Rape in the military

One of the signs of changing attitudes towards rape, and sexual coercion generally in Western society, where it is harder for men now to openly claim that rape is sometimes OK or to believe that sometimes coerced sex is not rape than it was before feminism exposed such claims as callous entitlement, is that Western governments do not condone systematic rape in a war zone from its soldiers or “civilian contractors”.

Of course, not condoning systematic rape is not quite the same as actively preventing or adequately punishing isolated predatory or opportunistic rape.

  1. The last remaining untried soldier in the case of the rape and murder of teenager Abeer Qassim al-Janabi and the murders of her family, is trying to avoid a speedy trial. The prosecutor is arguing against the defence’s motions:

    Huber’s motion sought to counter defense arguments about the “uniqueness” of the case. Huber wrote that “at its core, it is a rape and murder case committed overseas.”

  2. Telegraph (UK): Woman claims Halliburton-KBR rape cover-up

    A Texas woman who claims she was raped by male colleagues working for Halliburton-KBR in Iraq is suing after the US government failed to bring charges.

    Jamie Leigh Jones, 22, alleged she was attacked by several men inside Baghdad’s Green Zone two years ago and then held in a shipping container for 24 hours. Her captors then threatened her if she sought medical treatment abroad.

These cases no doubt are the tip of the iceberg. There have been claims that several US female soldiers have died from dehydration because they didn’t drink water (as recommended for the climate) in the afternoon or through the night, because they believed that the risk of sexual assault from their fellow soldiers was too high if they had to go to the latrines after dark.

There’s no reason to assume that only American soldiers and mercenaries are raping civilians and colleagues (although the US Army’s loosening of recruitment criteria in order to have sufficient troops on the ground does mean that more rapists with previous convictions are slipping through their net than in other forces). Demographically it’s almost inevitable that there are rapists in the British, Australian and other military forces occupying Iraq as well. It beggars belief that no other prosecutable rapes have occurred – so why aren’t they being properly investigated and prosecuted by the military under martial law? Or speedily passed on to civilian prosecutors, not all of whom can be so callous and incompetent as Mr Carter?

How do we push the military, in all countries, to take rape more seriously? It’s almost as if there’s an unadmitted view that the ferocious brutality of the rapist mindset is actually an asset to a soldier.

Categories: gender & feminism, law & order

Tags: , , , , ,

5 replies

  1. Those dehydration cases sickened me.
    And then there is the way that war-rape victim veterans are treated by their supposed health-care providers in the USA. Ginmar has an ongoing series Here’s her experience with a “mental health unit”. And even more disgusting – she was placed by the VA Women’s Centre in “group therapy” with a bunch of sexist men – including wife-beaters.

  2. Thanks for the links to Ginmar’s posts – I remembered them and was going to go and search for them to add in comments, but you beat me to it.

  3. Earlier this year Gary Trudeau’s “Doonesbury” introduced a great new character called Melissa, who’s an Iraq vet dealing with the sexual abuse she suffered at the hands of her superior officer. Trudeau gives her a good counsellor, very different from Ginmar’s, but I think the discussion of what she went through is still hugely valuable.
    The online archives make most of the strips available. Here’s one from after we’ve got to know Melissa and Cora a little:

  4. orlando, thanks so much for that Doonesbury link. I haven’t kept up with it lately. Will have to go into a webcomic frenzy over the hols to keep up.


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