Military Chaplain: ‘It Must Have Been God’s Will for Her to Be Raped’

Several women are suing former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and current Secretary of Defense Robert Gates because of “the military’s repeated failures to take action in rape cases created a culture where violence against women was tolerated, violating the plaintiffs’ Constitutional rights.”

The lawsuit can be read here (PDF).

A reader pointed out one particular story about a military chaplain that warrants special attention on this site. Read the disturbing story of what happened to Sergeant Rebekah Havrilla… and the awful way it was handled by the chaplain:

SGT Havrilla deployed to Afghanistan in 2006. Her supervisor sexually harassed her, stating on one occasion that he “really wanted to fuck [her] right now.” On another occasion, as SGT Havrilla’s peers watched, he walked up behind SGT Havrilla, grabbed her waist and kissed and bit the back of her neck. He began to slap her bottom whenever he passed by. He also belittled and mocked SGT Havrilla [SGT] Havrilla suffered from the harassment to such a degree that she sought medical assistance.

Subsequently, SGT Havrilla worked with an individual from a canine unit. That same colleague raped her. He pulled her into his bed, held her down, and raped her. He also photographed the rape.

SGT Havrilla reported the sexual harassment and rape within approximately one month, under the military’s restricted reporting policy.

In February of 2009 SGT Havrilla reported for four weeks of active duty training. During this training, she saw her rapist in the shopette on Fort Leonard Wood. Upon seeing her rapist, SGT Havrilla went into shock. She immediately sought the assistance of the military chaplain. When SGT Havrilla met with the military chaplain, he told her that “it must have been God’s will for her to be raped” and recommended that she attend church more frequently.

SGT Havrilla suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder and chronic depression.

What the hell…

They just let this slide?! Rumsfeld and Gates owe every woman in the military an explanation for how this was handled. They also need to let us know what actions they’re taking to make sure incidents like these will not be ignored.

This sort of accusation that Havrilla deserved her mistreatment because it was “God’s will” is just insult added to injury — an untrue statement that somehow deflects blame away from her attackers.

The Pentagon is not commenting on the lawsuit but Kaye Whitley, who runs the Pentagon’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office, says, “Sexual assault has no place in our armed forces and that’s why the department is committed to programs that focus on preventing the crime from ever occurring and programs that support the victims of sexual assault.”

I’ll believe that when I hear what actions the military is taking to prevent chaplains like this from counseling anyone.

There are unfortunately many more stories like this in the lawsuit. I’m glad it’s filed and I hope it gets the attention it deserves.

(Thanks to Beth for the link)

  • Shoves

    I’m disgusted by that element of the American Forces. As a British soldier, I’ve NEVER seen this happen, nor have heard it happen to any of the females I’ve served with.

    For all their ‘World Police’ attitude, they’re nowt but a bunch of primitive cave-dwelling throwbacks.

  • Tyro

    If they’re so comfortable with the idea of soldiers being raped while on duty, you’ve got to wonder just what they think will happen if gays join.

    Oh that’s right, *men* might be uncomfortable, surely a worse crime than a few women being raped.

  • Dr. Cuddles

    @Shoves Speaking as a former service member I’d like to say your comment is a disservice to cave-dwelling throwbacks everywhere; I don’t think there are very many traditional cultures out there that let this kind of thing happen. I only hope the US military gets its act together before they start getting lumped together with the catholic church.

  • Richard Wade

    So God wanted her to be raped.

    Proof that Yahweh really is Zeus.

    So rapists are God’s agents, bringing sinful women back to church, eh, Padre?

    That chaplain deserves a serious beating.

  • CatBallou

    This has been going on for years. Servicewomen have actually died from dehydration because they were trying to avoid rape. I’m astonished that women continue to volunteer, but as with men, somehow they must think the military is going to treat them honestly and fairly.

