My first interaction with military culture was in high school, when lots of my friends signed up for the JROTC program. It was cool to see them marching in the early mornings with the flag, dressed in their crisp tan uniforms. My young feminist self loved to see my girlfriends doing drills, out running among the athletic boys. I thought that the military had a culture of equality, and I thought that soldiers didn't go to war to necessarily protect the nationalist ideas of their cultures or countries, but to watch out for each other. (I blame Tobias Wolff for giving me this idea.)
I eventually realized that—as with most boys' clubs—this camaraderie doesn't necessarily apply to female soldiers. These women experience rape and assault, in addition to facing the shitty realities of war. So, I'm happy that a group of them—eight to be exact—has decided to take matters into their own hands and demand protection by suing the United States military.
Their lawsuit blames the military having a "high tolerance for sexual predators in their ranks"—essentially being an accessory to crimes of sexual violence against female soldiers. Ariana Klay, one of the women filing the lawsuit, states that she was raped by one of her senior officers and his civilian friend in August 2010 (and she subsequently attempted suicide). She's accusing the military of essentially covering up the assault. The Pentagon has requested for the lawsuit to be dismissed, but it may go to trial in 18 months.
Read the whole story here.
Image Credit: www.theage.com.au
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