March 12th, 2014

Speech for International Women’s Day on the role of the military in the war on women

There were 3,553 sexual assault complaints reported to the Defense Department from October 2012-June 2012. During that same period, there were 219 casualties in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Soldiers were 15 times more likely to be raped by a comrade than to be killed by an enemy.

About 26,000 women and men in the military were sexually assaulted in 2012. About 75% of women her were assaulted did not report the attacks; about 76% of the men who were assaulted didn’t report their attacks either.

The Pentagon estimates that 85% of sexual assault crimes go unreported.

About 40% of victims in one study indicated that the perpetrator was their ranking officer.

During the reported period, only 302 service members faced punishment or dismissal as a result of being charged, which is less than 2.5% of the total suspected number of sexual assaults and rape, yet 62% of victims who reported sexual assault experienced retaliation.

48,100 women and 43,700 men who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, responding to a survey, acknowledged suffering from military sexual trauma.

According to the Department of Labor, between 20-48% of female veterans were sexually assaulted in the military. More women leave the military with post-traumatic stress disorder from rape than from combat.

In the past 25 years, more than 500,000 people have been sexually assaulted in the military.

90% of survivors of sexual assault in the military are involuntarily discharged.

80% of perpetrators and those accused are discharged with honor.

I could rattle off statistics all day about the abuses of the military, but I’d rather talk about fear. There is rampant fear within the military, to report abuses, to fight back, to speak out against this toxic atmosphere. There is fear outside of the military as well.

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November 26th, 2012

N17 Report from Atlanta!

N17 report sent to Stop Patriarchy from Atlanta, Georgia:

The Military Culture of “Be All You Can Be” Patriarchy

(Inside the military and in the lands they invade and occupy)

As a part of the Call “N17: Take to the Streets! Stop the War on Women!” by the movement to “End Pornography and Patriarchy: The Enslavement and Degradation of Women,”  Revolution Books Atlanta brainstormed with some people to come up with a bold expression that could be taken to the annual School of America’s Watch (SOAW) at Fort Benning, in Columbus, Georgia.   People come from all over the country (and some other parts of the world) to participate in the SOAW protest demanding the closing of the School of Americas because of its program of training reactionary armies from Latin America in CIA torture techniques, and consequently being responsible for torturing and murdering tens of thousands of people over the years.

Since the military is such a concentration of the oppression of women, we really wanted to expose the whole culture of patriarchy it embodies. We decided it would be important to have an interactive piece that would draw people in and find out their thoughts on the war on women.  We waited until we got to the protest to put it together in order to bring others into the process on the spot.  Three women enthusiastically took it up right away.  The title of the piece was “The Military Culture or ‘Be All You Can Be’ Patriarchy (Inside the Military and in the Lands they Invade and Occupy).”

We had a very bright piece of yellow felt that was 7’ x 8’. One of the women lied down and her body was outlined on the fabric.  Then we attached pieces of paper in the shape of bullets going into and exiting the outline of the woman’s body, with words on each bullet:  Rape, Pornography, Sexual Harassment, Homophobia, Torture, Degradation of Women, Denial of Abortion, Prostitution, Strip Clubs.  As people came by to check out the display they added more to it, expanding the Homophobia bullet to include Transphobia, Heterosexism and Cissexism; and adding more bullets for Sex Trafficking, Domestic Violence and Glass Ceiling.  Attached at the bottom of the display was a scroll of paper for people to write their comments, and next to that was the mission statement of “End Pornography and Patriarchy: The Enslavement and Degradation of Women.” The whole piece was taped down in the middle of the street leading to the entrance of the military base that had been closed off for the protest.

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End Pornography & Patriarchy: the Enslavement and Degradation of Women