    Truthout article about servicewomen’s deaths

  • Shells

    This is incredibly morally disgusting. I think it’s an opportunity to use capital punishment on someone who deserves it. Not only have you committed horrendous evil, you’ve committed it against another soldier; it’s rape AND treason by any reasonable definition of either word. Have him stand against a wall. And fire the chaplain. This is yet another reason why the US Government shouldn’t be paying for religious ministers under any circumstances, especially in the military.

  • Claudia

    Not that I don’t find the attitude of the chaplain despicable, I do. However I would say that the real outrage is that this womans rapist was still on duty.

    You would think that raping someone would get you kicked out of the military (in fact you would think it would get you put in jail, but that usually doesn’t happen either).

    If man on man rape were as big of a problem as man on woman rape is in the armed services, I’m going to throw a wild guess out there and wager they’d actually take it seriously. That’s the real problem, not some douchebag chaplain.

  • Randy

    I’s sure I’ll get jumped for this but,

    On another occasion, as SGT Havrilla’s peers watched, he walked up behind SGT Havrilla, grabbed her waist and kissed and bit the back of her neck. He began to slap her bottom whenever he passed by

    I have a hard time believeing this. I know rape does occur in the military, but for this to happen really streches the imagination. I was in the military 10 years and I have hard time believeing that if this was going on nobody said nothing. It may have occured as she said, but….

  • http://cyberlizard.com CyberLizard

    @Randy

    Commence the jumping. That kind of blame-the-victim bullshit is exactly what has contributed to the proliferation of the problem.

    I have hard time believeing that if this was going on nobody said nothing

    Guess what? Someone did say something: SGT Havrilla spoke up. What did it get her? A shit-for-brains chaplain telling her it was god’s will and a moron like you saying you don’t believe her.

  • Cthuhlu

    If i was SGT Havrilla that other soldier would have lost his dick in his sleep.

    Then they have the audacity to say it is a problem if gays serve openly in the army when it seems the straight soldiers are the ones that hurt the military

  • http://www.lifeofcarla.blogspot.com Carla

    This is just … disgusting.

  • Michelle

    I have a hard time believeing this. I know rape does occur in the military, but for this to happen really streches the imagination. I was in the military 10 years and I have hard time believeing that if this was going on nobody said nothing. It may have occured as she said, but….

    Randy, you will get jumped for it. I was a closested lesbian during my time in the Army but was frequently sexually harassed. A few of the men told me how disgusted they were by it – but never said anything to the men doing it. When I reported it, I was asked if I thought I was a competent soldier, able to handle my responsibilities, if I was becoming “moody and stressed”. The name calling and groping were not addressed. The other women shrugged it off as “boys being boys” and were cautious to avoid making themselves targets. I’m not sure if anyone in my unit was raped, but I know plenty of service members and civilian DOD/USCG employees outraged by the stories they’ve heard and cases they’ve witnessed where a rape victim is alternately told she wanted it/made it up and punished with a diagnosis of a personality disorder or restriction, while the rapist continues to serve or is even promoted. Many of the rapists when interviewed claimed consensual sex and weren’t even charged with fraternization or adultery. The military condones this behavior by failing to respond or just admit it happens. You’ve become part of it, casting skepticism on the servicewomen who risk their careers for justice.

  • http://www.aussieinengland.wordpress.com Lissa

    Randy,
    I was once sexually assaulted in front of my two young friends by my elderly neighbour (I was ten). No one said anything because he had a position of power over us. Just because YOU never witnessed anything or have a hard time believing it, doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen.

  • Dave

    Then that means god is as much of a sick fuck as this “soldier”. both deserve no respect.

  • Mara

    It’s a total chauvinist projection that gay men in the military would rape the macho chest-beaters…exactly the kind of projection that would make me worry if I had a gay son who chose to join up.

    It’s more likely that gay guys would be just as victimized as women in the armed forces. We already know what kind of hate crimes result from homophobia in the “normal” world (remember Matthew Shepherd?) – now amp that up with this kind of sexism, paranoia and licensed aggression. Frightening.

