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THE MILITARY

June 14, 2013

I’m going to digress from my usual topic, Spousal Abuse, to discuss a related subject, the sexual assault problem in our armed forces.

There are many things that set our military men and women apart from the bulk of our general work force. They are pushed physically so that they will be combat ready. They live many months at a time away from their families, often in eerie foreign locations, in danger day and night. The authority of command is enforced for the protection of all of them in a battle situation. That battle situation may push some to emotional highs and ocean-deep lows.

While we respect the conditions under which our military serve, and the need for strong command, I do not feel that a “boss” should have the right to dismiss a criminal charge of sexual abuse against a subordinate. In the civilian work world, sexual harassment, an even lesser offense, is grounds for immediate dismissal without benefits. No matter whom you work for or what your job responsibilities are. Granted, it has not always been this way, but we as a nation are moving toward true equality between the members of a work force. The military operates in a bygone era on this one.

Sexual abuse is a human issue, not a military one. Women bring many useful and needed skills to the military; their sexuality is not one of them. Sexuality is personal and to be shared only on an individual basis. How can a group of men penalize their members for adultery and not for rape?

The aura of male superiority in the military often brings havoc when a man comes back from deployment. Family law attorneys and marriage counselors tell us that spousal abuse on a base increases when the troops come home. To their credit, the military does make an effort to ease their members back into the peaceful world, giving counseling on military home life. But it is not enough to counteract this phenomenon.

I must recognize that the military sexual abuse problem extends to men as well as women. However, this blog is directed toward protecting women. Therefore, I’ve limited this discussion to their abuse.

What do you think? Are you a victim of sexual abuse in the military? How did you handle it? We’d like to hear from you. Please e mail me at clw@clwoodhams.com or reply to or comment on this post.

Peace,

C. L. Woodhams, author
The Outreach Committee and Sweet Justice

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