The Real Victims of Sexual Assault in the Military … Men’s Careers?!?

So, this is kind of horrifying, but some individuals are actually arguing that women shouldn’t be allowed to serve in more military positions because when they do the rate of sexual assaults will go up, and that will ruin men’s careers. Yes, you heard that right. Men’s careers.

Here’s what leading anti-feminist Phyllis Schlafly had to say:

Military women are already complaining about increased sexual assaults, and of course those problems will skyrocket. Only men will be deemed at fault because it is feminist ideology that men are innately batterers and women are victims.

Um, what? If the rate of (male-on-female) sexual harassment goes up when women serve in combat positions, only men will be deemed at fault because only men will be at fault.

Another article places the blame as follows:

Given what is known about human relationships in war, it is far more likely that sexual assaults will increase when chronic problems evident in all other communities are extended into direct ground combat battalions. The cause will not be women — it will be poor judgment and flawed leadership among White House and Pentagon officials who are putting gender politics above the best interests of national security and the troops they lead.

See? It’s not men’s fault if they end up sexually assaulting the women serving with them! It’s the government’s fault—and the military’s fault—for putting those women right in front of them! Uh . . . right.

Then there’s this from when Kingsley Browne was interviewed by Samantha Bee on the Daily Show:

Browne: You have one or two women added to the group, and now everybody is vying for their attention.

Bee: So women are distracting.

Browne: They are distracting.

Bee: What if the woman is not heterosexual?

Browne: I don’t think that it matters.

Bee: They’re still going to try to hit that.

Browne: They’re still going to try to hit that.

Bee: *puts on a voice* I’d love to take out that insurgent, but check out the getaway sticks on Major Trumble over here! Boing, boing.

Browne: That’s really not a very funny thing because a sexual harassment charge is taken seriously and ruins careers.

Bee: Really.

Start at 1:25 in the following clip:

 

What in the world is going on here? The idea appears to be that men are somehow incapable of not sexually assaulting women. Women are just too tempting, and men just can’t control themselves. Does anyone realize just how demeaning this idea is to men? Men aren’t babies, and they aren’t toddlers throwing tantrums, they’re grown adults with the ability to control their own impulses. This idea that you can put the blame for sexual assault on anyone other than those committing that sexual assault, or that we should all feel sorry that getting caught sexually assaulting his comrade in arms might ruin a man’s career, is absurd.

Should we be concerned about sexual assault in the military? Absolutely! But we should put the responsibility where it belongs and stop acting like putting women in men’s units is like holding candy out to a toddler. Because you know what? Men aren’t toddlers and women aren’t candy. (Shocking, I know!)

For more on this topic, read this post on Fannie’s Room.

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About Libby Anne

Libby Anne grew up in a large evangelical homeschool family highly involved in the Christian Right. College turned her world upside down, and she is today an atheist, a feminist, and a progressive. She blogs about leaving religion, her experience with the Christian Patriarchy and Quiverfull movements, the detrimental effects of the "purity culture," the contradictions of conservative politics, and the importance of feminism.


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