Military Rape: Assailants Promoted or Wrist-Slapped. Why?
Captain Jennifer Machmer was discharged from the army for being raped. But her rapist got promoted.
No wonder sexual assault is rampant in the armed services. As Nancy Gibbs of Time described the risk:
What does it tell us that female soldiers deployed overseas stop drinking water
after 7 p.m. to reduce the odds of being raped if they have to use the bathroom
at night? Or that a soldier who was assaulted when she went out for a cigarette
was afraid to report it for fear she would be demoted — for having gone out without
Representative Jane Harman reports, “A female soldier in Iraq is more likely to be raped by a fellow soldier than killed by enemy fire.”
One woman expressed the dilemma, “I’m willing to give my life for this guy next to me but how do I know that he’s not going to hurt me?”
Military women who serve our country are more likely to be sexually assaulted than the average American woman. Twice as likely, in fact.
The Pentagon refuses to release documents that could shed light on the problem. (The ACLU and others have filed suit to access these records.)
Why is the rate of sexual assault so high? And why does the military keep mum?
Surprisingly, social psychologist Elliot Aronson sees nonconformity at the root: Women can’t conform to being male.
Why is that a problem?
A little thing called gender ranking is rampant in our culture. That is to say, we rank males as having higher value than females. (That’s why men constantly have to prove their manhood – showing they deserve that exalted status.) Fields that strongly associate with manhood put gender ranking on steroids, as when firefighters plastered a firehouse with spread-eagled centerfolds to harass a female hire.
When Shannon Faulkner braved the Citadel as its first female cadet she was harassed and ostracized for threatening soldierly manhood. So were the women who followed her.
Trying to conform, one military woman explained her strategy of rape avoidance, “You figure out how to turn the guy off, and become one of the guys,” she said. “That’s your safety mechanism.”
Unfortunately it didn’t work. She couldn’t manage to be male enough, and her squad leader attempted sexual assault. Another soldier raped her.
The Pentagon believes 80% to 90% of sexual assaults are not reported. Most victims feel nothing will be done, and more than half worry about being labeled troublemakers – more nonconformity!
Why is the rate of rape so high?
It appears that military culture resents women’s presence and lets boys be boys in order to punish women soldiers.
Source: Elliot Aronson, et. al. Social Psychology, 5th ed. Prentice Hall. 2005
Posted on December 15, 2010, in feminism, gender, psychology, sexism, violence against women, women and tagged discharged for being raped, female soldiers raped, feminism, gender, military culture, military rapists, promote, punish, rape and sexual assault, sexism, sexual assault, violence against women, women. Bookmark the permalink. 7 Comments.