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Stepping out of line: sexual assault in the military

by Nicholas Mazur - Copy Desk Chief
Tue, Oct 10th 2017 09:05 pm

The United States military sure is something else. No matter what your opinion is of it, you can’t deny that it sure is something else. I suppose we don’t have much to expect from an organization whose job it is to conduct warfare, whose most famous tracks include murder, rape, pillaging, genocide and ravaging.

However, for as much as the U.S. military would like you to believe that it is an organization where you find comrades like no together, and defend the American way, the statistics would seem to suggest otherwise. At the very least they’ll make you take a second look at just what the American way is.

The military preaches discipline, but seems unable to deliver on that policy. According to The Washington Post, amongst the myriad of cases regarding sexual assault in the military is the case of Air Force Colonel Ronald S. Jobo, who harassed a subordinate over texts, and even trapped her in an office several times trying to kiss her, leaving bruises on her arms.

As horrific as this sounds, it is only the tippy top of the very big iceberg. According to pbs.com, nearly 15,000 military members are sexually assaulted per year, and that 90 percent of those are handled in secret.

Where to begin? Let’s start with accountability. The military, and just the American military, has a long shameful history of shirking responsibility. Usually, however, the military is fleeing from something it did to other people, not to its own. If the military can’t even fight this moral degeneration amongst the ranks, what hope does the world have when we unleash these people upon them? Of every organization under the U.S. government, you would want the military to have the most accountability, to adhere to the strictest of standards.

I know that the military often does not produce on the freedom preserving rhetoric it spreads. However, I do believe that there are a lot of people who genuinely believe they can join the military and do some good. Whether or not that’s what the military does is a different question, but regardless there are people in the armed forces who just want to protect and defend something. Yet this is what they get, particularly women. They get abused by the people they are trained to trust with their lives. Where is their American justice? Where are those rights they were told they were fighting for? I guess nowhere, I guess their fates lie behind closed doors in secret hushes where no one can hear the shame that has infested the U.S. military.

I have never had a particularly rousing amount of patriotism and I’ve never been one to grovel at the great magnificent beneficent feet of the almighty military. However, whatever small sliver of respect I had for it goes right out the window with this. There will always be people who are evil, who take advantage of their position like Colonel Jobo. That is something that will never change and you cannot hide that. There are deep and visceral seeds of mistrust sewed when you lie, and the U.S. military planted those seeds a long time ago.

I can accept a mistake. Like I said, evil people never change and I cannot expect the military to keep them all out. What I cannot accept is being secretive about it, not dishing out justice, and not taking care of the soldiers in the military who need help. Jobo faced no criminal consequences for his actions, and that’s the whole point. There is nothing to fear for the bad guys in this story, and everything to fear for the good guys. The military is supposed to fight the bad guys and help the good guys. At least that’s what Hollywood tells me. I’d like to believe it, I’d love to look at a person in uniform and think proud American thoughts. But trust and respect are earned from honest hard work, not from waving a big flag and shouting about freedoms that are certainly more in danger from domestic powers than foreign ones.

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