In 1996 Dorothy Mackey wrote an Op-ed piece, “Violence from comrades a fact of life for military women.” ABC News 20/ 20 did a segment on rape in the military. By November four women came forward at Aberdeen Proving Ground, in Maryland, about a pattern of rape by drill sergeants. In 1997 the military finds three black drill sergeants to scapegoat. They were sent to prison and this left the commanding generals and colonels untouched to retire quietly. The Army appointed a panel to investigate sexual harassment. One of the panelists was the sergeant Major of the Army, Eugene McKinney.On hearing his nomination, former associates and one officer came forward with charges of sexual coercion and misconduct. In 1998 he was acquitted of all charges after women spoke (of how they were being stigmatized, their careers stopped, and their characters questioned. A Congressional panel studied military investigative practices. In 1998, the Court of Appeals ruled against Dorothy Mackay. She had been outspoken on media and highly visible. There is an old Arabic saying “When the hen crows cut off her head.”“This court finds that Col. Milam and Lt. Col. Elmore were acting in the scope of their duties” in 1991-1992 when Capt. Mackey alleged they harassed, intimidated and assaulted her. A legislative remedy was asked for and she appealed to the Supreme Court. Of course the Supreme Court refused to hear the case in 1999, as it always has under the feres doctrine. Her case was cited to block the suit of one of the Aberdeen survivors as well!
Conviction rates in the military are pathetic, with most offenders going free AND THERE IS NO RECOURSE FOR APPEAL! The military believes the Emperor has his clothes on, even when they are down around his ankles and he is coming in the woman's window with a knife! Military juries give low sentences or clear offender's altogether. Women can be heard to say “it's not just me” over and over. Men may get an Article 15, which is just a slap on the wrist, and doesn't even follow them in their career. This is hardly a deterrent. The perpetrator frequently stays in place to continue to intimidate their female victims, who are then treated like mental cases, who need to be discharged. Women find the tables turned, letters in their files, trumped up Women find the tables turned, letters in their files, trumped up charges; isolation and transfer are common, as are court ordered psychiatric referrals that label the women as lying or incompatible with military service because they are “Borderline Personality Disorders” or mentally unbalanced. I attended many of these women, after they were discharged, or were wives of abusers, from xxx Air Force Base, when I was a psychotherapist working in the private sector. That was always their diagnosis, yet retesting tended to show something different after stabilization, like PTSD.
Justice DeniedThousands of women, probably moreI cannot reach them behind justice doorsMany stay silent, barred just like me.Haunted by demons, faces unseen.Still by the hundreds, they continue to serveDuty and country, active and reserve.Thankless, forgotten through America's warsScarred like their brethren, treated as foes.Volunteered to go to the shores.Died like the others, shamed to the core.Where is the dignity, long since denied? Lost in the White House of Justice DeniedWomen in service since beginning of time Often they're treated like victims in crime.Where is their voice, silence throughout the years? It's dead in the Senate and House, with their tears!
It wasn't as if they had a choice. They were soldiers whose choices had ended when they had signed contracts and taken their oaths. Whether they had joined for reasons of patriotism, of romantic notions, to escape a broken home of some sort, or out of economic need, their job now was to follow the orders of other soldiers who were following orders, too. Somewhere, far from Iraq, was where the orders began, but by the time they reached Rustamiyah, the only choice left for a solider was to choose which lucky charm to tuck behind his body armor, or which foot to line up in front of the other, as he went out to follow the order of the day.
It seems like it might go on for a while, so Tausolo takes a seat and looks around the sergeant's cubicle. There's not much to see, since the guy just arrived at the WTB, only a blank form tacked to a wall that looks like every other army form in the world."Hurt Feelings Report," it is titled. "Whiner's name," it says under that. "Which ear were the words of hurtfulness spoken into?" it says under that. "Is there permanent feeling damage?" "Did you require a 'tissue' for tears?" "Has this resulted in a traumatic brain injury?""Reason for filing this report," it says under that. "Mark all that apply." "I am a wimp." "I am a crybaby." "I want my mommy." "I was told that I am not a hero." "Narrative," it says under that. "Tell us in your own sissy words how your feelings were hurt." Finally at the bottom of the form:We, as the Army, take hurt feelings seriously. If you don't have someone who can give you a hug and make things all better, please let us know and we will promptly dispatch a "hugger" to you ASAP. In the event we are unable to find a "hugger" we will notify the fire department and request that they send fire personnel to your location. If you are in need of supplemental support, upon written request, we will make every reasonable effort to provide you with a "blankey," a "binky" and/or a bottle if you so desire.
HYPERAROUSALAfter a traumatic experience, the human system of self-preservation seems to go onto permanent alert, as if the danger might return at any moment. Physiological arousal continues unabated. In this state of hyerarousal, which is the first cardinal symptom of post-traumatic stress disorder, the traumatized person startles easily, reacts irritably to small provocations, and sleeps poorly. Kardiner propsed that "the nucleus of the [traumatic] neurosis is physioneurosis."8 He believed that many of the symptoms observed in combat veterans of the First World War-startle reactions, hyperalertness, vigilance for the return of danger, nightmares, and psychosomatic complaints-could be understood as resulting from chronic arousal of the autonomic nervous system. He also interpreted the irritability and explosively aggressive behavior of traumatized men as disorganized fragments of a shattered "fight or flight" response to overwhelming danger.
An equation: 40,000 dead young men = 3,000 tons of bone and flesh, 124,000 pounds of brain matter, 50,000 gallons of blood, 1,840,000 years of life that will never be lived, 100,000 children that will never be born (the last we can afford: there are too many starving children in the world already).
Composure and self-restraint were not only desirable characteristics in a woman, they were essental.As my mother put it later, it was bad enough having to worry yourself sick every time your husband went up in an airplane; now, she was being told, she was also supposed to feel responsible if his plane crashed. Anger and discontent, lest they kill, were to be kept to oneself. The military, even more so than the rest of society, clearly put a premium on well-behaved, genteel, and even-tempered women.
Whether the mask is labeled fascism, democracy, or dictatorship of the proletariat, our great adversary remains the apparatus—the bureaucracy, the police, the military. Not the one facing us across the frontier of the battle lines, which is not so much our enemy as our brothers' enemy, but the one that calls itself our protector and makes us its slaves. No matter what the circumstances, the worst betrayal will always be to subordinate ourselves to this apparatus and to trample underfoot, in its service, all human values in ourselves and in others.