By Kari O Driscoll
I may be just one more voice in the wind when it comes to this issue but I just can t stay quiet in the face of so much rhetoric about rape culture. I want to add my energy and words to the current outcry about the pervasive problem of sexual assault in the military in a way that speaks to the root of the issue. Our society is a violent one and unless we can be honest about the way in which that violence affects every one of us and the myriad ways in which it manifests itself (gang violence, mass shootings, rape, assault), we can only chip away at the surface in anger and frustration instead of having an authentic conversation about how to deal with the effects.
The military is but a microcosm of American society and its culture of violence and rigid pecking order has a great deal to do with the prevalence of rape within its ranks.
Let me just say this: RAPE IS NOT ABOUT SEX. RAPE IS ABOUT POWER AND CONTROL AND VIOLENCE.
In early May, Air Force General Mark Welsh testified in front of the United States Senate with regard to the alarming number of sexual assaults in the military. He explained it by saying, Some of it is the hookup mentality of junior high even and high school students now, which my children can tell you about from watching their friends and being frustrated by it
His implication that non-consensual sexual activity occurs as a direct result of young people assuming that they can have multiple sexual partners and/or casual sexual encounters without consequences is a dangerous one.
There may indeed be a degree of promiscuity present in the military, but it has nothing to do with rape.
Rape is no more about sex than vacationing in Paris is about the Boeing 767 you took to get there. Sexual trauma is one method, one vehicle used to inflict pain and humiliation on someone. It is the mode of violence in this case, the way that the perpetrator achieves power and control.
Shaming another human being is a great way to keep them quiet.
Among the voices rising in outrage at Gen. Welsh s remarks was Nancy Parrish of Protect our Defenders. Although I admire her work and her passion, part of her statement rebutting Gen.Welsh s hookup remark struck me as misguided:
General Welsh should know that the solution lies in reform of the military justice system and culture of misogyny, victim blaming and failure to prosecute perpetrators.
I disagree that it is the culture of misogyny that is directly responsible for rape culture within the military.
If that were true, men would not be getting raped in the military. But they are, and all accounts point to the fact that they are getting raped at the same or higher rate as their female counterparts.
This week, Senator Chambliss (R.-Ga.) displayed his lack of understanding of the core issue by saying that the hormone level created by nature sets in place the possibility for these types of things rape and sexual assault to occur.
If rape were about sex, men would not be violating other men sexually with foreign objects like broomstick handles. If the overly hormonal perpetrator was simply seeking sexual satisfaction, they would likely (openly or not) self-identify as either homosexual or bisexual.
These attacks would not be as violent as they are, nor would they be perpetrated by multiple individuals against one other, if rape were about sex. These attacks are about control, power, and humiliation, plain and simple, not misogyny or testosterone-gone-wild.
If rape were about sex, it would be useless as a war tactic. Are we to assume that bands of rebel soldiers invading a small African village with intent to rape the women are simply horny?
That a group of boys who stalk and gang-rape a young girl are experiencing synchronized arousal? It is difficult to separate violence from sex in cases of rape, but that doesn t give us license to disregard it as the root cause. It is far more difficult to talk about sexual assault than it is to talk about stabbings or beatings, but a victim with a gunshot wound is no more at fault or inherently shameful than a rape victim is.
Passing off rape as the result of hookup mentality or hormones belittles the brutality and misinterprets the intent of such attacks.
Until we as a country, a culture, and a society acknowledge that rape has nothing to do with sex and everything to do with violence, we cannot hope to prevent sexual assault. Labeling sexual assault more sex than assault is a perilous way of distancing ourselves from an honest discussion about the violence inherent in military culture, where power and control are fundamental objectives.
Kari O Driscoll is a writer with a background in medical ethics and quality assurance. She writes about social justice, women s issues and parenting for the BlogHer Publishing Network at the-writing-life.blogspot.com1.
Her work has appeared in Buddha Chick Life magazine and anthologies about women s issues and she will soon publish a book on reproductive rights.
