Rape in the Military: Uniformed Code of Military Injustice

You've been raped

UCMJ – Unjustly Coddling Military Jerks

If you are a woman in the military you have to put up with a lot of shit. And any women who is in the military would like to tell you this but she has to contend with a few forces which make that almost impossible, so I am going to tell you for her. And lest you think this is about all men in the military, it isn’t. I served my time in the United States Navy,  and I am certain what I am about to say does not apply to every man in the military but it does apply to enough to make it both a cautionary tale and something I am ashamed to say is happening in ever-increasing numbers.

A woman is always reminded, using subtle or not so subtle jabs, that no matter how strong she are, or how smart she are, she will never be as good as a man, no matter the job, no matter the circumstance. That a woman only has one purpose for a man and when no one is within earshot he will be only too happy to tell you. And worse, if no one is around at the time, he may even show you. Forcefully.

The military is a paternalistic and patriarchal culture which tells you, if you are a woman, without saying it, you are a second-class citizen in what should be an all-males club. No good reason is ever made for why this should be an all male club; a woman should have the same right to fight and die for what she believes in as any man and that is really what it SHOULD be about, but it almost never is.

And yes, there are those men who will be decent to you, who will act as if you are a member of the team and they will mean it, while they are with you. When they return to the male only part of the armed force, they will be forced to admit women are inferior, they will be forced to admit, through peer pressure, through limited opportunities for advancement, through working the good-ole boy network, women are less than men. If they don’t, they don’t advance either.

This is a reflection of our current society. Where advancement in the military replaces money. Power and rank is a reflection of what you can do and who has to listen to you once you become powerful enough not to have to report what you don’t want to.

So what we have a sociopathic environment in which participation requires you either play the game, find your way around it, or accept what is being done and embrace secondary sociopathic tendencies. This is how good people end up doing bad things. If you want to get ahead, you want to play with the big boys, you want the rank, you want to go as far as the military allows, you will find, winnow and cull the weak. Those who won’t tow the party line, those who won’t allow the abuse, those who fight against what the military deems to be the Darwinian method of fitness. Survival by any means, and the weak shall perish.

This is an environment ripe for rape. And rape is everywhere. And it is not just women being raped. Men are suffering the same brutal treatment and there is just as little being reported about this phenomenon. We have another article this month addressing the fact that: Men are being sexually assaulted in the military but nobody is talking about it.

Getting justice comes at a price

Any woman, at any time, can if she is unfortunate enough, be on a base where an accused rapist has already been pardoned by a base commander as a “misunderstanding” or a “lack of evidence” and reassigned here as a means of keeping the accused rapist in the military because he is a “good soldier”.

On those times when a woman is willing to fall on her sword and do whatever it takes to bring a man to justice, and can find someone in the military willing to take her case, and a man is accused and tried by the UCMJ (Uniformed Code of Military Justice), he goes to the brig (military jail) for sixty days and given a dishonorable discharge. End of story. In the civilian world he would be, if convicted, looking at ten to fifteen years for rape.

But the woman suffers a far worse fate. For standing up to her attackers and the male-dominated culture of the military, she is expelled from the service, no matter how exemplary her time in the military has been. A reason is made, post-traumatic stress disorder is the current favorite, for having women who challenge the status quo removed without question.

The ultimate affront is to find so many of the people in charge of managing military staff, or should be protecting women from the horrors of rape, are being accused of sexual harassment, assault or rape themselves. Lt Colonel Jeffrey Krunsinski was accused of approaching and assaulting a woman in a parking lot. He was the chief of the sexual assault prevention and response branch. A second sergeant at Fort Hood, Texas has been investigated for pandering, abusive sexual contact and maltreatment of subordinates.

In 2012, 26,000 cases of sexual assault are estimated to have happened with only 3,500 actually being reported. If the people being reported to are themselves rapists or willing to assault, pander, or abuse their subordinates, who are the subordinates suppose to go to for recourse?

The military has proven it lacks the moral fortitude to prosecute rapists and protect its members from rape. The Uniformed Code of Military Justice, is toothless and the structures for reporting the crimes of sexual harassment, rape, abuse, are all far too easily swept under the hierarchical rug where one abuser can protect dozens under his control, if it is in his interest to do so. Judging from the staggering numbers, it is clearly time for a change.

