Saturday, May 07, 2005

If it ain't baroque, don fix it

It seems that the military is still under the impression that women serving in key roles is not that much of a problem. We are now allowed in combat zones, just not on the "front lines."

A new report has surfaced stating that accusations of sexual assault and sexual harassment in the military have increased by at least half. While I feel that I have been saturated with such goings on, it appears that the military keeps learning this all over again every year. You know, that "Oh, wow, women are discriminated against in the military? Still? Are you sure?" attitude.

As many of us know, nothing was truly resolved at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs despite the reports of over 200 women who went on record to say that at some point while there, they were raped, sexually assulted or harassed. I get so frustrated and angry because it seems that we're not beling listened to by anyone that matters. Not even our own president thinks our rights and protections are equal to his own.

In the WashPo article, it states there were 1,700 reported cases in 2004 yet only 3-4% of those result in any sort of judicial punishment by the military. That's a sad sad number. A classmate of mine was in the military for 2 years. I'm not sure why she was released early, but she told me of the deeply rooted misogynist attitudes she experienced while there and even had to sign a paper upon her release that said she did not experience any gender discrimination while serving. Obviously, if you are making someone sign a statement that says there was no gender discrimination, it must exist and should be addressed. Not ignored.

An interesting question: How come I can google "violence against women in the military" and get 7,660,000 hits yet the military can't seem to find their own reports?

I even found this nifty one page fact sheet that says:

Evidence shows that violence against women is a pervasive problem within the military, just as it is among civilians. However, women in the military are particularly vulnerable to abuse due to geographical isolation from family and friends, and the potential for social isolation within the military culture.

One woulda thunk the military would have started becoming more female friendly by now. They have begun to adopt new polities that try to remove barriers to victims reporting the abuse...I just don't think they follow through with it very well on the individual level as women report being afraid of their lack of privacy and being held responsible for such things as drinking too much or "leading a guy on."

It is no surprise that the military breeds violent human beings. They teach soldiers to kill, kill, kill without regard to the human life they are aiming for. And because "being girly" is a bad thing, especially when going through bootcamp, it enables women to be seen as bad as well. This is a correlation that many still do not see nor understand.

Which is why I was upset to learn that prisoners in an Arizona prison are dressed all in pink but still wear the standard orange jumper. I believe this equates prisoners to being "girly," therefore being a girl must be bad.

And let us not forget Schwartenager's accusation that the Democrat's in Northern California were "girlie men."

My sister is dating a former Army Ranger and this worries me. Just this morning he was getting a thrill off hitting her on the upper thigh with a piece of the bleachers he had broken off. The second time I told him to please not do that in front of me. And it pissed him off that I would demand such a thing as that.

I have days like today where I feel violence against women permeates our news and culture, yet people are too busy blaming the women that they often don't realize it's the societal pressures that place us in these positions. No one individual can be blamed but the institution of patriacrchy can and all those who strive to uphold its oppressive restraints.