The Epidemic of Unprosecuted Rape in the Military

Sickening, heartbreaking, infuriating:

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A key takeaway (of many) not to miss—the military is still not giving these women recourse outside the unresponsive chain of command and access to an independent arbitrator who has no conflict of interest.

Your Thoughts?

About Daniel Fincke

Dr. Daniel Fincke  has his PhD in philosophy from Fordham University and spent 11 years teaching in college classrooms. He wrote his dissertation on Ethics and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. On Camels With Hammers, the careful philosophy blog he writes for a popular audience, Dan argues for atheism and develops a humanistic ethical theory he calls “Empowerment Ethics”. Dan also teaches affordable, non-matriculated, video-conferencing philosophy classes on ethics, Nietzsche, historical philosophy, and philosophy for atheists that anyone around the world can sign up for. (You can learn more about Dan’s online classes here.) Dan is an APPA  (American Philosophical Practitioners Association) certified philosophical counselor who offers philosophical advice services to help people work through the philosophical aspects of their practical problems or to work out their views on philosophical issues. (You can read examples of Dan’s advice here.) Through his blogging, his online teaching, and his philosophical advice services each, Dan specializes in helping people who have recently left a religious tradition work out their constructive answers to questions of ethics, metaphysics, the meaning of life, etc. as part of their process of radical worldview change.

  • julian

    Your Thoughts?

    The Chain of Command is a fucking joke. It was designed to keep expression down and control over service members. Trusting it to handle rape and sexual assault is asking for it to get swept under the rug.

    Even setting aside how widespread misogyny is in the military (many servicemen refuse to recognize service women as being fit for service in combat roles or for anything really. Here in the USMC expect to see the women in the shop put at a desk behind a computer screen doing paperwork and far away from the role of Platoon Sergeant) think about how moronic it is to allow someone who is responsible for both the victim and the assailant (and who’s career will suffer for something like this happening under his command) decide on how to handle the problem.

    It’s ridiculous. Every bit of it.

    Fuck the military.

    And I’m glad this issue is getting more media attention.

  • Eli

    My first thought is that that the story might be false or overstated. Usually when someone cries “epidemic!”, it’s not true, or at least wildly exaggerated.

    In this case, it appears that a lot of women are actually accusing of sexual assault. I can’t think of a reason for them to lie. But the term “sexual assault” immediately makes me think of rape. In fact, when I began writing this comment, I unconsciously substituted the term “sexual assault” with “rape”, before I realized my error and rewrote it.

    According to this government website, the term “sexual assault” can be anything from sexually suggestive comments to rape. While the testimonies certainly claim rape, the statistic reported from which they conclude an epidemic is for “sexual assault”, which are not as bad as they sound.

    So I wonder, of all the sexual assaults that go on in the military, what percentage of them are risque jokes and unwelcome flirting? My guess is a high percentage.

    I don’t mean to sound unsympathetic, what happened to rape victims is awful. I’m just suspicious of news reporters who have a strong incentive to exaggerating their frequency.

    • M Groesbeck

      Your concern is noted.

    • Pierce R. Butler

      Obviously you haven’t seen the Invisible War documentary which forms the basis for this post.

      Watch it. These women (and men) are not living with PTSD just because someone made a lame “your place or mine?” crack.

  • Bret

    Most people see the military as sacred. Some of the angriest e-mails and comments I have gotten aren’t about religion, but in response to pointing out problems like these in the military.

    And to think… we’re footing the bill.

  • Ace of Sevens

    Independent arbitration sounds like the only way to go. People in the military have a reduced capacity to make waves about this sort of thing until something is done and I can’t think of any other way to avoid serious conflicts of interest.

  • Emrysmyrddin

    Eli: This link (triggering) is only recounting stories from the Military Coast Guard. Take the repressive and dismissive culture highlighted in these stories, and then apply it to the rest of the military, and I think you’ll begin to see a horrifying pattern.

  • Mattmon

    Yet another good reason to not join the military.

  • Timid Atheist

    This is so sickening to read about. I read an article a month or so ago about women who report rape in the military who are then “diagnosed” with Borderline Personality Disorder and discharged as a result. Better to get them out of the military than have them around giving everyone a bad name, yes? That was sarcasm btw.

    The appropriate article:

    And a telling quote from said article:

    In the case of a “personality disorder,” described by psychiatrists as a long-standing, inflexible pattern of maladaptive behavior, Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) becomes a pre-existing condition rather than a service-related disability. That means MST victims with personality disorder discharges don’t receive benefits. The military can simply dismiss them rather than treat them. And according to military records obtained by Yale Law School’s Veterans Legal Services Clinic and reported by CNN, the diagnosis of personality disorder is used disproportionately on women.

  • Clay

    I can’t see why it’s surprising. Leadership in an organization, whether it’s the Catholic church, the military, a university athletic program, the Boy Scouts or a prosecuting attorney’s office exists to protect the organization first and foremost.

    The only way to change things in any such organization is to expose the corrupt culture and make the pressure such that the organization can’t survive without changing itself.