  • Stassja

    Randy – I’m glad you’ve not been witness to such a thing, but I can assure you it does happen. My mom had a very similar experience while serving, when her superior kissed and bit her on the neck. She reported it but decided not to go further with it since they were getting ready to move, and they would have made her stay in the area and lose her orders. (She’d just married my father, they were both in and having orders together is NOT guaranteed, passing up her orders would likely mean a few years living nowhere near each other.) Naturally, since SHE didn’t have the time and means to push the envelope, the navy did nothing.

    Very very sad and frustrating to hear that this stuff is still going on unchecked.

  • Watchemoket

    It was a similar situation that tipped me over the fence into atheism when I was in my late teens. My younger sister was molested by our uncle (PTSD Viet-Nam era vet) and when she tried to get some counseling from the parish priest, he said she must repent her sin and ask for God’s forgiveness.
    This kind of crap just turns my stomach, especially when the religious right opposes gays in the military as a distraction and bad for morale. Yeah – right …

    edit: I second Cthulhu’s suggestion. (love the name by the way).

  • Jim H

    @Lissa: thank you for sharing your experience; I can’t imagine what that was like.

    And one’s “boss” in the military has even more power over his subordinates… (I didn’t write “his or her” on purpose–the sergeant’s complaint was about a particular, male, person.)

  • Tucker

    I was raped on my 19th birthday by a fellow soldier while enlisted in the Army. I immediately reported it and was intimidated by my 1st Sgt into dropping the charges after reporting the death threats made to me by my rapist’s buddy. I was interrogated for hours in a room next to te rapist, was told that since I was not on base at the time that I was basically inviting the rape.
    I was then separated from my battalion and treated like a criminal until I dropped the charges.
    In my time as a soldier I was frequently harrassed, given shitty jobs for refusing to have sex with a superior, and was dropped for not smiling enough. It was pure terror, and not one of my superiors backed me up. I never visited a chaplain because I have always been an atheist, but had one said this to me, I don’t think I would’ve been able to deal with it.

  • Mark O’Leary

    If this is how we protect our own female personnel on active duty in a war zone, what hope does an indigenous woman have in a place occupied by the US military? I was raised to think we were the good guys. This is the absolute nadir of US history.

  • RPJ

    Kaye Whitley, who runs the Pentagon’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office, says, “Sexual assault has no place in our armed forces and that’s why the department is committed to programs that focus on preventing the crime from ever occurring and programs that support the victims of sexual assault.”

    Reaffirming an obviously nonexistent commitment? The leadership doesn’t even give a fuck about appearing to give a fuck.

    If they wanted to look sincere, they’d acknowledge that they dropped the ball, apologize, promise to move expeditiously on her case and promise to review their policy and make whatever changes are necessary for it to work. And then ignore it.

    Committing to continuing what obviously does not work is as hollow as it gets.

  • Karl

    That chaplain’s god is not one that I would want to believe in.

  • Mary

    I’ve said it once and I’ll say it again… women in the military need to start carrying weapons and using them. The number of rapes will drop when would be rapists realize that there will be consequences that would make John Bobbitt cry like a bitch.

    That said, that chaplain should be removed. Preferably in pieces.

  • Claudia

    @Tucker, that’s terrible. It’s an utter disgrace that this sort of thing happened to you and continues to happen to other women. I think that the deification of the armed forces actually makes the problem worse. We don’t talk about suicide in the armed forces because that would be a recognition that soldiers can suffer mental illness. We don’t talk about rape in the armed forces because that makes some of the “troops” rapists, and some of the other troops and commanders accomplices. So by deifying “the troops” you actually put more of them in harms way, since you can’t solve a problem if you are unwilling to recognize that it exists.

