I will never let my daughter join the military. I know this is somewhat foolish, as someday she will be eighteen and headstrong (okay, more headstrong). But it’s not just a mother’s simple wish to keep her daughter out of harm’s way. It’s because of this article in Salon. Seventy-one percent of women veterans of Vietnam and wars since report being raped or sexually assaulted while in the military.

Seventy-one percent! What kind of culture are we living in that this is actually happening. . .and no one is talking about it. Donald Rumsfeld, no champion of women’s rights, set up a task force to investigate the sexual assaults persisting in Iraq. But it hasn’t helped enough. In a war with no front line or safety zone, women are not only fearing the IEDs of the enemy, they must fear the behavior of their comrades. And while some could argue that women shouldn’t be at war anyway, I don’t think that’s relevant right now. We have too few soldiers as it is, we can’t afford to send 15% of them home.

The Salon article says this: “There are only three kinds of female the men let you be in the military: a bitch, a ho or a dyke,” said Montoya, the soldier who carried a knife for protection. “This guy out there, he told me he thinks the military sends women over to give the guys eye candy to keep them sane. He said in Vietnam they had prostitutes to keep them from going crazy, but they don’t have those in Iraq. So they have women soldiers instead.”

It amazes me that attitudes like that still exist. But obviously they do. And they’re doing more than just offending feminists. When I googled this subject to find more sources, the first twenty-five hits were about Iraqi women being raped by American soldiers. And while that is horrifying and disgusting in itself, it shocks me even more that no one is writing about what is happening to American citizens. These women are fighting for our country and this is how we thank them? I’d rather stay at Walter Reed than be a female soldier alone after dark in Iraq.

 

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