This unfortunately will not help the women who have been harmed, twice.

Raped, abused, mistreated, then maligned, accused of falsehoods, then watching their abuser go free and go back to work while they are escorted to their barracks, made to pack their bags and head back to their homes as failures for defending their right to not have to be abused.

These are women who have made a sacrifice, sometimes of family, to be away from home, to handle harsh physical conditions, tolerate cultures which may not give them the same respect as men, and yet they persevere, they endure, they carry the standards of a military which is supposedly out making the world safer for everyone. They are going to the hardest work you could ever learn to love, protecting a nation whose internal workings are not designed to protect them.

Is this the best we can do?

It better not be. I didn’t serve my nation to watch the supposed best we have to offer become the worst in my lifetime.  All of you so-called leaders at the Pentagon with your shiny brass and all too impressive breadboards, you are not living up to the standards I was willing to die for. You were fond of telling me while I was a member of the military to give it my all, to fight the good fight until there was nothing left. Well, gentlemen. I would say you have come up short. This cannot be your all.

There are women and men who are depending on you to lead them into battle, whether it be on foreign soil or in a domestic barracks. They are expecting to be safe with the men under your commands, expecting no matter what conditions they may find themselves, the last thing they will be forced to do is endure indignities and assaults.

The time where this could be considered acceptable is over. Just so we are clear, it was never acceptable. But what I have learned about large organizations, is they stay the same until someone acknowledges there is a problem. We are now aware there is a problem and it must be done away with. The same way we did away with keelhauling as a cruel and unnecessary punishment, the same way we did away with slavery as an affront to our nation’s ethical standards, the same way we stopped putting children in unsafe conditions in coal mines and factories, we must now stop accepting rape as a price of service in the military.

The fear of assault undermines the very fabric of trust necessary on the field of battle. It destroys the sense of pride and honor every soldier, male or female, wants to have when they don their uniform or gird their loins for battle. Armies win battles, face enemies, withstand hardship based on the strength of their morale. Sexual harassment, assault, and rape, if they are a hidden part of your culture undermines morale, destroying your military from within. You must stop this, lest one day you find no one willing to serve.

My commanding officers were fond of reminding me we were part of the finest fighting forces on Earth. I think its time for the leaders of the Pentagon and of the civilian agencies which provide oversight to the military, to take another look.

Some of the shine has worn off. I am certain you still extol your troops to do better, daily. I remind you now, of the same. Do better.

Thaddeus Howze, Operations Specialist Third Class, retired, USN


The Invisible War, documentary, June 2012

The academy-award nominated documentary has helped bring the military’s rape crisis to national attention. Filmmakers interviewed victims and military personnel to reveal the overwhelming obstacles to prosecuting military rape, and how inadequate efforts have been so far to curbing sexual assault.

Trauma Sets Female Veterans Adrift Back Home, New York Times, February 2013

According to the Pentagon report, 48,100 women (and 43,700 men) reported military sexual trauma last year, which studies say makes them nine times more likely to suffer from PTSD. This two-part New York Times series documents the struggles facing women veterans who’ve suffered from sexual assault, including homelessness and unemployment.

The Rape of Petty Officer Blumer, Rolling Stone, February 2013

The story of one naval officer’s rape details the consequences victims face for coming forward — consequences that keep most victims from reporting sexual attacks. After telling her superiors she had been raped, Rebecca Blumer was accused of lying, sexually harassed, denied promotions and ultimately discharged.

Rape victims say military labels them ‘crazy’, CNN, April 2012

A CNN investigation found another way the military handles rape accusations: labeling victims as emotionally unstable. After reporting a sexual assault, multiple service members were diagnosed with a personality disorder and discharged. Their abuse allegations were ignored.

The Enemy Within, National Journal, September 2012

What is it about the military that makes sexual assault so pervasive? The National Journal digs into the policies behind the statistics, and the legal loopholes exploited by sexual predators.