  • Robert Thille

    By that chaplain’s logic, when his daughter is raped and killed, or his wife, or mother, it was god’s will.
    I sincerely hope something awful happens to the chaplain, rather than to people close to him…

  • Iggy

    So much for that SARC training they drill into our heads every year.

  • http://girlofthegaps.blogspot.com/ Nicole Schrand

    @Randy: Beyond the fact that the perpetrator was in a position of power over the people witnessing this (as Lissa & Jim said), and the fact that the military is fairly well known for not ratting out their own, people in general (especially in large groups, where they feel they can defer responsibility) are unlikely to report problems they are not directly involved in. This is known as the Bystander Effect. Look it up on Wikipedia, or read up on the murder of Kitty Genovese.

  • L.Long

    Ye-Wow-Way has no problem with rape, it violated its on moral laws with Mary!
    To say nothing about the many raped virgins that occurs in the buyBull.

    Although I never witnessed any incidents, In the AirForce during marriage orientation we were told that health care for wives is a as we can get to bases, because they are not much better the prostitutes so no big thing.
    And compared to the army or navy the air force is very easy about women in the service.

  • Cortex

    The whole “God wanted this bad thing to happen to you” thing makes me wonder why there aren’t more Satanists, if not atheists. If God’s plan involves you getting raped, losing a child, getting cancer, etc., then fuck God. If anyone else was planning to do these things to you, you’d want to kill him, and you’d be right. It baffles and aggravates me to no end to see someone bow and worship an entity that they actually believe has done horrible things to them on purpose.

  • http://thishollowearth.wordpress.com/ Vicor

    A secular counselor making a similar statement (though I’m not sure what it would be), would be fired. What’ll happen to this guy? Nothing. Neither the military nor his church his going to raise to finger to correct sexist and superstition attitude. Churches cannot be trusted to police themselves, they really don’t care what their employee are doing to people.

  • http://www.meetmarcadams.com marc adams

    how is this surprising from a person who believes a book that says that if a woman gets raped in a city it’s her own fault for not screaming loud enough.

  • Aj

    This is why the right to “freedom of religion” is bullshit. This kind of thing is covered by “freedom of expression” as well, but if a secular person pulled something like that they’d be shit-canned, and rightfully so.

    The military is a reflection of society and a lesson in how power corrupts. You’d think they’d have stronger, stricter policies than other places, because they could implement them and they do need them.

  • Gail

    I’ve been unemployed for several months and in considering my options, I thought about joining the Navy or Marines. However, I decided against it mostly because of things like this. I have always been incredibly terrified of being raped; it meant I didn’t go out a lot in college, and I still don’t like going anywhere at night by myself. I am sure the majority of male soldiers respect their fellow female soldiers, but the fact that the military administration doesn’t is far more important to me.

  • http://miketheinfidel.blogspot.com/ MikeTheInfidel

    the department is committed to programs that focus on preventing the crime from ever occurring and programs that support the victims of sexual assault

    This reminds me of John McCain and his bullshit argument that since the Army doesn’t have a policy of performing anti-gay witch hunts, it isn’t happening.

    Sorry, folks… you don’t get to paper over a horrendous breach of justice and human rights by saying that what happened is against your policy.

  • For Satan I Sing

    @ Cortex

    We don’t need anymore Satanists. I can’t tell you how many times some little twerp has asked me to lend them my Satanic Bible, and then given me the ‘pleasure’ of watching them pick and choose what they want out of it to be more ‘dark’ or something. It’s true, Satanists aren’t made.

    And on a side note, male on male rape makes up about 75-90% of rapes in the military. You can guess that it doesn’t get reported because no self respecting ‘man’ wants to admit that his buddy got him drunk and forced a snake in his cave.

    Right before I set foot on Okinawa, there was a sergeant managing a barracks on one of the bases out here. All the new Pfc’s and LCpl’s that would come through, he would take them out and get them drunk or just bring a bottle by their room, and then when they were wasted, he would give them oral sex. Then when they were coherent enough, he would tell them that they can’t report him because then everyone would know that they were gay. Somehow that worked, and it took 2 years for someone to speak up.

