Ms. magazine  -- more than a magazine a movement

SIGN UP FOR MS. DIGEST, JOBS, NEWS AND ALERTS

FEMINIST WIRE NEWSBRIEFS

ABOUT
SEE CURRENT ISSUE
SHOP MS. STORE
MS. IN THE CLASSROOM
FEMINIST DAILY WIRE
FEMINIST RESOURCES
PRESS
JOBS AT MS.
READ BACK ISSUES
CONTACT
RSS (XML)
 
feminist wire | daily newsbriefs

February-15-11

Case Announced Against Sexual Assault in the Military

A press conference was held this morning to announce a lawsuit filed by attorney Susan Burke in the Eastern Virginia federal court against former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates for failing to prevent, investigate, and prosecute the sexual assault and rape of the 17 plaintiffs. The plaintiffs in the case are veteran and active-duty service members from the Army, Navy, Marines, Coast Guard, and Reserves who were sexually assaulted, raped, or harassed by active duty military members.

Eleanor Smeal, President of the Feminist Majority Foundation, Anuradha Bhagwati, Executive Director of Service Women's Action Network and a former Captain in the Marines, and Keith Rohman, President of Public Interest Investigators, spoke in support of the survivors and were joined by three of the plaintiffs in the case.

Smeal explained that 95 percent of rapes and assaults are committed by serial rapists and repeat offenders and that the military system of inadequately dealing with these crimes leads only to more crime. It must be changed so that perpetrators are punished, not promoted. Smeal asserted, "There are no winners here. This lawsuit is necessary because all else has failed and it is necessary to change this pattern. We will prevail because there is no question that this injures the victims, their families, the military, and all of us. It will take time but we will and must prevail."

According to a 2003 study by the Veterans Affairs Medical Center, at least one-third of all women veterans have experienced rape or sexual assault during their service, and thirty percent of military women experience domestic violence. Moreover, rape occurs in the military nearly twice as often as in the civilian world. Members of the US House of Representatives, including Susan Davis (D-CA), Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Louise Slaughter (D-NY), and Jane Harman (D-CA) have pressed the military to address sexualized violence, working on task forces and proposing legislation.

Bhagwati stated, "It is time to finally acknowledge that the military judicial system is broken when it comes to case of rape, sexual assault, and sexual harassment, and that an alternative system must be created to guarantee accountability and justice for these crimes. American youth should not sacrifice their right to bodily integrity when they step forward to serve our nation. They bravely and honorably volunteer to wear the uniform with the understanding that they may make the ultimate sacrifice. That is enough to ask of them."


Media Resources: Ms. Magazine Spring 2010; Statement of Eleanor Smeal 2/15/11; Statement of Anuradha Bhagwati 2/15/11


© Feminist Majority Foundation, publisher of Ms. magazine

If you liked this story, consider making a tax-deductible donation to support Ms. magazine.

 

 

Send to a Friend
Their
Your
Comments
(optional)


More Feminist News

10/22/2014 Students Protest Fordham University's Anti-Birth Control Policy - Students at Fordham University are engaged in a battle against the New York City Catholic school's anti-birth control policy. Students for Sex & Gender Equality and Safety (SAGES) has launched a petition drive, calling on Fordham to provide free and confidential access to birth control and STI testing on-campus, free condoms, professional gynecological services at the university, and resources for pregnant women, among other things. . . .
 
10/22/2014 Doctors Warn That Measure 1 Would End In Vitro Fertilization in North Dakota - Doctors at North Dakota's only clinic offering in vitro fertilization (IVF) are speaking out to warn voters that Measure 1, a proposed personhood amendment in the state, would make the practice illegal. Dr. . . .
 
10/21/2014 Afghanistan's New First Lady Advances Women's Issues - Just a few days after moving to the presidential palace, Afghanistan's new First Lady Rula Ghani said that she hopes to encourage greater respect for women. Rula Ghani already broke tradition by participating in her husband, Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai's, campaign for President. . . .