By : Mohammed Jehan Khan
According to Mehr News agency of Iran, 20 per cent of women in the US military are the victims of sexual assault and rape. Critics say women and girls in training sessions are regularly sexually harassed and assaulted, but fears of retaliation by their influential commanders prevents them to filing a complaint.
New York Times reports that around 3,553 sexual assault complaints reported to the Defence Department in the first three quarters of the fiscal year, from October 2012 through June, a nearly 50 percent increase over the same period a year earlier. Defence Department officials said the numbers had continued to rise.
Roughly 207,308 women serve on active duty. That can also be translated as 14.5 percent of active-duty military personnel. The Department of Defence has estimated that one in three women in the military are sexually assaulted asopposed to one in six civilian women.
It’s been estimated that 19,000 female military members have been sexually assaulted between Oct. 1, 2010 and Sept. 31, 2011. However, only 3,192 cases were reported. Evenfewerwere tried.
Granted, sexual abuse occurs toward both females and males. A 2011 report from the Department of Defence found that about 12 percent of those abused were male while the other 88 percent were female.
For women, however, the threat is obviously greater and thus a bigger deterrent toward enlistment.
The problem with military culture is the inherent top-down hierarchy. Often, the military’s sexual predators areof higher rank than their victims.
It is also reported that Nearly a third of the American womenfighting the U.S. war in Iraqwere raped by fellow soldiers, and one fourth of the men in uniform investigating those claims were the actual rapists, according to a non-fiction drama staged over the weekend to standing-room-only audiences at First Churches.
Additionally, efforts by victims seeking justice are blocked. Granting de facto immunity, the courts have ruled that the military cannot be prosecuted for the allegedcrimes.
The obvious observations will be, if this is how the US military officials treat their female colleagues, largely Christian American countrywomen, how must that military has treated the innocent Muslim women in Iraq and Afghanistan, in the closing stages of ‘war on terror’ guise?
How could US authorities who didn’t care about their own women folks, care enough about the Muslim women in the days of ‘War on Terror’ military invasion?
If this demonstrates the policy of the United State and how the forces of the state behave towards their own American Christian female colleagues, how must they have conducted themselves in Iraq and Afghanistan for a decade and how must they be functioning in the former conflict zones today?