Rape Charges Continue to Unfold at Air Force Academy; Pentagon Criticized for Disbanding Sexual Assault Committee
With widespread reports of sexual assault against female cadets continuing to surface at a Colorado Air Force Academy, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has come under fire for disbanding a panel that addressed sexual assault throughout the military. In February 2002, Rumsfeld allowed the charter on the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services (DACOWITS) to expire after anti-feminist reactionary groups claimed that the panel was fostering “radical feminism” and was no longer needed because “women had been fully integrated into the military,” the New York Times reported.
A recent rash of reports that officials at the Colorado Springs Air Force Academy were allegedly punishing women cadets who reported sexual assaults by fellow students is just one example of widespread problems with sexual harassment and abuse for women in the military. In 1995, more than one in three women had been exposed to “unwelcome deliberate physical contact of a sexual nature,” and would hesitate to report incidents for fear of punishment, according to a study by the General Accounting Office of the US Congress as reported in the Times. More than 70 to 80 percent of women at military academies had experienced recurrent sexual harrasment, the same study showed. The DACOWITS allowed women to address issues of sexual abuse and harassment in private and helped them to take action.
“Every female cadet gets labeled in the first year,” one female Air Force Academy cadet who chose to remain anonymous for fear of retribution told the Washington Post. “You’re either a slut or a prude. If you date anybody, you’re automatically a slut, and the other guys think you’re fair game. If a woman has a problem, everybody knows you’d better not report it, because the commandant’s office will side with the guys.”
There have been 96 reports of sexual assault to the Academy’s rape hotline since 1996; only 20 cases have been formally investigated, eight cadets have been dismissed, and no cadets have been court-martialed for assault. In addition, high-ranking officials have been accused; one victim recently reported that she had been assaulted by a colonel, according to the Times. Meanwhile, a 13-year-old participant in a sports camp on the academy grounds reported that she was assaulted by a 22-year-old cadet, the Times reported.
Media Resources: New York Times 3/2/03; Washington Post 2/28/03; Associated Press 3/2/03
1/23/2015 #HeForShe Campaign Launches Pilot Effort Aimed at Institutional Equality - The United Nations' gender equality campaign #HeForShe has launched a new program called IMPACT 10X10X10.
United Nations Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson, together with UN Women Executive DirectorPhumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, introduced the one-year pilot effort aimed at encouraging corporations, universities, and governments to play an active role in enhancing women's empowerment and equality in Davos, Switzerland today at the World Economic Forum.
"Women need to be equal participants in our homes, societies, in our governments, and in our workplaces," Watson said.
First introduced in September, HeForShe is a solidarity movement that calls on men and boys to confront gender inequalities that face women and girls globally. . . .
1/22/2015 BREAKING: House to Vote on Abortion Coverage Ban - After they were forced to scrap plans for a 20-week abortion ban, House Republican leaders decided late last night to instead ram through a vote today on a different extreme anti-abortion bill.
House Republicans are now pushing HR 7, a bill promoted as a ban on federal funding of abortion that would actually prevent women from using their own money to purchase health insurance that includes abortion care. . . .
1/22/2015 House Cancels Abortion Ban After GOP Congresswomen Drop Support - House Republicans cancelled plans to vote on a 20-week ban on abortion after Republican Congresswomen removed their names publicly as co-sponsors of the bill.
The vote on the unconstitutional 20-week ban had originally been scheduled for today, the anniversary of Roe v. . . .