She is active with the Women s Funding Alliance and committed to helping girls and women use their unique perspectives to make the world a better place.
- ^ the-writing-life.blogspot.com (thefeministwire.com)
- ^ Control (thefeministwire.com)
- ^ Military (thefeministwire.com)
- ^ Politics (thefeministwire.com)
- ^ Power (thefeministwire.com)
- ^ rape (thefeministwire.com)
- ^ rape culture (thefeministwire.com)
- ^ sexual assault (thefeministwire.com)
- ^ sexual violence (thefeministwire.com)
- ^ U.S. (thefeministwire.com)
- ^ Violence (thefeministwire.com)
Just wanting peoples thoughts on dating someone with a mental illness such as PTSD, would it be a turn off to most men or are their people who are accepting of such illnesses?
What sort of cunts do you like. . How do you like your cunts?
My favourite type of cunt is a person who reports another member for being too fucking smart..
My other favourite type of cunt is a person who deletes someones account for no reason… . well for very little reason. .
I can think of 100 more reasons to delete the accounts of some other loonies on here…
Should I stay in my room and wank all day to nice tasting innies – or catch a ride with my boss to the next town for lunch and go karting?
The admins deleted my account – probably the usual suspects reporting me, I would expect nothing less.
But does the admin actually read before deleting someones content, let alone deleting their account?
I am a genius with the keyboard and to be insulted in such a way gets me miffed as a mother fucker.
I am the dopest rapper that ever logged on here .
I am a philosopher, a poet, a comedian, a counselor, and so much more.
(One sec, need to get over myself a little………………………. .
Okay back to it..)
So just get fucked admin.
A military judge presiding over the Court Martial of two members of the United States Navy on charges related to the hot-button issue of sexual assault has ruled that recent statements by President Obama and others in the chain of command constituted undue influence over the proceedings:1
Two defendants in military sexual assault cases cannot be punitively discharged, if found guilty, because of unlawful command influence derived from comments made by President Barack Obama, a judge ruled in a Hawaii military court this week.
Navy Judge Cmdr. Marcus Fulton ruled during pretrial hearings in two sexual assault cases U.S. vs.
Johnson and U.S. vs. Fuentes that comments made by Obama as commander in chief would unduly influence any potential sentencing, according to a court documents obtained by Stars and Stripes.
On Wednesday and Thursday, Fulton approved the pretrial defense motions, which used as evidence comments that Obama made about sexual assault at a May 7 news conference.
The judge s pretrial ruling means that if either defendant is found guilty, whether by a jury or a military judge, they cannot receive a bad conduct discharge or a dishonorable discharge.
Sailors found guilty under the Uniform Code of Military Justice s Article 120, which covers several sexual crimes including assault and rape, generally receive punitive discharges.
A member of the public would not hear the President s statement to be a simple admonition to hold members accountable, Fulton stated. A member of the public would draw the connection between the dishonorable discharge required by the President and a punitive discharge approved by the convening authority.
The strain on the system created by asking a convening authority to disregard Obama’s statement in this environment would be too much to sustain public confidence.
The ruling sets the stage for defense attorneys to use the same arguments in sexual assault cases throughout the military.
Should other judges accept the same line of reasoning, commands would have to consider issuing lesser administrative discharges to servicemembers found guilty of sexual assault. In some cases, this could allow servicemembers found guilty of sex crimes to retain veterans benefits, according to Defense Department regulations.
I think that as a defense attorney, I would raise this argument in virtually any sexual assault case I had, said Victor Hansen, vice president of the National Institute of Military Justice and former instructor at the Army s JAG school.
To be fair, the Judge in this case also abased his ruling on comments made by a number of high-ranking military officials including the Secretary of Defense, the Chief of Naval Operations, and several others below them in the chain in command but still well above the level of the men facing trial in Hawaii.
