Saturday, March 15, 2008

Divide and Conquer: Gender and Sexuality in the Military

9:00am - 10:30am:
Margaret Stevens: Military recruiter's relationships with very young women they recruit is often that young woman's first sexual experience.

Jeff Key starred in Semper Fi
is a queer man with outstanding service in the Marines who addressed "don't ask don't tell" and his opposition to the war in Iraq by going on CNN and came out in front of five million people and subsequently getting thrown out of the military. He acknowledged the love and support of members of his unit.
Jeff addressed the relationship between gender differences and the idea that showing your emotions and being able to shed a tear is somehow "feminine" or "Gay". The way we dehumanize men is to say they are like women. At the center of homophobia is misogyny and at the center of the abuses of war is hatred and contempt for women and the way they behave.

Patty McCann was an army small equipment operator. SHe finds it Hard to be a woman veteran because the emphasis on being a woman prevents you from experiencing it as a soldier.

The first victim of of a racist, sexist occupation in the occupying soldier.

McCann saw femininity used as a symbol of evil when describing the "dresses" or robes of Iraqis, the Burkas of women, etc. In her unit rank structure was used to coerce women into sexual relationships. The emphasis was protecting the officers and ncos careers rather than protecting the young women.

Patty read a policy describng how SAD (rape) kits are not covered by tricare. That is how the military takes care of rape victims. One in 200 front line recruiters have been accused of sexual assault.
I thought the military was supposed to protect us.

Marine corp subculture - "You are only a man if you have abused a woman" Young men who join the marines are often trained by abusers of women. Witnessed Marines and French legionnaires taking advantage of the young girls daily. Young girls from poverty stricken come to Djibouti and end up engaging in prostitution because there is no othe chice for them.

Wendy Combat medic - when deployed - worked in the operating room and was harassed on a daily basis. It is extremely difficult to do your job proficiently when you are constantly being harassed. She never reported it because she did not believe that the command would do anything about it and hte difference in rank between her and her harasser (a doctor) was so great. She joined to serve her country and be patriotic and the last thing she expected was to be harassed by her own comrades n that way.

10:05: Nathan Peld - Nuclear technician who helped to build nuclear facilities on the JFK. He witnessed a man expose himself to her at work. She reported it and it went up the chain of command. The commander tried to cover it up to protect the officer who was nearing retirement. Although the sex offender was court martialed, the commander was only reprimanded becaue the Navy saw him as protecting the work place (for men).

Abby Hiser - http://stopmilitaryrape.org/about_us works with (correction here - the organization was started by another rape victim) an organization to address the issue of rape in the military. In 2006 they helped over 12,000 members of the military that have been raped. Her organization has started to work with Congress to change the way the military deals with rape. If, as often happens, no charges are filed the VA does not offer healthcare for those who are raped int he military.

4 comments:

Patty said...

It is not Abby Hiser who started stopmilitaryrape.com, it is the person who submitted the anonymous testimony read by Tanya Austin. Thanks!

-Patty McCann

kottoneyejoe said...
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kottoneyejoe said...
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Joe said...

Nathen Peld didn't build nuclear reactors on any ship. He served on the Ronald Regan, not the JFK, and the man who exposed himself was convicted at mast and separated from navy service.