Pentagon grapples with sex crimes by military recruiters, Washington Post, May 2013

Active service members aren’t the only ones vulnerable to sexual assault. A recent series of scandals across the country exposed military recruiters accused of sexually abusing young people looking to enlist.

Betrayal in the Ranks, The Denver Post, 2004

The Denver Post spoke with more than 60 victims about their battle for justice, and the psychological trauma that lasted long after their assault. Many felt the military blamed them for their rape, while shielding their attackers from punishment.

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So where is Hagel to begin?  One problem with the military’s refusal to accept outside help is that it has led to a fox guarding the henhouse scenario.  In many cases, the very people tasked with stamping out the scourge of rape have been committing sexual crimes themselves:

Earlier this year, Virginia Messick recounted her rape at the hands of her training instructor at Lackland Air Force Base. (Her attacker is now serving a 20 year sentence for crimes involving a total of 10 women)

This month, the chief of the Air Force sexual assault prevention unit Lt. Col Jeffrey Krisinski  was arrested and charged with sexual assault.

Also this month, the manager of the sexual assault response program at Fort Campbell Lt. Col. Darin Haas was arrested and charged with stalking and violating a restraining order.

The Army is currently investigating sexual abuse educator Sgt First Class Gregory McQueen at Fort Hood, Texas, for persuading a female soldier to prostitute herself and for sexual assault of another soldier.

And, finally, Chuck Hagel has ordered a review of a case in which an Air Force general dismissed charges against a lieutenant colonel who was convicted of sexual assault. (Lt. Col. James Wilkerson was convicted by a military panel of sexual assault on a civilian employee.  He was sentenced to one year in prison and dismissed from the Air Force.  Lt. Gen. Craig Franklin reviewed the evidence and overturned the conviction.)

Legitimate Rape Shall Rise Again


Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-GA) said he doesn’t “find anything so horrible” about making the distinction between “legitimate rape versus non-legitimate rape”

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Rep. Phil Gingrey, a Republican of Georgia, knows that comments about rape have cost fellow Republicans their seats in Congress. But that didn’t stop him from wading deep into controversial territory during a breakfast meeting in his home state, reports the Marietta Daily Journal.  The lawmaker talked mostly about gun control but then opened the floor up for questions and was asked about abortion. And that’s when Gingrey, who made sure to point out he has been an OB-GYN since 1975, mentioned controversial comments about rape and pregnancy made by former Reps. Todd Akin of Missouri and Richard Mourdock of Indiana, that many say contributed to their electoral losses last year. This is the Journal’s account of what Gingrey said next:

“In Missouri, Todd Akin … was asked by a local news source about rape and he said, ‘Look, in a legitimate rape situation’ — and what he meant by legitimate rape was just look, someone can say I was raped: a scared-to-death 15-year-old that becomes impregnated by her boyfriend and then has to tell her parents, that’s pretty tough and might on some occasion say, ‘Hey, I was raped.’ That’s what he meant when he said legitimate rape versus non-legitimate rape. I don’t find anything so horrible about that. But then he went on and said that in a situation of rape, of a legitimate rape, a woman’s body has a way of shutting down so the pregnancy would not occur. He’s partly right on that.”…

“And I’ve delivered lots of babies, and I know about these things. It is true. We tell infertile couples all the time that are having trouble conceiving because of the woman not ovulating, ‘Just relax. Drink a glass of wine. And don’t be so tense and uptight because all that adrenaline can cause you not to ovulate.’ So he was partially right wasn’t he? But the fact that a woman may have already ovulated 12 hours before she is raped, you’re not going to prevent a pregnancy there by a woman’s body shutting anything down because the horse has already left the barn, so to speak. And yet the media took that and tore it apart.”

Posted Friday, Jan. 11, 2013, at 10:59 AM PT

I tried to post my letter in response on their board but I suspect the censors were displeased with my answer:

Dear Republicans,

Have you learned nothing from Todd Akin? Have you failed to understand no matter what stupid ideas you present, the only person you are hurting is yourselves (and by proxy, your constituents)? To be fair, you are either, not representing them well at all, or worse you are, and this is a statement as to the capabilities of the folk in your districts. But I choose to believe you hid your ignorance well, under a fine suit, with honeyed words, with promises of pork-barrel largess if you were elected. Who knew beneath all of that refinement and Southern charm, lurked the heart of an ignorant, barely-civilized, misogynistic bigot. Now I don’t mean you, I mean your behavior, is that of a bigot. You may be a fine upstanding citizen who only sounds like a bigot.

