Monday, March 07, 2005

Random stuff

I got my nose pierced here yesterday before I went to get my son from his dear 'ol dad. It hurt, but not as bad as some other things that I have inflicted upon myself (namely a c-section). My family pretty much ignored it yet my niece exclaimed, "What is that on the side of your nose!?" It was funny for about 1 second and then she was off again. It's really not that bad to care for and I expected it anyway.

It does look kinda neat though when you stroll into your sons pediatricians office with a new nose piercing, a tshirt that reads Sisterhood is Global and said son is in his pj's (it's 2:oo in the afternoon) and has such long hair that people often mistake him for a her. We now complete the look I think, ;).

Then, tonight, I got into the discussion of violence against women in the military and was told that it's rare now. It was a Naval officer that I was having this conversation with who, when I said that women aren't even given gyn services, birth control or rape kits in Iraq, he pulled the gender card on me. It was the usual line of "You can't knock hard to get in the door then complain when you're in" kind of statement. He then said that I had claimed gender didn't matter yet was trying to argue for different treatment. I then said that for the most part, gender doesn't matter, but when it comes to biological innards, women are different and so therefore need different care than the past all-male military did. If they are going to allow women into wartime situations, then I believe the military needs to provide for them as they would the men.

So I did what any good person asking a valid question would do: I googled Violence Against Women in the Military and got several hits. I came across this first, which clearly states that violence against women is rampant in the military now given the scandal at the Air Force Academy in Colorado and the 5 military men who promptly came home from combat and killed their wives or girlfriends.

Then I found this which also clearly states that violence against women in combat zones is still a pervasive problem. 37 women who have claimed sexual assault or abuse is still 37 too many for me.

Of course, then there is the issue of the effect of a military on a civilian population when said military is basically left to fend for themselves. The point I had made to said friend is that if a commanding officer takes the lead in harassing a woman, raping her, sexually assaulting her, etc., he is sending the message to his men that his behavior is okay and tolerated within the limits of their military functioning. The CO should be the example of orderiliness and composure, yet it is also known that some men, when given greater power, become greater assholes. I remember a man who once was severely pissed off at me because I refused to be intimidated by his shear size and "power." I was only 18 at the time so I didn't fully understand what it was he was trying to accomplish, but I never forgot what happened either. This man never made it above an E5 I think, which was Chief in the Navy. Later, I found out that he verbally and emotionally abused his wife and their son was beginning to call his mom things like, "Stupid bitch," etc. It was horrible and it's equally as horrible to find out that it is happening to a woman and yet there is nothing you can do about it.

This makes me wonder how said friend, who is a Naval officer, could have missed this. Perhaps he doesn't want to see it? Perhaps he doesn't fully realize it is there given that he is a man and will never know what goes on in a gyn's office and why it's so important? When I quoted some data, he told me it was outdated, yet my sources are telling me its from 2004, just like the ones I have included here.

One last source, which is kind of interesting as it seems to be the "rules" for dealing with persons that engage in domestic violence or sexual assault while in another country while employed by the Armed Forces.

It's no mistake that gender and conflict are still hot issues. I believe women should be allowed into combat but I also believe the military needs to be aware of the different ways in which gender is perceived, still, in this modern age. Not to mention that women do need different health care for their biological parts and protection if she is raped by one of her own servicemen or if they decide to take part in consenual sex. It's like what we have discussed in class: as much as we want to say everyone is the same, the perceptions of what a woman can and cannot do are still deeply imbedded into modern society and until it levels out, there are slightly more considerations a woman will need to have in order to protect herself.

And no, guns is not one of those. Which is what said friend weighed the price of birth control against; that the need for guns is greater than than the need for birth control and that in a wartime situation, people should be abstaining from sex. A very true and forthright thought, yet if we can't even get our teenagers to abstain from having sex, and that's just in middle and high schools, how will we get adults to do it? I told him that it was a flawed and unrealitic theory and he disagreed. So we are each entitled to our own opinions to say the least.

And now I need sleep desperately as my eyes and head are beginning to ache. I know someone has something to say about this, so chime in with your $.02 already.