    I don’t know, it just seems that all the services attract these men who think they are the epitome of manliness. They center their lives around drinking and sex, and after a while, at least with the Marines it seems, they get it in their head that they are untouchable and start doing whatever they want. It doesn’t help that sexual jokes and rape jokes prevail in the smoke pit. And no one gives a second thought to a female being around, because they are expected to live up to the men’s expectations so that they can show they are just as worthy of the title. So, when barracks whores run low, it turns to rape season.

    I had to throw some chick out of my room a few months back, because I had just come back from drinking and she was trying to get some from me. I’m not the type to just throw my junk around, so when she started with all her touching and grabbing after she sat on my lap, I stood up, let her fall to the floor, and screamed her ass out of my room. Never felt so good to make someone cry.

  • http://arthuride@wordpress.com Dr. Arthur Frederick Ide

    Rape has long been considered an act justified by god or one of his chosen men. It was Lot, the nephew of Abraham, who offered his two daughters to “the people of Sodom” (men and women) and when they did not rape the girls, the girls made their father drunk and had sex–and became pregnant by him (Gen. 19:33-37f). Even Mary was raped by god “who found favor” in her–leading to the birth of the bastard Jesus. It is everywhere in the bible. Not until the bible is reclassified as a fictional work of horror and discarded will any mortal be free.

  • Rob

    When someone in the military is a victim of rape, he or she can choose the restricted reporting option or the unrestricted reporting option. The restricted option, which Sgt Harvrilla chose, emphasizes privacy over legal action and means that medical and sexual assault specialists take care of the victim without informing law enforcement or the victim’s chain of command. Prosecution can be pursued later on, but only if the victim eventually waives the right to anonymity under restricted reporting. (Constitutional necessity, because the defendant has a right to know who the accuser is).

    I’m not saying that the system is perfect, but the reason why the alleged rapist is walking free is either because an investigator thought that there wasn’t enough evidence for a case, or because Sgt Havrilla declined to press charges.

  • http://ohmatron.wordpress.com Custador

    I blogged this issue for Daniel at unreasonablefaith.com about a year ago. I was stunned when I looked into it; 30% of female veterans reported an attempted or completed rape. Wow. Just wow. Linky.

  • http://provisionalatheist.blogspot.com/ Pepe

    What happened here was atrocious, but I have to step in to defend the military as a whole. The Department of Defense is actively trying to change its culture and is making progress in changing beliefs about sexual assault and sexual harassment. Slower than we would like, but it is happening. The victim chose to report the assault through restricted reporting and that ties the hands of the military to take action. Basically there are a handful of people that can take a restricted report, like the chaplain or the sexual assault reduction coordinator. They are not allowed to report the incident to anyone else without the victim’s permission. If she had told someone in her chain of command it would have been an unrestricted report and action could have been taken against the shithead. This system is in place to encourage the victim to seek help when they fear taking action against their attacker.
    Now, on the other hand… the chaplain in question should be court martialed.

  • Aimee

    I am a spouse of a Airman living overseas and he has heard so many stories of assault and rape of servicemen and women and spouses that he doesn’t even like me going on base without him.

    I read this article and I’m glad someone picked it up because its really been eating at me. They are trying to change the culture in the military to be better, but its really hard. Especially with the (somehow) religious inspired sexism that gets encouraged. I read the comments (I know terrible idea) on the yahoo article and they made me sick. Its not just the military culture that needs to change. The US as a whole has way too much of a victim blaming, woman-shouldn’t-do-man’s-work attitude. Because even if there were no women *in* the military (as many suggest) there are still wives and daughters, family and friends of men who are at risk. My mom and I were both raped when my dad was in service. Its terrifying to be here, with children. But my husband is an amazing serviceman – exactly the kind of person we need in our armed forces – and his job is important.

