Home > Joshua Snow, Politics > Military Sex Crimes: Who Protects the Troops?

Military Sex Crimes: Who Protects the Troops?

This is a little off-topic for Datahaven, but I posted it earlier on our political sister-site, The Smoke-Filled Bunker. I thought I should re-post here, not only to raise awareness, but also to let my inner rage out in a more…ragey place. Today I’m going to discuss something near and dear to my heart, because Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has saw fit to do so as well: sex crimes. Panetta has recently announced that new training will be introduced to lower the number of sexual assaults occurring amongst the members of the United States Armed Forces.

The United States military branches collectively field 1,456,862 individuals, and Panetta has expressed a belief that as many as 19,000 sexual assaults occurred within that group in the last year. That’s a sex crime for every 76 military personnel. That comes in at roughly 13 per 1000 capita, over 32 times the national average in the civilian population.

Thirty. Two. Times. You know what? Let’s assign every platoon a professional dick-puncher. He’ll wear a big spiked gauntlet hooked up to a seven-trillion volt TASER powered by Tyrannosaurus souls, and he’ll dick-punch anyone who even remotely looks rapey.

The fact that most of the articles covering Panetta’s changes are short (in the 250-word range) and listed at the bottom of the page shows a huge discrepancy in what outrages Americans, and what should outrage Americans. If you are not outraged by the end of this article, you a) don’t mind repeated use of the words dick-punch; b) secretly dream of delivering a Johnny Cage-style dick-punch; or c) don’t care about the plight of sexual assault victims, and I have just emailed you your certified, nuclear-powered, 50-ton dick-punch.

You can’t say all the assaults are man-on-woman, either, so the argument against female soldiers holds no water – much occurs in combat zones or on combat vessels where women don’t serve.

On the other hand, women make up 20% of the United States Armed Forces, and roughly 1 in 5 American women have been sexually assaulted. By that logic, at least4% of America’s militarily has been literally raped (not the figurative, driven from battle by your enemies way. That’s strictly in Conan films).

It doesn’t help that, among the civilian population, 75% of sex crimes go unreported. Among the military, that percentage is expected to be even higher, because soldiers have a huge burden on them to be tough. And I say, the victims are tough, tougher than beating Kid Icarus on the first try without dying while simultaneously juggling Velociraptors. The perpetrators, on the other hand? You feel that tingling in your groin? It’s your reproductive system bracing for a groin-seeking dick-punch missile.

I know from experience dealing with sexual assault victims in a professional capacity that it causes a trauma that never really heals. It leads to depression, suicidal tendencies, and general personal recklessness. As a bouncer at numerous venues across the Southeast, I’ve watched that behavior in patrons who had suffered assaults, and as part of support circles I’ve heard how it affects lives with ripples far beyond the victim. Our men and women in uniform deal with enough stress in their daily lives – combat stress, travel, upkeep, you name it – without their so-called brother-in-arms adding that trauma to their burden.  When a soldier is suffering from the kind of recklessness and depression that these assaults cause, I can only imagine how field effectiveness drops. Suddenly, you can’t trust the person watching your back because of their mental state, and neither you nor they can trust the guy watching your flank because you know he’s a dirtbag. When trust breaks down in any fast-paced environment, people get hurt that shouldn’t have. That applies to everything from soccer teams to construction crews to combat platoons.

Again, dick-punches. Or tear-gas enemas. That would get a man motivated, a little capsaicin in the colon. Probably inspire a suicide charge or two, or at least leave him on the pooper so long he’d be discharged with toilet paper in hand. The last dangerous guy in the world is stuck on the pooper reading Women’s Health.

All humor and rage aside, I want to salute Defense Secretary Panetta for enacting changes to protect our troops from those who would betray the trust their teammates place in them, and I hope that his new program (which does not include dick-punches, sadly enough) not only curbs this behavior, but encourages victims to come forward. We need to make examples out of these perpetrators, even if it’s just a dishonorable discharge or a one-way ticket to a warzone.  Our troops can’t do their jobs if they don’t know that everyone around them has their back and their trust.

I would also like to thank our people in uniform, not only for the usual – fighting abroad for their beliefs, making life better for millions at home and abroad – but for stoically continuing to believe, despite the hardships that are sometimes thrust upon them by circumstance. I hope this actually gets some real media coverage, as our little thanks to them.

 

Josh Snow is a skeptical transhumanist and some-time freelance writer. He’s done work with security companies and victim support groups that sometime make him really touch about rape topics. He doesn’t rant nearly as much on Twitter @ArkangelWinter

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