By Lynn Hall: Last month, the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) released the results of their annual member survey, and the statistics regarding military sexual assault were, as always, alarming. Of the women who responded, thirty-five percent said they had been the victim of sexual assault while serving. Of those survivors, sixty percent did not report the crime. It’s easy to understand their reluctance when, of those who did report, seventy-one percent of the survivors said they experienced retaliation because of their accusations. I’m going to repeat that last figure: more than two thirds of the survivors who reported to their chain of command that they had been raped by a fellow soldier experienced retaliation.
By Helen Benedict and Lynn K. HallWhen it was reported in March that a Facebook group of some 30,000 members of the Marine Corps have been sharing nonconsensual nude photographs of female marines, it echoed all the other sexual abuse scandals in the military, stretching way back to Vietnam. The difference was that the perpetrators in this case used social media to spread the abuse beyond individual platoons to an audience of thousands.
Today is International Women’s Day, a global day to honor and celebrate the social, economic, cultural, and political accomplishments of women. Observed since the early 1900s, it marks a call to action for accelerating gender equality. This year’s campaign theme, #BeBoldForChange, implores us to help build a more inclusive, gender-equal world. It also coincides with the “Day Without a Woman” general strike, organized to bring attention to the inequalities women still face, including lower wages, vulnerability to discrimination, sexual harassment, and job insecurity. Women in thirty-five countries are participating in the strike.
According to the Center for Disease Control and RAINN (Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network), one in five women have experienced completed or attempted rape, and about three percent of American men—or one in thirty-three—have experienced an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime. Most victims first experienced sexual violence before age twenty-five. Statistics, however, only paint part of the picture, as most victims do not share or report these crimes to their family, friends, or the police.
The problem of military sexual harassment and assault is the subject of a documentary film, The Invisible War, which won the US Documentary Audience Award at this year's Sundance Film Festival.
The latest media hits and mentions for Beacon books and authors.
Helen Benedict talks about the lives of women in the military and a lawsuit recently brought against the Pentagon claiming that leadership fails to protect soldiers against sexual assault.
A look at recent Beacon Press media.
A few interesting tidbits from around the web.
A look at recent media appearances by Beacon Press authors.
A roundup of interesting stories on the blogs and Beacon books in the media.
Penny Coleman looks at the problem of sexual assault in the military, where just 8 percent of sexual assaults are referred to court martial and the victims have to pay for their own rape kits unless they are treated in military or VA facilities.
"To understand military sexual assault, let alone know how to stop it, we must focus on the perpetrators." Helen Benedict on why soldiers rape. "To us sofa slouchers, these teen Olympians are heroes. But they have the nation's pediatricians on...
by Helen Benedict Over this past year, I have talked to forty or so women soldiers for my forthcoming book, The Lonely Soldier: Women at War in Iraq, and it has become clear to me that they have a set...