All things considered I want to say, perhaps Mr. Gingrey, you simply don’t know of what you speak. You are, after all, a product of the American education system, not currently known for its excellence. You may have gotten a degree from a university which may have cut science and human biology which may explain your inexcusable ignorance of the human condition regarding sexuality AND rape. Since you are not a woman, I will even try to excuse your lack of understanding of female physiology because let’s face it, even women have difficulties understanding their bodies at times. Oh wait, you were supposedly involved in the medical industry at some point. An OB/GYN? That might make you the worst practitioner ever. I pity your former clients.

What I cannot excuse is your inability to, when in the presence of the media, speak on things you know absolutely nothing about? I thought you were supposed to be a politician, a person who is supposed to be leading and guiding the nation into making good decisions around issues of the PUBLIC good. If you are going to be a rape advocate, meaning you are going to tell women they should understand “rape happens” and if it happens “they won’t get pregnant” because their mystical vaginal powers of “seminal extermination” will resolve the issue, then, sir, you have proven beyond a shadow of a doubt, of both your ignorance of the human condition, of which you are supposed to be advocating for, the state of women in this nation and across the world who are raped, sold into sexual slavery, abused, and murdered for the sake of men with minds similar to yours.

You are a disgrace to the idea of Republican ideals (not the current madness, the Neo-Republicans are espousing, another totally different can of worms) of decency, personal fortitude, and social responsibility. Your beliefs (which should not be part of how you are supposed to govern) are Medieval and parochial, at best, and would be quite at home in the 12th Century. But this is the 21st Century and you have an obligation to represent your constituents with intelligence, compassion, a concern for their lives, especially if they are different than your own.

Perhaps we should define this condition of yours and Mr. Todd Akin as its own particular brand of psychological instability. If we called it “Akin-Gingrey Syndrome” we might have to help people recognize it’s symptoms:

1. A complete lack of scientific understanding regarding human anatomy and physiology even if you went to school to study it.

2. Further ignorance of female reproduction and biological operation (even if you practiced medicine on women)

3. An inability to recognize women as human beings deserving of respect

4. An inability to recognize the statistics revolving around rape and pregnancy in the US. (32,000 rape victims per year become pregnant, not so rare)

5. A pathological inability to not seek out media attention to espouse such ridiculous ideas whenever possible.

6. An inescapable need to run for office to show as many people as possible just how ignorant you can be, in public.

7. The overwhelming urge to embarrass as many actual good Christians who don’t believe your particular brand of madness as possible.

8. A complete inability to know when to shut the fuck up and retire to one’s personal lair of insanity.

It is in my non-medical opinion, which so far is as good as your medical one, you suffer from ‘Akin-Gingrey Syndrome’ and from what I understand about the condition, there is no cure. Perhaps you should retire to your plantation in Georgia, drink tall frosty drinks, discuss your days in office with fondness, and never bother respectable folk again with your brand of complete ignorance and barely-contained sociopathic behavior.

Yours in disgust,

Thaddeus Howze @ebonstorm – (Acting MD, for the purposes of this article only)

Rape is God’s way of saying you should be pregnant…

As we enter the final stretch to the elections I am of a mind to speak truth to power: If you are a believer in the current information about the GOP and its latest “RAPE is God’s work” rants, you might not want to read this. You have been warned!

Even Rod Serling, in all of his insane genius, couldn’t have imagined something as crazy as this. Can you hear him saying: “Picture if you will, a government representative who has completely run off the rails. He is advocating the very concept that rape could have a good consequence. This could only happen in: The Twilight Zone.”

WASHINGTON — Indiana GOP U.S. Senate candidate Richard Mourdock declared Tuesday night he opposes aborting pregnancies conceived in rape because “it is something that God intended to happen.”

