Battleland

The Roots of Sexual Abuse in the Military

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U.S. President Barack Obama met with Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. U.S. Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond Odienaro, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Mark Welsh and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey at the White House in Washington D.C., on May 16, 2013.

Even before the Army confirmed a third military sexual-assault preventer had been implicated in sexual harassment in the past two weeks late Thursday – the charges ranged from sexual battery, to pandering, to stalking an ex-wife – the Army’s top general, and the commander-in chief, said they’ve had enough.

Late Thursday, the Army said Lieut. Colonel Darin Haas, chief of the Sexual Harassment and Assault Response Prevention/Equal Opportunity program manager at Fort Campbell, Ky., has been booted from that post following a dispute with his ex-wife. Local police arrested Haas Wednesday night and charged him with stalking her and sending threatening emails in violation of a court-issued protective order.

Sexual assault in the ranks “is going to make — and has made — the military less effective than it can be,” President Obama said at a meeting of the nation’s military leaders to focus on the issue. “It is dangerous to our national security.”

Only hours earlier, General Ray Odierno, the Army chief of staff, fired a volley at his troops on the subject. “The Army is failing in its efforts to combat sexual assault and sexual harassment,” Odierno said in a written message. “It is up to every one of us, civilian and Soldier, general officer to private, to solve this problem within our ranks.”

The Pentagon is scrambling to try to turn the situation around, but there is a growing sense in the building that the series of scandals is beyond the military’s control. Defense officials desperately want the string of bad news to stop, but – like IEDs in Afghanistan – the chance of the next one blowing up is equal parts action and wishful thinking.

Like the military’s ongoing challenge of suicide in the ranks, there is no single fix. There’s synergy at work here, defense officials suggest privately, and Obama agreed. “There is no silver bullet to solving this problem,” the President said Thursday. “This is going to require a sustained effort over a long period of time.”

Nothing excuses sexual abuse, of course, but several things may help to explain it, U.S. military officers and veterans suggest:

– After a decade of combat, and the latest round of austerity imposed by sequester-mandated budget cuts, the troops are frayed. Nerves are on edge, drinking is exacerbating the problem, and peacetime cushions are shot.

“I tasked those around me to help me understand what a decade-plus of conflict may have done to the force,” Army General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, said Tuesday of the wars’ impact on sexual assault in the ranks. “Instinctively, I knew it had to have some effect.”

– Women are currently about 14% of the active-duty, and have been at that level for years. Their presence takes jobs – and promotions – away from some of their male colleagues. Like gravity, that exerts a subtle influence on those who feel they may have been passed over, or fear they maybe – or have a buddy who feels that way. Differences in rank can compound the problem, as senior males used to issuing orders flex that command authority and take advantage of their power in their illicit dealings with female subordinates.

– While women in uniform who have been abused remain leery of reporting it, that reticence is shrinking. That’s happening, in part, as women gain clout in Congress. They currently occupy 78 of the House’s 435 seats, and 20 of the 100 Senate seats.

While still a distinct minority, women on Capitol Hill have reached a breaking-through point where there are enough of them so that they no longer will be cowed into silence by their male colleagues – or the men in uniform who regularly troop before them to testify on military matters.

“It’s a very broad-based problem, and it’s not a new problem,” said Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., a member of the armed services committee who has been pushing to prosecute alleged military sexual assaulters outside their chain of command. Women are afraid, Gillibrand said, to come forward and report when they have been assaulted. “If we can begin to create accountability and transparency in the system where victims see that justice is possible, you’ll have greater reporting,” she told CBS. “When you have greater reporting, it means you’ll have more investigations, more trials and more convictions. And so as they see justice being done, I think things will change.”

– The kings of the military are those who wage war. Every other branch – logistics, legal, medical, public affairs, human resources — is a supporting player.

Generally, those tapped by the military services to combat the scourge of sexual harassment are runners-up in the competition for battlefield command, or never were in the running. They are good, and performing valuable work, but they are not the military’s fast-burners. “For years, the services have been dumping non-performers into EO [Equal Opportunity] and sexual harassment billets,” Tom Ricks says over at Best Defense. “In other words, they weren’t taking this stuff that seriously.”

The troops know it, and respond accordingly.

