That dawn, naked, covered in blood and feces, bleeding from her anus, she found a US soldier she did not know lying naked in the bed next to her: his gun lay on the floor beside the bed, she could not rouse him and all she could remember of the night before was screaming and screaming as the soldier anally penetrated her while a colleague who worked for defense contractor KBR held her hand--but instead of helping her, as she had hoped, he jammed his penis in her mouth. (full article)Details such as these confirm what we instinctually know is happening, behavior that we have to know is exacerbated by military engagement and by far-right ideology generally. Any system or culture that strives to destroy any traditionally "feminine" characteristic breeds violent rage against women and all who are perceived as “weaker.” And those with a core belief that life is one big power play, that it is not only a prerogative but, indeed, a responsibility, to exploit wherever possible and a duty to take responsibility for their own exploitation are bound to initiate and perpetuate, consciously or not, the type of behavior described above, both on literal and metaphoric levels.
I agree with Noam Chomsky that many of the “surprises” associated with the U.S. landscape from 9-11 forward are not surprising at all except in the demographic of the victims. Women serving in the U.S. military raped by men in serving in the U.S. military are one of those “surprises,” (maybe, to some). There is an unexpressed shock that this would happen to women engaged in a traditionally masculine role instead of only to those many disempowered Iraqi women. Well, boundaries never hold up as we expect them to, and even if a person has no empathy at all, no reason to care about those being victimized, he or she should take heed because in real life, from any historical perspective, everything comes back. Chickens come home to roost. They just do.
Here’s the personal: I’m a woman and, like most women, I’ve been raped. The rapist was a member of the U.S. Marines. I don’t believe that those two facts are coincidental, either. Cold comfort: I was not brutalized as horribly as the woman whose experience is described above.
Before you tell me that all men in the military are not rapists, just don’t. I know that good and well. But the careful conditioning of a patriarchal organization whose raison d’etre is violence can’t really help, can it?
All this shit, all of it, gets overwhelmingly upsetting to contemplate.
Additional links to accounts of the frequent rape of U.S servicewomen:
A hat tip to RBL, who posted these links and in-depth commentary.