Natalie SemanH World Lit/CompLester/Hamilton16 April 2012 Sexual Abuse in the Military: Shaping SheetIntroduction/Initial Slides: Flags of Our Fathers, We Were Soldiers Once and Young, SavingPrivate Ryan…All are presentations of the glory and honor encapsulated by the United StatesMilitary. Young people from across the nation hear of the nobility of a US Soldier, and thoseclose to the soldiers themselves hear of the comradery and brotherhood the military brings. Foryears, the military has used recruiting tactics like the most famous “We Want You” posters, and“Be strong, Army Strong” slogan of today’s generation. In 1968, women were granted the rightto enlist and serve in the armed forces. It was with great pride and a sense of accomplishmentthat the female population decided to enlist. Now, nearly half a century later, women still feelthat sense of dignity and pride for what they are signing to do. It didn’t take too much time touncover, however, that the real military experience for women was not what they originallyintended. The military is portrayed to be a place of a common cause and sense of unity bynearly every source of media, so why are they hiding the truth about sexual abuse in the armedforces?Thesis: Sexual abuse is a growing issue that should be handled seriously and with appropriateaction because it is a detriment to the integrity of the military, is a growing problem that isunder-publicized, and is affecting veterans at an alarming rate.
R? 1: Should the effects of sexual abuse of female soldiers be considered adetriment to the integrity of the U.S military?TS: The effects of sexual abuse should be considered a detriment to the U.S military.CD1: Today, four in ten military women are being sexually abused while enlisted.C: This is a real issue that the media tends to ignore. Sexual abuse trauma is even categorized asa form of PTSD, though not many women are willing to seek treatment in fear of losing theirranks. The fact that this is categorized just like any other military affliction says that the UnitedStates military views sexual abuse as another part of what may happen as part of your duties,and that this is something out of their control.C: Upwards of 200,000 women are enlisted on active duty today, that’s 15% of our armedforces. (Gerdes) The prevalence of this issue is kept so hidden that women are blindsided by thesexual atrocities they have to face when serving their countries. No one would expect to besexually abused in a place of so much prestige.CD2: By comparison, about 20% of all returning veterans from the current U.S war on Iraq willcome home with some form of PTSD. (Lu) “Sexual violence has been identified as one of themost common predictors of posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).” (Dunleavy/Slowik)C: The fact that sexual violence in the military is categorized in the same way as PTSD showsthat the attitude of military officials toward this issue is one of inevitability. Officials see thisissue as “part of the job” for female soldiers today, and the figures are getting too large tocontrol.
C: Sexual abuse is something the military can control, unlike PTSD, so there is no reason thatsignificant measures have not yet been taken to reduce this stat.CD3: In the 1991 Tailhook Association convention, more than 100 officers sexually assaultedand harrassed dozens of female soldiers but were never convicted. (Gerdes)C: When officers of the military are the ones committing these sexual crimes, it becomes clearthat sexual abuse is a large detriment to the honorable name the military has worked hard tomaintain. Officers are said to be prestigous and serving their duties to protect the country’sname, so why are they not the ones stopping this behaviour?C: Sexual abuse in the military should be handled by our government, and publicized to thepublic. Not only is the integrity of the United States military jeopardized by this, but the traitsthat define a soldier are as well.RQ2: What measures are the military officials taking to put an end to sexualabuse? Why hasn’t this issue been publicized?TS: The military has done very little to put a stop on sexual abuse, and it seems as though theissue is being covered up in the media.CD1: The Senate voted in 1996 to repeal a law banning abortions at military hospitals overseas.(Dewar)
C: People enlist in the military to serve their country, and uphold the integrity of the nationthey defend. The fact that women are raped overseas protecting a country that won’t protectthem in return is a horrifying reality. Impregnated victims of rape are helpless and without anyconsolation. If the military is going to continue to do nothing to stop this issue, abortions shouldbe provided to those who desire them.C: With women being so violated in what should be their family unit of trust and dependability,there is no consolation, not even abortion that is being offered to them. The military isbetraying their enlisted women, and there is nothing they can do to stand up for themselves.CD2: “Since then, more women have been assigned to ships, and the Navy now takes it forgranted that some 10 percent of them will be in a family way whenever they return from longcruises. Our admirals, however, are unlikely to admit this publicly, or even to acknowledge thatsex takes place at sea.” (Corry)C: With 10 percent of the women returning from their duty in the military pregnant, it becomesclear that our nation is doing very little to stop this. It is difficult and frightening enough to be awoman in the military; Michele Roscher of the Army Reserve was stationed in Iraq as one ofthree women among 130 soldiers. (Dribben, 2)C: With women being far outnumbered and often times outranked, there is little they can do todefend themselves when their attackers commit to abusing them.CD3: In February of 2011, 15 women and 2 men, both active duty and veterans, filed a class-action suit against the Pentagon The suit claimed that the military failed to properly investigate
rapes and sexual assaults. (Dribben, 2) By the anniversary of 9/11 that year, the number ofnames on the lawsuit went up by twenty.C: This shows that not only are females outraged by this spectacle, but veteran males are alsobeing scarred by the maltreatment they are forced to face in the military.C: Our nation is lucky to have as many volunteers for the military that we do. It is unjust for usto take advantage of them and force them to compromise their constitutional rights to defendus.RQ3: How does this abuse affect veterans and how is it different from rape incivilian life?TS: The effects of rape are not just horrifying on the battlefield; these victims are forced to dealwith the pain of sexual abuse even when they become veterans. Military sexual abuse is verydifferent from civilian rape because the crime is committed in an extremely volatileenvironment, generally by the people who are supposed to protect the victim.CD1: “The military itself is a microcosm of patriarchal society...If the perpetrator is in the femalesoldier’s chain-of-command, she might even be dependent on him for basic necessities.”(Hoppen, 2)C: This abuse is much like sexual trauma within a family, because a female soldier often timesdepends on her commander for support and survival. That is what makes this so different fromtypical cases of rape, and this circumstance causes for a specialized treatment mechanism.
C: As a result of these military circumstances, the victim must remain trapped in her plattoonwith the perpetrator, creating a sense of helplessness that can create unique trauma.CD2: Sexual trauma is one of the most common causes of PTSD. (Slowik/Dunleavy)C: Not only is this issue a problem on the battlefield, the victims of sexual abuse remain victimswhen they integrate into regular society. As a result of PTSD, victims find it difficult to findnormalcy again. Even in the workplace, businesses are tentative to hire a veteran who has ahistory of PTSD.C: In doing nothing, the United States military is doing so much to harm the lives of thesewomen forever. Since the debates in the early world wars about the legitimacy of PTSD as anailment or injury, the illness has been looked down upon. These victims are helpless both onand off the battlefield.CD3: Military decided to end policy for military abortions. (Slowik/Dunleavy)C: This burdens veterans with both the cruelties of war and the tragedy of dealing with anunwanted child that will always remind them of what they had to endure.C: An additional result of this is a sense of betrayal forced upon the victim because of how safeshe thought she should feel with her platoon.Conclusion: The United States military has a growing problem in its ranks. If sexual abuse is notstopped and taken seriously soon, not only will the integrity of the military be destroyed, butenlistment figures will go down as people hear about the horror of victimized veterans.