m sure some of them are quite happy.
I respect the people who serve, I respect the idea of the military, but I do have a slight bias. Part of it is that I’m sure that all of those women I listed above probably have had to face tremendous amounts of sexism on a quite probably daily basis. This is, of course, not isolate solely to the military. This is probably everywhere in society, sadly.
That said, I work in a job where I have frequent access to military folks, especially younger men and women, 18 to 25, who have joined up. A few of them, men and women, enjoy what they do, enjoy the value of their jobs, enjoy working with the people they work with, and are quite pleased with their decision to join.
But then I’ve also heard a lot of horror stories, primarily from women. Women are live “on post,” or “on base,” who have been in boot camps or in isolated training centers. Sexism? It’s happened to some of them as many times or more as the sun has come up following the night. Sexual harassment? Oodles. Situations that have occurred that came way too close, shockingly too close to what could be qualified as “rape?” Far, far too often.
What scares me the most when hearing these stories from these young women isn’t just that they happened, but that the male in the situation, the instigator of these crimes to be, think their behavior is cute or funny or charming. The woman who’s offended or scared? Portrayed as “uptight” or “some bitch.” Remember the past few days where there was the stuff going around tumblr about how any situation that was ultimately considered rape was entirely the fault of the rapist and not the victim/intended victim? Could not be more true. Except, too often, when you get into these military situations. The phrases “maybe she was asking for it” and “Well, what did she expect?” are thrown around too casually, and treated as if that strain of logic is okay. In fact, that’s the bigger crime to me, not one attacker who thinks that what they did was okay, but a whole culture whose entire mindset was that it’s okay. To clarify: It is not.
And I hear these stories that have happened not far from where I work, here in the heart of what is America. This isn’t in Iraq or Afghanistan. These aren’t “extreme” locales. This is Anytown, USA, and it’s a matter of people who don’t understand right and wrong, don’t realize when their personal idea of what’s right completely infringes upon or violates someone else’s wrong.
All that stuff on tumblr about Starbucks and the young woman who were raped by older superiors? And how Starbucks made things harder on the women who came forward and then promoted the older superiors in that case? In my experience, that same thing tends to happen in the military as well. It’s shocking that both organizations tend to have the same business practices as the Vatican in that regard.
And I want to make clear that I’m not talking shit about the military or anyone who is in it being all they can be. In fact, if you are, thank you so much for what you do. Your bravery and courage should be acknowledged and rewarded. I’ve heard plenty of good stories in my job about happy incidents that have occurred in the lives of people with careers in the military, and I’ve heard lots of stories, primarily of the sexual abuse nature as well. More so of the negative ones. And those are the ones that tend to stick with me, sadly. I hear them and then I hear someone tell me, “Oh, but it’s okay. It’s no big deal.” And that’s terrifying.