Debating Rep. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) in their final Senate race showdown, a questioner asked them and Libertarian candidate Andrew Horning to explain their views on abortion.

All three said they were anti-abortion. But Mourdock went further, putting himself in territory near Missouri GOP Senate candidate Rep. Todd Akin, the anti-abortion congressman who infamously asserted that women don’t get pregnant from “legitimate rape.”

“The only exception I have to have an abortion is in the case of the life of the mother,” said Mourdock, the Tea Party-backed state treasurer. “I struggled with it myself for a long time, but I came to realize life is that gift from God. I think that even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.”


We are in the home stretch of the elections. Now, the most horrifying, the most reprehensible ideas will fly free in face of an Obama re-election. We hear him being called every name possible, retard, illegal, communist. We hear threats against women becoming a fact of normal life, being supported by crazed representatives as if no one should question the very ideas being represented: rape is God’s work, women’s bodies can prevent pregnancy using magical powers, women deserve less pay for the same work, hell, women should just stay out of the electoral process and let men do all of the voting in the future.

Left to the insane people who are seeking office today:

Our children would work in factories and forgo education. They would be given a bible they could carry at lunch and be given religious indoctrination instead of education. After all, we know Jesus and the dinosaurs played together, he had a pet raptor and there is an entire museum, 70,000 square feet attesting to this.

Women would NOT vote, shop, leave home, be able to wear shoes, have jobs, or do anything without the express permission of men. EVER. They would be expected to stay pregnant, no matter who impregnated them; father, cousin, uncle, brother, NO MATTER. It’s God’s will.

Minorities would be shuffled off to prison as fast as vehicles could carry them. If there were borders they could be shuffled back across, they would be shipped post haste, no matter how long their families might have lived in this nation. If you LOOK like a minority, you ARE one and good riddance to you. I said, Good Day.

This would go back to being a GOOD CHRISTIAN NATION of xenophobes, racists, bigots and assholes who believe their religion gives them the right to oppress whomever doesn’t believe in it. That science is just a group of opinions that don’t matter even if our entire technological infrastructure might be based in it, when it comes to ideas like global warming or toxic environmental conditions due to manufacturing, it’s just conjecture, having no basis in fact. Pass my i-Gadget please, I want to surf the net and masturbate, but don’t tell my mistress or my wife, because I am going to the men’s only golf club later to check out the newest glory holes…right after I head out to N*ggerhead and hang the Blacks we keep in prison for our latest installment of the WAR ON DRUGS.

The only problem I have with this rant, is I simply don’t go far enough. There are far too many in this nation who are in positions of power who have been caught doing nearly all of these things and more and yet WE KEEP VOTING THEM INTO OFFICE.

“A nation gets the government it deserves.” What the hell does that say about the United States when we would accept representatives who believe RAPE IS AN ACT OF GOD, and the homeless should inherit the Earth?

This post was brought to you by your “Rape Representatives” in the Republican Party.

  • U.S. Senate candidate Richard Mourdock (R-IN), in a debate last night: “Even when life begins in that horrible situation of rape, that it is something that God intended to happen.”1
  • Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL), to reporters last week: “With modern technology and science, you can’t find one instance” of an abortion necessary to save a woman’s life. “There is no such exception as life of the mother, and as far as health of the mother, same thing.”2
  • Vice presidential nominee, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), mocking women’s issues to a group of conservative donors: “Now it’s a war on women; tomorrow it’s going to be a war on left-handed Irishmen or something like that.”3
  • Presidential candidate, Gov. Mitt Romney, asked earlier this month whether insurance companies should be required to cover contraception: “Well it’s a question as to, should you get a car painted, you know, red or blue. I mean you can decide which you’d like.”4

1 Indiana Senate Candidate Richard Mourdock: Pregnancy From Rape ‘Something God Intended’ — ABC News, October 24
2 Rep. Joe Walsh: Abortion never necessary to save women’s lives — The Hill, October 19
3 At Fla. fundraiser, Paul Ryan mocks ‘war on women’ — The Washington Post, October 18
4 Mitt Romney’s Contraception Strategy: Change The Subject — The Huffington Post, October 17