Obama and Odierno said Thursday that the problem has become so pervasive and corrosive that consigning it to also-rans is no longer acceptable.

Obama said curbing sexual assault in the ranks will require “putting our best people on this challenge.” Odierno said “it is time we take on the fight against sexual assault and sexual harassment as our primary mission.”

If that happens, it will represent a profound change. It means the military’s “primary mission” will no longer be preparing to wage, and win, the nation’s wars.

82 comments
johnnyangel10
johnnyangel10

Let's see if I have this right. Time and those of the liberal mind push for these policy changes with the grunt of enabling women. Now we all know what happens when you mix boys and girls in tight places. So...it was bound to happen,even the nuttiest libtard can figure that out. Time now acts amazed that these misfit stories are happening,ignorant to logic. Just wait until you have gay soldiers shot by their fellow soldiers and then Time will ask WHY?

pahaysaz
pahaysaz

Well over half of the sexual assaults committed in the military today are committed against men. Think. Talk.

Micomagic
Micomagic

Read Mary Coeli Meyer, Ph.D., "Sexual Harassment" book.  She explains very well how how sexual harassment is a systemic problem and that using battle fatigue as an excuse is unacceptable.  This is nothing more than an excuse - a bad excuse.  What's the difference between the Taliban making women cover themselves because they are an enticement to men - as though men a too weak - and the military suggesting that battle fatigued men are too weak to behave with restraint.  Also, I seriously doubt that every sexual harasser served in battle.  Meyer also makes the point that sexual harassment happens to men as well as women and, again we see this in the military as well. 

The problem is endemic in the military and unless and until President Obama, the Joint Military leaders and the other high ranking officers in the military take immediate action on any - read ANY - case of harassment, this kind of criminal behavior will persist.  As long as it is covered up and ignored or poorly punished it will go on.  Most harassers, if not all, continue to harass even in private life.  They go into corporations and harass employees.  It is no different than the problem of pediphelia... spouse abuse... child abuse et. al.  It is repeated over and over again so long as it is not addressed at the front end.

XiraArien1
XiraArien1

More women get raped as they become a larger part of the military. As they become a larger part of the military, they become bigger targets.

The notion that you could introduce hundreds of thousands of women to any group of men without some of them getting raped is silly.

llltexas.com

eddoranjr
eddoranjr

 I HAVE READ ALL OF THE 57 COMMENTS UP TO THIS POINT, BUT NONE MENTION THE PHEROMONES EMITTED BY THE HUMAN FEMALES AS A FACTOR FOR THE HUGE INCREASE IN THE SEXUAL ACTIVITIES OF THE MILITARY PERSONNEL IN TRAINING, WHO ARE IN CLOSE PROXIMITY TO ONE ANOTHER. I HOPE TIME.COM WILL LOOK INTO THIS BY CONTACTING DR. W.CUTLER,PHD  AS MENTIONED IN TIME MAGAZINE OF 12/01/1986

azmalhome
azmalhome

he just say, but he's thinking that his military is working in right way. because they like to be free sex everywhere. sometimes rape never mind according usa culture

http://azmalhome.wordpress.com/

mary.waterton
mary.waterton

Look at what the US Military recruits ... high school dropouts, drug addicts, alcoholics, homosexuals, thieves, rapists, etc. Is it realistic to expect the dregs of society to suddenly become respectable moral beings?

davidspyle
davidspyle

So long as we don't recognize, accept and integrate what are the masculine, feminine and shadow aspects of what is our True (Triune) Self and True (Triadic) Nature, then we will stay locked-up in and by our unconsciousness  and the perceptions and projections that are the result of the Dualistic thought and thinking that continuously perpetrates and perpetuates the inner/outer conflict and confusion, violence and abuse, competitive and adversarial nature of what is the prevailing paradigm -- whether of male and female and all the systems and structures that  are based in and on those dualistic premises.

It is a systemic problem that demands a systemic solution.

It is a spiritual problem that demands a spiritual (non-dual) solution.

