Normally I don’t dip my toes into the black, miry pools of politics or political correctness. Everyone has opinions on the effects of mixed gender working environments as pertains to the military, which is exactly what they are: opinions. There were a couple of remarks made though that I thought went against some fundamental military leadership truths. Truths which can’t be debated no matter your personal opinions on women in the military or the conduct of military members.
First let’s address Liz’s question: “Now, what did they expect?”
As for me, I expect Marines to conduct themselves in a manner which reflects the values under which we claim to operate. I expect them to rise to a standard of behavior far exceeding that of thugs and rapists. I expect Marines to take action and intervene in the event they see or know of such criminal acts taking place. I expect them to know right from wrong. You may recall my discussion with Dr. Berkowitz on sexual assault this summer and his response.
I don’t expect proximity to be used as a reason why service members are assaulted. If that’s the case then society can’t have integrated anything. It’s almost as if she is suggesting service members spend their days dragging their knuckles along the ground humping the air like dogs because we are too feral to know any better. Does Liz consider us mere brutes? I don’t appreciate the insinuation however she meant it.
It’s bad enough the media delights in portraying the military as mentally disturbed sociopaths itching to indulge in a multi-state killing spree at the slightest provocation. Nice to know I can add leg humping to the list of psychological issues I must have since I’m a veteran.
“You have this whole bureaucracy upon bureaucracy being built up with all kinds of levels of people to support women in the military who are now being raped too much.”
I certainly am on board with enduring less bureaucracy and have developed a distaste for so called “experts” securing their little cottage industries within the military. All I can really think to say to this: how much rape is enough?
She goes on to say she thought the mission of the military is “to defend and protect us, not the people who were fighting the war.” This flies directly in the face of every leadership principle I was ever taught. It’s like saying hospitals treat patients not doctors. Since when do we not protect one another? The most often quoted leadership principle in the Marine Corps is: Know your Marines and look out for their welfare. Though the primary goal of leadership is mission accomplishment the second is troop welfare. Seems pretty high up on the list to me.
I tend to view sexual assault as a societal issue vice a purely military one. As a nation we raise generations of young people through our media to be obsessed with sex then are shocked when there is sexual assault. I question the numbers as to sexual assault being up 64%. That doesn’t mean it’s not happening but it hasn’t happened within my sphere of influence. What the military does right is have avenues for victims to report it. Maybe that’s the reason. As far as it being endemic to the military only I don’t buy it. I’ll bet college campuses have more unreported sexual assaults than the military does.
But don’t take my word for it. I expect to take some flak as a misogynistic troll for even having an opinion on the matter. To make sure I wasn’t way off the mark I showed the article to a few lady leathernecks I know. I wanted to see what they had to say about this. For the record, I had already written out most of my thoughts on the matter before I asked any of my fellow Marines for theirs. To a woman, they all have their hate on for Liz. I’ll let them tell it like they see it in their own words:
“As a civilian I was victim to such an unfortunate event. As a female service member, I have never felt safer around men than I do now. I believe there are more rape victims in high schools and colleges, not on the front lines.”
I about laughed out loud when I read this. She and I had not discussed my thoughts on the issue so I’ll chalk up the similarity of our remarks to our shared outlook as Marines.
“I’ve felt way more vulnerable in certain situations as a civilian than I ever did in the military.”
“In the Marine Corps, as a female, I have never personally experienced or known anyone that have been victims of rape or sexual assault. The majority of the times I have heard of it happening have been in the [other services].”
Is it me, or is there a trend here? Keep in mind our perspective is mostly limited to our Marine Corps experience.
“I never feared the Marines I worked with. The idea of ever being sexually assaulted in the military only arose during safety stand downs when the ABC’s of sexual assault were burned into our brain housing groups. I only met one person while I was on active duty who was a victim of sexual assault. And it was a male. I met him in the hospital at Balboa where he went for treatment after being gang-raped by his fellow shipmates. Five of them, if I remember correctly. So I know it happens. It’s just hard for me to believe the numbers as reported in that clip. And I was often the only female in the units I was assigned to.”
All the female Marines I approached with this were also quick to remind me men get sexually assaulted too. It’s not as common, but men are not immune simply because of their gender.
“There was this one time, in Iraq, when the corpsman who rode in my truck grabbed my ass after a convoy. I was stunned. But I wound my fist back and towered over him, all up in face, and asked if he had lost his [cough!] mind. His smile quickly diminished and he kept his distance from me after that. I wasn’t going to tell anyone, but my driver saw it happen and urged me to mention to someone so we could get a new corpsman because he was pissed and didn’t want him in our vehicle after that. Neither did I. I tried to keep it hush, just doing the bare minimum in order to get a new corpsman, but when my 1stSgt heard about it she asked for all the details and then told the BN CO. He called me in and told me all the right stuff (if I had in fact felt victimized, which I didn’t, his words would have been comforting). He explained why the [corpsman] needed to be disciplined, so he wouldn’t do anything like that again, or worse. And he never came on the road with us again after that.”
“I think it’s unfortunate this [ahem!] has such a negative perception of the military. She speaks as if we’re animals lacking human minds with the ability to reason and know right from wrong.”
Let just take a moment to say it makes me sigh contentment whenever a young Marine thinks like I do. It gives me hope.
Trotta may have had a point to make; too bad it was lost in within the miasma of garbage pouring out of the hole under her nose. Her remarks only infuriated Marines I talked too.
“Had she ever been a victim of rape or sexual assault her ass would not have said that and she damn sure would have chosen her words more wisely.” You go girl.
Trotta is all kinds of wrong in her perceptions of the military. Sexual assault should be dealt with swiftly and decisively. Our military is held to a high standard of conduct and America should demand we maintain that standard. Her argument is silly. She could just as well say that when you bake a fresh batch of cookies, are you surprised when someone sneaks some cookies for themselves? My answer would be: yes, if they’re adults and I told them to keep their hands off the cookies. I expect them to follow orders and know right from wrong. Maybe that’s too simple an analogy but simple is how I operate.