Target: President Barack Obama
Goal: Demand that sexual assault on both men and women in the military be taken seriously and that punishment be enforced on the attackers.
When a man enlists in the military, his chance of being sexually assaulted increases by a factor of ten. Women’s chances increase as well, but they are less likely to enlist. In fact, more military men are assaulted than women with 14,000 cases in 2012 alone. Before the military removed “Don’t ask, don’t tell” in 2011, male-on-male rape victims could actually be discharged for homosexual conduct. This is no longer the case; however, researchers say that men are still too afraid to come forward and report the assault.
Military culture promotes a balance of aggression and obedience and too much of either raises the potential for sexual assault. New recruits feel as though they cannot question authority. They have been stripped of their sense of free will, and some recruits will even follow in the behavior exhibited by their commanding officers. Many will rape their peers in a sick mimicry of a military power structure and to send the message that the victim is weak and that the attacker owns them.
The rape itself is symbolic in its own way. In a hyper-masculine culture such as ours, the worst thing that could happen to a man is to force him into a role that society dictates as a feminine role. These victims develop a form of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) called military sexual trauma or MST for short. Research even suggests that the military has conspired to illegally discharge MST victims with false diagnoses, such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder.
Please sign the petition below to urge President Obama to enforce punishment on sexual offenders despite their military position and to end the idea that men do not get raped in the military.
Dear President Obama,
Military men get raped. They are raped by their commanding officers and their own peers. These men develop a form of PTSD called military sexual trauma, or MST for short, and are too ashamed and scared to report the assault. That is unsurprising, considering the fact that conviction rate of MST cases that go to trial is only seven percent. Research also suggests that the military brass has conspired to illegally discharge MST victims with a false diagnosis of schizophrenia or bipolar disorder.
After an MST victim has been discharged, they will turn to their local Veterans Affairs facilities only to find out that the facility only treats female MST victims. Some facilities will even turn a male victim away, telling them that they’re lying and that men don’t really get raped. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand sought to pass a bill that would strip commanders of the power to determine whether to prosecute sex offenders or not. This bill is called the Military Justice Improvement Act and won in the Senate by a narrow majority. It fell a few votes short of the required amount to beat a promised filibuster. I urge you to revive that bill and to enforce it in all aspects of the military. Please end the belief that men do not get raped in the military.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: GiJobs.Com