FrankMonroy
FrankMonroy

Because we lead the "civilized world" in violence, sexual violence, spousal abuse, we should be excluded from Global Associations and recognition.

arrestforcefeeders
arrestforcefeeders

dont hire, immedaitly fire, and permantly disqualify from working in a gov job, anyone who: sexual/physcial abused, neglected, kidnapped, bought a prostitute, or watched porn. charge misconductors wage refund from date of misconduct to date of fire. arrest and charge sexual assilents equally under the law. before hireing, make them sign a contract saying they wont do those things or else fired and owe wage refund.

gov-fund more female training includeing welfare to eventually acheive goal of requirement of =#of females and males(both with equal strength and skill) in each level of power of the military.

put gov under 24-7live public survailence, unless gov has good reason for certian info to be kept secret, not all conduct needs to be secret and should be supervised by public. reasons for gov secrets should be secret. permit people un-paid by gov to rounteinly do random suprize inspections on gov.

shepherdwong
shepherdwong

You make it sound like a military problem. About one in four civilian woman report being sexually assaulted at some point. Young people with young people's hormones, in close quarters with a large percentage that are psychologically capable (badly socialized, abuse victims themselves, etc.) of becoming sexual predators.

We should hold sexual predators accountable but it's not particularly a military problem.

ralphwiggummm
ralphwiggummm

As usual the headline promises more than the article delivers. A little more science here and a little less political posturing and sociology.

AlexCook1
AlexCook1

Your a soldier,plain and simple. Male or female,your to conduct yourself with honor, in all things,no matter what. No excuses...This comes from an old vet who still believes in honor.

antonmarq
antonmarq

It probably all started with General Delivery, who probably "came" to attention a bit too quickly.   

MarkSweetipo
MarkSweetipo

Young males can be useful for protecting our society obviously but they also cause most of the really heinous crimes (Aurora, Boston, Columbine, Tucson, Oklahoma City, 9/11 etc).  The military has no shortage of males under the age of 30.  They have their work cut out for them (even though the vast majority are honorable men) for a problem that must be solved.

DarleneIskra
DarleneIskra

Mark, you said, "Women are currently about 14% of the active-duty, and have been at that level for years. Their presence takes jobs – and promotions – away from some of their male colleagues. Like gravity, that exerts a subtle influence on those who feel they may have been passed over, or fear they maybe – or have a buddy who feels that way."  I have to take umbrage with the comment that we have taken jobs away from men, and taking THEIR promotions.  That would be like saying that every woman who works outside the home is taking jobs away from men.  It just isn't true.  The cream will rise to the top.  The men who think women are usurping their promotion opportunity are probably not the cream of the crop, otherwise they would not be worried.  Promotion is not about gender, it is about the work that you do and how you contribute to the mission.  If you have ever sat at a promotion board, then you would know.

Otherwise, good job on the article. You are right, this has to stop.  Police officers have worked it out, Fire fighters have worked it out...the military has to get with the program.  Part of the problem is, yes, no one person is being held accountable.  Leaders can't say one thing and then do something else or ignore the behavior of peers and subordinates, including harassing behavior... which appears, by survey data, to be a contributing factor to eventual assault, probably because it shows a lack of respect. 

Donder33
Donder33

How about this theory.  The same 'thing' that makes a man good a warrior is the same thing that makes him a rapist. That 'thing' is being a good predator. Maybe some guys are well balanced and can turn it off to rejoin civilized society but I bet there is a not so small a percentage who cannot.

Awsome
Awsome

Getting to the root cause is the only way in solving this problem. Firing individuals does not mean that the repercussions will not emanate again..........

http://healthandfitnesstips.info/

PaulDirks
PaulDirks

 It means the military’s “primary mission” will no longer be preparing to wage, and win, the nation’s wars.

As long as 'wars' no longer refer to Nation States engaged in formally declared hostilities, the notion of winning a war will have to be modified to reflect that representing a force for good and  being morally superior to our enemies (ie the Taliban) is now what is required to prevail.
Rooting out predators is therefore a rather essential part of our fighting capability. 

Micomagic
Micomagic

Are you an idiot?  You must be a man to say that.  Are you saying that American's are raising such weak men that they cannot restrain themselves?  And you want to be proud of this Christian country????

