Thursday, January 17, 2013

Would Punishment Be Swifter And Surer If It Was American MEN Being Raped On Military Bases Instead Of Women? Male Rape Victims Are Coming Forward


Americans, like people all over the world, were horrified by the brutal gang rape and murder of a 23 year old medical student on a bus in Delhi last month. Americans, as we've explained before, have something to be horrified about closer to home. The cover-up engineered by House Armed Services Committee chairman Buck McKeon of a series-- a culture-- of rapes on U.S. military bases, is unraveling. Despite McKeon's strenuous and consistent efforts to prevent light being shed on the scandal, serious hearing are finally beginning, thanks in large part to the efforts of the brave women and men at Protect Our Defenders. Oddly, McKeon is still covering up and has banned all survivors of the current Lackland rape scandal from testifying at the hearings next week. What is wrong with this sick, sick man?

McKeon and other "legitimate rape" Republicans like Todd Akin have poo-poo-ed the rapes of enlisted women and refused to allow public hearings. But now men are also coming forward to talk openly about being raped by savage and deranged primitives on their bases.
The Air Force said Tuesday that two more basic-training instructors are being investigated for misconduct and their alleged victims were men-- a first among dozens of sex-abuse cases at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland.

...“Right now, the allegation involves abusive sexual contact,” Lt. Col. Mark Hoover, an Air Force training command lawyer, said of the case involving the male instructor.

The number of instructors under investigation has grown to 32, while the Air Force lists 59 victims in a scandal that has drawn national attention to military sexual assaults.

Congress has begun investigating and will hold a hearing on the Lackland situation next week.

Until this week, 30 trainers had been investigated for alleged misconduct with 56 women, most of whom had just joined the Air Force.

...“We're not at all surprised that the investigation has turned up male victims. Sexual assault in the military affects men as well as women,” said Greg Jacob, policy director for Service Women's Action Network. “The VA reports that 40 percent of all veterans seeking care for sexual trauma are men. Because of the hostile climate in the military, sexual assaults are underreported to begin with, and among men under reporting is even more widespread than it is for women.”

...The training command said 29 percent of sexual-assault victims whose reports last year launched investigations later stopped cooperating with prosecutors. The Air Force said that suggests the victims grew weary of the legal process.

Questions were raised last week about a victim's interview by attorneys for a Lake Jackson Air Force recruiter charged with pursing relationships with 18 women.

Attorneys questioned the woman outside the courtroom during a preliminary hearing for Tech. Sgt. Jaime Rodriguez and persuaded her to sign a document stating that Rodriguez did not use violence to have sex with her.

He was accused of rape in the incident-- the most serious crime lodged in the case, carrying a life sentence.

Prosecutors objected, saying the alleged victim didn't understand the military's complex definition of rape or its use-of-force standards in sexual-assault cases.

The woman, in turn, testified that while she gave into Rodriguez's advances when he sought to have oral sex, she initially told him no. She said she firmly rebuffed him when he tried to go further.

“The primary question that always is going to come up in a sexual-assault case is going to come down to force and consent because those are the two elements of rape,” Hoover explained.

Violence doesn't have to be employed for someone to commit rape. The simple act of using force during a sexual encounter is sufficient, he said, noting that rape can occur when “strength, power or restraint” is used.

The hearing officer, Lt. Col. Lynn Schmidt, agreed to consider the memorandum the woman signed as well as other testimony and evidence. Schmidt will issue a recommendation on what charges, if any, the Air Force should bring against Rodriguez.

One advocate, Protect Our Defenders' founder Nancy Parrish, said the victims' counsel program was “needed and long overdue,” but noted other services still opposed establishing it.
The trailer up top is for Kirby Dick's documentary The Invisible War, about the military rapes McKeon is covering up and which has been nominated for an Academy Award this year. The film features one of Congress' most outspoken proponents of the rights of the victims of this tragedy, Maine Congresswoman Chellie Pingree. Unlike McKeon's shady hearings next week, the documentary includes interviews with numerous survivors of sexual assault. A member of McKeon's Armed Services Committee and an effective thorn in his side, Pingree has urged her colleagues-- and her constituents-- to watch the film. "This nomination," she said, "is an honor to the people who made the movie, and that includes the incredible brave veterans who told their stories on camera. It's only because people like them have had the courage to talk about what happened to them that the scandal of sexual assault in the military has been brought to light." McKeon, however, is still trying to shut them up.

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