    On our base there is a steady stream of advice for assault prevention and what to do in case it happens. There are required briefings they all have to go to as well. I don’t know how much it helps, but its more than they had when my dad was in the Air Force.

  • Steve

    Read the full PDF with all cases. What’s common to all of them is that there is a systematic culture of not “rocking the boat”. People are coerced into not making reports and those who do (especially when they make an official allegation) are shunned and harassed for it. Even have their careers ruined for speaking up. So it’s no wonder some choose to make restricted reports. Most decide not to say anything at all because they know the consequences for speaking up.

  • AngryAznMan

    It’s a disgrace that the US’s armed forces has such high incidence of rape on it’s female members. I do not understand why soldiers are not executed for this crime. It not just violates the victim in such a heinously irreversible way, it destroys the trust necessary that soldiers/sailors/airmen need to perform their duties.

    If not execution…the lash used to be an acceptable form of military punishment. It should be revived for this.

  • Liz

    Disgusting. I’ve heard many stories like this…one of many reasons I hate the military.

  • http://provisionalatheist.blogspot.com/ Pepe

    Liz, et al,

    People get away with heinous crimes in all sectors of society. Religious people say stupid things regardless of military affiliation. The worst thing you can truthfully say about the military in this regards is that they don’t live up to their claim that they hold thier people to a higher standard. As a Senior NCO in the Air Force, this is how I see it; whatever else we pretend to be, in reality we are a reflection of our society at large, because we’re made up of people just like you.

  • Liz

    I’m pretty sure that in the larger society crimes are usually investigated and rape victims are not told that accusing their superiors of sexual assault would ‘be a bad career move’. I’m also pretty sure that if you didn’t want to be around the person who raped you, you could get an order of protection as opposed to being told to work beside your rapist, live in the same building as your rapist and ‘work out your differences’ with no other options.

  • Liz

    Also it’s horrible that Chaplains are some of the only people military members can go to for any sort of resort or advice. My AF husband shouldn’t have to talk to some religious man, whose main advice is go to church or try praying, when he is having problems with superiors that don’t care about his mental well-being whatsoever.

  • leigh

    Randy, I HAVE A HARD TIME BELIEVING YOU! I believe you to be no differnt from those in the military that turn a blind eye.
    My niece was raped repeatedly by a family member in the military. The military not only knew about it but participated and helped to cover it up and keep the person in command. The medical military also covered up an STD that she had at age FOUR. There are two kinds of people in the military just like there are two kinds of cops

  • Chgochick

    Women around the world need a new position on rape, Train our girls from very young to use a straight razor, Teach them how to keep it extremely sharp and how to use it to CUT IT OFF, Keep your razor close and learn to CUT IT OFF, but never call the police or a doctor, just walk away and cut it into pieces. Then men can figure out that women are dangerous you only need a few dozen to have it cut off for men to understand. Every woman in the military should have a straight razor and they should be cutting them off, DAILY. Maybe then they will take it seriously. Then make sure you don’t call for help, because they will be sure you were asking for it anyway..

  • Peter Mahoney

    The chaplain is right, from a theological view….essentially just a version of “The Lord works in mysterious ways…”

    … yeah like: Malaria, cancer, AIDS, starvation, still births, suicides, murders, oppression, poverty, priests raping little children, natural disasters, eternal suffering in hell…..

    but God does it all because he LOVES you!

    Mysterious ways indeed.

  • Christina

    As a young woman who’s seriously considering joining the Air Force, this enrages, disappoints, and terrifies me.

  • Brian

    If there were a “god”™, it is inexorably logical that EVERYTHING that happens is the will of “god”™. Free will is impossible. However, free will is also impossible in an atheistic universe.

    Ah, well, it’s a lovely illusion.

  • Michelle

    Randy, I’d also be curious what you think about the military being forced to investigate hundreds of cases related to child pornography and abuse.