It s also worth noting that none of these comments addressed the facts at issue in these cases or the allegations against these two individual defendants. While the comments of Secretary Hagel and others are mentioned in the ruling, though, it seems clear that the President s comments were a substantial part of Judge s ruling here. Those comments, you may recall, were made at a press appearance on May 7th during the height of the latest revelations about the sexual assault problem in the military:2
President Barack Obama said Tuesday that he has no tolerance for sexual assault in the military, comments made in the wake of a new Pentagon report showing3 the instances of such crimes have spiked since 2010.
The president said he had spoken today with Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to urge him to exponentially step up efforts to identify suspects in assaults, and aggressively prosecute those cases.
The bottom line is: I have no tolerance for this, Obama said at a press conference following his meeting with South Korean President Park Geun-hye.
I expect consequences, Obama added.
So I don t just want more speeches or awareness programs or training, but ultimately folks look the other way. If we find out somebody s engaging in this, they ve got to be held accountable prosecuted, stripped of their positions, court martialed, fired, dishonorably discharged. Period.
For those who are in uniform who ve experience sexual assault, I want them to hear directly from their commander in chief that I ve got their backs, the president said.
I will support them. And we re not going to tolerate this stuff, and there will be accountability.
What constitutes undue command influence is, at least in part, established by Article 37 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice:4
(a) No authority convening a general, special, or summary court-martial, nor any other commanding officer, may censure, reprimand, or admonish the court or any member, military judge, or counsel thereof, with respect to the findings or sentence adjudged by the court, or with respect to any other exercises of its or his functions in the conduct of the proceedings. No person subject to this chapter may attempt to coerce or, by any unauthorized means, influence the action of a court-martial or any other military tribunal or any member thereof, in reaching the findings or sentence in any case, or the action of any convening, approving, or reviewing authority with respect to his judicial acts.
The foregoing provisions of the subsection shall not apply with respect to (1) general instructional or informational courses in military justice if such courses are designed solely for the purpose of instructing members of a command in the substantive and procedural aspects of courts-martial, or (2) to statements and instructions given in open court by the military judge, president of a special court-martial, or counsel.
The operative question here is whether the comments by President Obama and others in the chain of command, which based on how they are set forth in the opinion seem to be little more than generalized statements about the need for increased vigilance against sexual assault in the military constitute an attempt to coerce or, by any unauthorized means, influence the action of a court-martial or any other military tribunal or any member thereof, in reaching the findings or sentence in any case, or the action of any convening, approving, or reviewing authority with respect to his judicial acts. In his ruling, the presiding Judge found that there was sufficient reason to believe that the President s insistence that members of the military who have engaged in sexual assault should be prosecuted, stripped of their positions, court martialed, fired, dishonorably discharged constituted at least potential undue influence over the sentencing phase of the hearing in the case before him. Consequently, he ruled that if the Defendant is convicted, the military jury would not be able to impose a dishonorable discharge or similar punishing upon him.
As noted above, this would potentially mean that the Defendant would remain fully eligible for all veterans benefits despite having been convicted of a crime while in the military.
I don t have the expertise in military criminal law to comment on the Judge s decision here, however the immediate consequences of his ruling. Defense attorneys representing members of the military facing similar charges will without a doubt file similar motions in the cases they are involved in, and we re likely to get contradictory rulings on the matter from the presiding Judges in each of those cases. Additionally, the ruling in these cases will likely end up being appealed, likely before the trial actually starts.
As for the President s statement itself, I can t help but think that the Judge got it wrong here. On it s face, what the President said struck me as a general, benign, statement regarding future policy and the message that the Commander in Chief wishes the military to take the issue of sexual assault far more seriously than it has been. Is that undue command influence?
As I said, I m not an expert in this area so I ll leave that to others, but it does feel to me like the Judge went a little over the top here. I suppose we can be grateful that he didn t dismiss the cases completely.
On a general level, though, this case does point out the importance of the White House in general, and the President specifically, not getting involved in criminal investigations and prosecutions that occur under his watch, whether in the civilian or military spheres. Recently, for example, the White House has been criticized for not commenting directly on the Justice Department s investigation of leaks that includes pursuing information from journalists using subpoenas and search warrants.
