Saturday, October 4, 2008

Women at War: When the enemy is one of your own

There is a quality within the foundation of their souls. It nags at them until they surrender their own desires to live a selfish life of only looking out for themselves to becoming part of something bigger, stronger, noble. They are willing to lay down their lives for the sake of others, compelled by what is within them to fulfill the need to be of service. Some say they only want to serve so they can go to college in order to dismiss this unique characteristic within all who enter the military. Surface reason may vary but at the core is this call to serve and they answer it.

When it comes to women in the military, some will want to dismiss them, saying they should not be in the military, they are only in support roles, they are of lesser value, anything and everything enters into the minds of some of the males who have little respect for women in general. These are also the males who not only attack them, but refuse to defend them.

Sexual assaults in the military are not new and have not been in the news enough. If we are ever going to stop the rapes and abuse in the military, it will require the decent males in the military to stand up and say those who commit these acts are traitors to the service. Women warriors should not have to worry about the enemy among them. Rape is a crime and those who commit it are criminals. Having a criminal in the ranks removes the trust and unit cohesion the military prides itself on. Gone are the days when women were in safe atmospheres far from danger. Gone are the days when they did not participate with males risking their lives.

While some refuse to acknowledge the contribution women have made to the defense of this nation, they have served with courage and honor since the Revolutionary war. If you want to know more of the history of women warriors, I suggest you watch my video The Voice, Women at War and see exactly what part of history you have forgotten as proof of their answering the call to serve.

These women are part of the military family and when a family does not hold members accountable for what they do, it destroys the family. The lowlifes who choose to view females as targets of sexual attacks need to be held accountable. They need to think about what they would do if their own sister was raped and assaulted because that is exactly what these women are. They are sisters among the brotherhood of warriors. They would not let someone get away with raping their own sister.

We cannot eliminate rapes in the military until worthy men of honor begin to honor their military sisters and treat them as they would their own blood sister. These men of honor watch over the women when danger arises from the enemy just as they do anyone else in their unit but they turn deaf, dumb and blind when the danger comes from within the unit itself. Once the honorable men stand up and turn in the perpetrator traitor then they can finally say they are honoring the code.

Senior Chaplain Kathie Costos
"The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive veterans of early wars were treated and appreciated by our nation." - George Washington

This was sent from

Noonie Fortin1SG, USAR (Ret)Author and SpeakerResearcher and Consultant

OCTOBER 3, 2008
Rate of Sexual Assault in Army Prompts an Effort at Prevention
WASHINGTON -- The Army is launching a new war against an old foe: the lingering problem of sexual violence within the military.

Ellen Waignwright
Ellen Wainwright, at right, in Iraq

Last month, 80 high-ranking generals gathered at a hotel in Alexandria, Va., for a mandatory, weeklong summit devoted to combating the crime. In a Sept. 22 essay in Army Times, Army Secretary Pete Geren and Gen. George Casey, the service's chief of staff, said it was "repugnant to everything a soldier stands for" and promised a "zero tolerance" policy for harassment or assault.

The approach comes in direct response to a batch of new Pentagon data indicating that 2.6 soldiers per 1,000 reported a sexual assault last year. In the Marine Corps and Navy, it was 1.1 per 1,000; in the Air Force, 1.6 per 1,000. The Army began tracking the numbers only in 2006, and officials say they don't have enough comparable data to determine whether the problem is getting worse over time.

Army leaders hope a major change in their strategy for combating these acts of violence can bring the numbers down. The service has long focused on dealing with the aftermath of an assault. Now it will try to prevent the crime from occurring in the first place.

The centerpiece of the new effort -- known as "I AM Strong," with the I AM standing for "intervene, act, motivate" -- is a call for soldiers to confront peers who are abusing alcohol or exhibiting other possible harbingers of an assault, such as making suggestive comments. The Army also wants soldiers to alert higher-ranking personnel if their colleagues' behavior doesn't improve.

"We're trying to change the culture," said Carolyn Collins, the program manager for the Army's Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program. "We want soldiers to look for red flags and take steps to address them before they turn into something serious."

An August 2008 Government Accountability Report found that the military's efforts to combat sexual violence had been hampered by a lack of support from some senior commanders and by a shortage of qualified mental-health professionals.

The survey found that 103 service members at 14 military installations said they had been assaulted within the preceding 12 months. But only 51 of the victims reported the crime to the authorities, with the remainder worrying that coming forward would hurt their careers, according to the report.

"Most people keep quiet because they don't want to believe it happened to them or because they're scared of what will happen if they speak up," said Susan Avila-Smith, an Army veteran who runs Women Organizing Women, an advocacy group.

Ellen Wainwright, a former medic, says a higher-ranking enlisted soldier forced her into his room on a large U.S. base near Baghdad in early 2006 and raped her. Afterward, he warned her not to tell anyone. Ms. Wainwright kept quiet for two months and says he raped and sodomized her repeatedly before she finally chose to speak out.

In April 2006, she gave a sworn affidavit to agents from the Army's Criminal Investigation Command. She was sent back to the U.S. on emergency leave. A few days later, Army officials told her she was being involuntarily discharged for psychological reasons. Ms. Wainwright says it was retribution for speaking up.
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