    Rob, please stop with the apologetics. Plenty of the service women did everything they could to report their rape, only to have their supervisor fail to file, or file a report contradicting their story, deny or lose a rape kit. It’s recommended that everyone record their conversations because information changes in different hands. “Not enough evidence” is often an opinion independent of actual resources. STOP BLAMING THE WOMEN for the mishandling of their assault.

  • Evans Uncle

    This story is so one sided. Why did she wait a month before reporting it? I bet dollars to donuts she was his fwb and she only reported this when the relationship took a wrong turn. I am so sick of these one sided stories making everyone look bad, holding the “victim” blameless. Had she reported his misdeeds from the very begining, he would have his stripes ripped from his sleeve! She had a responcibility in this affair, and she was trained by the Army on how to take care of it. The part about the chaplain is a “She said”…consider the source.

  • Rob

    Michelle…where in my comment do you think I’m blaming the victim? “Not enough evidence” can come from a failure to file a charge, a mishandled rape kit, or a failure to record conversations…none of which are the victim’s fault, but are still grounds to not pursue a prosecution or secure a conviction.

    I am not blaming the women. It is a well known fact that rape is one of the hardest crimes to prosecute because it so often a case of “he said/she said,” where the physical evidence is circumstantial or not properly preserved.

    I hate that rape is a common occurrence in the military and that it is so hard to prosecute. But…what are we to do? Start giving the accused rapist a presumption of guilt, and force him to prove his innocence? I am not blaming the victim by supporting the notion that the prosecution has to prove the defendant guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. You can’t correct one injustice by committing another injustice.

  • Randy

    Randy, I’d also be curious what you think about the military being forced to investigate hundreds of cases related to child pornography and abuse.

    What should I think about it? Do you think because from the information given in the post I have issues with her story I don’t think crime should be investigated? Thats stupid!

    I see most of your vaunted “critical thinking” skills are cut off depending on the subject. Seeing none of us have the actual facts of the case just her statement given in this blog. Personally I think your anti-religious bias is convicting the chaplin who I REALLY doubt said that.

    Beyond the fact that the perpetrator was in a position of power over the people witnessing this (as Lissa & Jim said), and the fact that the military is fairly well known for not ratting out their own

    And it is well known and documented that people will say and do stupid and illegal things to get out of a deployment.

    Again, I’m not saying it didn’t happen. But you see the power a women has by making an accusation like this?

  • Steve

    @Rob
    The point the lawsuit makes is that the military creates a culture where people are encouraged to not make reports in the first place.

    They are harassed by friends of the accused and their superiors. At best they are called troublemakers and punished for raising their voice. Some are discharged. If they are transferred, their new commands are told they are troublemakers and the harassment follows them there.

    That has to stop. No, not all rapes are prosecuted. But in the military, the rate is far lower than in the civilian world.

    Hell, this is the harmless part. The people that survived. One to two dozen of the so-called “suicides” or “non-combat related deaths” of women in Iraq or Afghanistan actually show signs or wrongdoing, i.e. rape and murder. Also covered up.

  • andrew

    Cant help but have tears running down my face….wtf!

  • http://anekyu.com Hybride

    Rape is ethical, murder is not.

    Hm, seems god has some issues he needs to work out.

  • altar ego

    @ Evans Uncle– I sincerely doubt that anyone in the military would report a rape if it didn’t actually happen, especially considering the victim-blaming they are always dragged through. What, really, would be the point of reporting a rape that didn’t happen? Embarrassing oneself? Reminding oneself just how woefully inadequate the military’s response to rape is? Sexual assault happens in the military, a lot. And so what if she didn’t report it right away? That doesn’t mean it didn’t happen. As a rape survivor, I can tell you that reporting it right away can be absolutely terrifying. And maybe the damn army needs to do a better job of teaching its soldiers not to rape, as opposed to teaching its soldiers how to report a rape.