There has also been a lot of criticism directed at the White House from the right for it failure to officially designating the November 2009 Ford Hood massacre as a terrorist act, and that Major Nidal Hasan continues to receive his military pay while awaiting trial on those charges. In both cases, the White House has pointedly refused to comment on the cases at hand, and that was entirely the appropriate reaction. Specific comments from the President regarding guilt or innocence of a Defendant would be highly inappropriate and would likely result in defense attorneys moving for mistrials at any criminal proceeding.
The comments the President made here, of course, were not about a specific case, but this ruling is a pretty good reminder of what could happen if Presidents started bending to the demands of reporters or political opponents that they make comment on such matters.
Here is a copy of the Judge s opinion:
- ^ recent statements by President Obama and others in the chain of command constituted undue influence over the proceedings: (www.stripes.com)
- ^ during the height of the latest revelations about the sexual assault problem in the military: (nbcpolitics.nbcnews.com)
- ^ Pentagon report showing (usnews.nbcnews.com)
- ^ Article 37 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice: (www.au.af.mil)
- ^ ^ View dmataconis’s profile on Scribd (www.scribd.com)
And the Japanese have started a new one!
Previous Blog homeEyeball-licking: the fetish that is making Japanese teenagers sickThe popularity of the bizarre practice, sometimes called ‘worming’, has been blamed for a rise in cases of conjunctivitis . And it freaks us out just to think about itShare 1061 inShare1Email
Eyeball-licking: not for the squeamish . Photograph: AlamyWarning: don’t read this if you’re eating, prone to sudden bouts of queasiness or unable to even think about Un Chien Andalou without simultaneously bursting into tears and dry-heaving . Believe me, I’m speaking from experience here.
Because this is an article about oculolinctus, an eye-licking fetish that is currently sweeping across the schools of Japan like, well, like a great big dirty bacteria-coated tongue sweeping across a horrific number of adolescent eyeballs. Sometimes known as “worming” which somehow makes this whole thing worse oculolinctus is being blamed for a significant rise in Japanese cases of conjunctivitis and eye-chlamydia, which is actually a thing . It’s apparently seen as a new second-base; the thing you graduate to when kissing gets boring.
The craze is thought to stem from a music video by Japanese emo band Born (there’s a chance that the eyeball-licking scene was only included to distract everyone from the fact that the song sounds like it belongs on a menu screen for an EA Sports game about snowboarding from a decade ago, but at this point that’s just speculation). Tumblr, inevitably, is filling up with drawings and unnecessarily close-up photographs of the act, and YouTube is no stranger either . One theory about why it has taken off so spectacularly is down to the sheer number of nerve endings in the cornea .
The eyeballs are incredibly sensitive because they need to detect grit and other small particles, and the sensation of oculolinctus is supposedly akin to that of toesucking. Unwilling to try it myself because my tongue isn’t long enough, I don’t want eye-chlamydia and just writing about this has made me retch uncontrollably I can’t tell you firsthand if that’s true . Luckily, one student from the US Virgin Islands with an oculolinctus fetish has explained: “My boyfriend started licking my eyeballs years ago and I just loved it .
I’m not with him any more but I still like to ask guys to lick my eyeballs .. . it turns me on.” However, the dangers of oculolinctus are very real .
As well as spreading pink-eye like nobody’s business, there’s also a risk of corneal scratching, which can lead to ulcers and blindness . Plus, there’s a strong chance that you’ll have to go to school the next day in an eye patch . At least with lovebites you could just throw on a poloneck jumper and be done with it.
Hopefully oculolinctus won’t catch on here and will remain one of those peculiarly Japanese fads such as bagelheading (injecting saline into your forehead until it swells out of all proportion, yaeba (undergoing dental surgery to give you crooked teeth) and shippo (wearing a neurologically controlled tail that reveals your moods) .
Because frankly, if oculolinctus does ever make it to these shores, I’m never going to be able to look at a lychee again.