AmyPike
AmyPike

@eddoranjr How about we combat this by castrating all males who serve so they won't be attracted to women?? If that sounds ridiculous,well then,so does your statement. We are thinking beings, not mere animals,and we are not controlled today by scents, and if anyone does let only a scent control them, then they need to be taken out of society and imprisoned to where they can't hurt others.

Micomagic
Micomagic

Which goes to show you that human beings are actually at the top of the animal food chain.  They were not created to be "stewards".... the are the same as every animal that simply pro-creates.  Right?????  I'm amazed that men manage to walk down a street, or ride the train without attacking a every woman with the appropraite pheromones.  Some mother's raise their boys to have respect for women others have father's that encourage their boys to get what they can.  God bless America.

Piacevole
Piacevole

@azmalhome Huh?

 You know, the protocols on capitalization and syntax facilitate readers understanding what you're trying to say.   Think of them as recipes for good cooking: just throwing random ingredients into a pot won't turn out cuisine.

Piacevole
Piacevole

@mary.waterton Is it ralistic to lump "homosexuals" in with miscreants, any more than it is to consider that "heterosexuals" are authomatically problems because most rapists, pedophiliacs, and so forth are heterosexual?

Piacevole
Piacevole

@shepherdwong Actually, it is, when someone uses his (militarily-acquired) authority to impose his wishes upon a subordinate.

RichardShiflett
RichardShiflett

@ralphwiggummm At the very least Obama is very pissed off over this and has made it quite clear that he wants far harsher consequences for those that do such horrid things so that it will at least deter anyone from even thinking of doing such horrid things to anyone.


Sadly that's the society we live in where people can't always be counted on to do good. No they need the threat of harsh punishment to stop them from acting like mere animals.

Nick_F
Nick_F

@Donder33 >  The same 'thing' that makes a man good a warrior is the same thing that makes him a rapist. 

nope.

being "aggressive" or "predatory" is a part of being in the military, sure. but discipline is pretty key, too. and so is loyalty. pretty much the opposite of people who attack their coworkers.

Piacevole
Piacevole

@Donder33 How about this theory?  Since an American civilian court of law has said that "rape is an occupational hazard of military life,"  this statement ought to be plainly visible in large print on every military contract signed by a recruit, on a sign in every recruiting agency, a sign over the gates of every military installation, including the academies,  and in information given to the parents of potential recruits or cadets. 

So everyone knows "what's what" before signing up.


MarkSweetipo
MarkSweetipo

@PaulDirks >representing a force for good and  being morally superior to our enemies (ie the Taliban) is now what is required to prevail.

That may be true if the culture was not a hopelessly broken throw-back to the 12th century where goat farmers are ok with stoning your sister to death when she is raped.  What's required to prevail is civilian leadership setting political goals that can be realistically achieved without bankrupting our country or degrading our military.  Nation building should start at home.  Ok rant over.

Donder33
Donder33

That is a feminist point of view. Power, violence, intimidation, and abuse are just other facets to some men's sexual menu.

shepherdwong
shepherdwong

@Piacevole  Obviously, no such "authority" is necessary for such predation, just social acquiescence. The data proves it. Across the military. Across society. Across nearly all human cultures. It is the last, greatest underachieved advancement of human/humane kind, after the general approbations against slavery and child labor. Let's hope that we see it soon.

Donder33
Donder33

You miss the point. There is a slice of males, a statistically significant slice, that will and does admit on anonymous surveys that they have previously forced a women to have sex or used threats to get sex from a women. If 1 in 4 women will be sexually assaulted in their life their has to be a cohort of men who rape, and there is. The military by its very nature may attract and concentrate the young males with these very tendencies. It may be that a fighting military will never root this out since it is so entwined with getting to right guys for the mission. Though Obama may take care of it for us all by turning the American military into an Pansy Force, just like they have throughout Europe.

melda.page3
melda.page3

@Piacevole @Donder33 And to even the playing field, every female service member should be given the legal right to use her weapon on any assaulter without fear of any prosecution.  This might slow a few men down.