  • Demonhype

    Thank you, alter ego, for pointing that out to Evans Uncle. He is showing the same attitude my dad had about atheists–ie: that he doesn’t trust someone who just up and, just like that, says “there’s no god” one fine day, and I had to enlighten him as to the rather hefty and varied consequences open atheists face in the real world and why would someone idly and frivolously start identifying as an atheist if they don’t mean it, when the consequences are severe in a ways that believers don’t have to deal with? No, atheists are just flighty and absurd people who don’t really mean what they say and are just lashing out. Riiight.

    Same kind of BS here, that “the bitches is lying”, that “wimmens are just making baseless claims cuz they is whorez”, and such, whether he’s blatantly lying or simply ignorant of the horrible reality that faces any woman who tries to prosecute a rape even outside the military–which seems to be even more of a nightmare inside the military. Yeah, these women are totally making frivolous claims to get back at an ex-boyfriend or some other guy who pissed them off. Every single one. Not one legitimate claim. Because, after all, it’s SO DAMNED EFFECTIVE, isn’t it? It’s not like they’re persecuted, demonized, criminalized, abused, and otherwise punished for having even spoken up at all, is it? No, it’s teh poor menz who are being wronged here by lying whorez, aren’t they?

  • Trisbreya

    A lot of great comments on here. Personally I think everyone involved, from the rapists to those not doing their jobs properly and seeing to it that these issues got handled, deserves to face a firing squad. If I were one of the female soldiers I’d give those pieces of shit a taste of their own medicine, they want to play rough they should be prepared to get their asses kicked or shot. As for the chaplain he is clearly delusional and unstable(what else is new), also religion has no place in the army. I’ll bet that if religion stayed out of politics altogether(like it’s supposed to)we would have a lot less war on our hands and things could be dealt with in a more rational manner.

  • Eric Pepke

    Is there a link to that “one particular story”?

  • shanti2

    As a former US Army soldier and a female I can tell you that rapes by fellow soldiers go on all the time. It is rarely reported because the command structure doesn’t want to deal with it or thinks we deserve it. There has been an increase in rapes even at places like the Military Academies but if reported then the female is the one to be verbally attacked or forced out of service. The military can say all they want about dealing with this but they really aren’t because they really don’t give a crap.

  • JJ

    @Randy: A woman actually having power? Oh no, the horror!

  • Trololo

    Probably was asking for it.

    Sluts these days. Tsk tsk.

  • Chele

    Okay, I was never military but I was sexually abused as a child and raped as an adult. If someone can spring for the air fare and the dildo and hold that chaplain down for me, I’ll strap it on and tell him God told me to rape him.

  • jimm

    So the good chaplain agrees that the god he worships is a terrible god who hates women and enjoys inflicting pain and death. And he recommends the victim get to know this god better?
    It seems the military has abandoned the mental health requirement for enlistees, or makes an exception for religious illness. The military would do well to purge itself of such nutcases.

  • http://www.andyalcock.org/ Andrew (Andy) Alcock

    The moral of this story is perfectly clear – to avoid rape and other catastrophes, go to church more often!

    Alternatively, it might have been preferable for the victim to have changed her chaplain or, even better, consulted a properly qualified professional who could have provided effective support and assistance in such circumstances.

    It should be noted that even in the US, not all chaplains are nutty, right wing fundamentalists, but sadly, probably most are!

  • Anon

    I wish I could tell you how many ways I was told it was god’s will and I had something to learn from it, when I was date-raped by a christian friend. Oy.

  • http://twitter.com/bazblackadder Barry Evans

    Basically we take the ” It was  God’s Plan” and  ”Start going to church more often”   put them together, and get his full meaning of “You DESERVED IT for noting going to church enough before” Such stories as this are disgusting, but not ever surprising [given the past history of the religious], which is a disgusting thought in itself.