BrianStephens
BrianStephens

But do you meen to say that the parents do not pay attention to their children joining a force where they sign up to say they are willing to die? Don't they read the newspapers relating these  accounts ? And what sort of court says "rape is an occupational hazard of military life,"? Doesn't say much for the whole system does it? It seems suicide is an occupational hazard as well. As for putting up signs, what about "Honor bound and Freedom" at Gitmo?
Read more: http://nation.time.com/2013/05/17/the-roots-of-sexual-abuse-in-the-military/#ixzz2TZkowyfp 

Micomagic
Micomagic

Actually, that is not a feminist point of view.  All research has shown that rape is about power.  Read up before suggesting a gender related cause and effect.

Donder33
Donder33

These men will always exist but the well socialized ones keep it in check. The well socialized version of these men are the go getters we want for soldiers, police, etc.

shepherdwong
shepherdwong

@Piacevole@shepherdwong"...having authority over another certainly facilitates the matter..."

What if the person is an uncle, or father brother? Or any assault of a child by an adult? Isn't that "authority?" Or what if the victim is simply too ashamed? Many victims are men, raped by other men. I'm not making this stuff up, you know? It's all in the data. There are truckloads of it.

Again, we should do something about it. But we shouldn't mistake it as a military matter. The whole society (every society) needs to do something about sexual predation, starting by correctly defining and talking about it.

Piacevole
Piacevole

@shepherdwong @Piacevole It may be possible to molest without authority, but having authority over another certainly facilitates the matter, makes it difficult for the victim to resist the action or report the assault, and less than likely that the assaulter will be dealt with appropriately.  When the person to whom one should report the assault IS the person who perpetrated it, and the "chain of command" is enforced at every level, what then?

Donder33
Donder33

The essence of what I am saying is more or less embodied in this quote: "There’s a beast within every man that stirs when you put a sword in his hand."  Just caught up with Game of Thrones...

RichardShiflett
RichardShiflett

@Donder33 Pansy Force? So having Sex Offenders actually get punished for doing horrid things somehow makes out military a Pansy Force?

Please stop being a pigheaded tool and patting rapist on the back as if they're doing something great by being monsters and shaming our men and women in uniform.

Piacevole
Piacevole

@Donder33 Mr. Donder, if we don't somehow civilize the males of this species, they may well succeed in destroying the species.  For example, something above 90% of violent crimes, and very nearly all the mass shootings, bombings, and so forth are committed by males.  Rape, pretty much exclusively a male crime.  Sometimes on men as well as (mostly) on women.  The recent crash of the economy was pretty much all done by various male executives of corporations and financial institutions.  The entire country, pretty much, got to pay for that one.  As for soccer vs. football, you do realize that the NFL is having serious problems with brain damage in its veterans, don't you? 

Male aggression is not all that great a trait.

Of course, there's always the "livestock cure" for the problem.  But it would have to be international.


Donder33
Donder33

Actually I mean all things opposite of Macho Male Identity, the Wussification of the military... Being remoulded with an attitude parrallel to American Football is barbaric so let's make sure our impressionable youth play Soccer. Get it.

Piacevole
Piacevole

@Donder33 What is "an Pansy Force?"  

If you mean the concept that people can serve in the military without having to lie about their orientation (as they previously served, but had to occlude it) I don't think anything has actually changed except the fact that reality is acknowledged: gay people have always been in the military.  It's just that now, it's out in the open.

Piacevole
Piacevole

@BrianStephens Unless I have the story wrong, when someone joins the military, there is the possibility that he or she might be hurt or killed by an enemy.  Someone on the "other side."

That's somewhat different from being raped by someone on one's own side, wouldn't you say?  Of course, there's the situation called "friendly fire," in which one is hurt or killed by someone on the same side, I guess.  It's a nice alliterative term.  Maybe we could have a comparable term for sexual abuse.  How about "regimental rape?"  That ought to cover it.


Micomagic
Micomagic

Apparently you have not stayed up to date on current legal renderings.  That is exactly what the court said - rape, is an occupational hazard".  Don't like it.  Take it to court yourself.

Piacevole
Piacevole

@DarleneIskra @Piacevole @Donder33 What, exactly, are you decrying as barnyard byproduct?  After all, that was the reason given by a court  which refused to hear the case.  They ought to know.  If that's the situation, everyone should be informed of it, up front.


Think of it as "truth in advertising."  Or figure out how to stop the situation of sexual assault in the military, once and for all.  It is bad for morale, bad for unit cohesion, and a total insult to all concerned.


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