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Aug 24 2013

Your career is almost certainly over

Trudeau did a series on sexual harassment in the military this past week. The one for August 22 is especially…cogent.

In fact, if you report rape, your career is almost certainly over.

People keep saying – keep shouting, roaring, bellowing – that if there is rape or harassment victims must report it and if they have failed to report it or reported it too late or reported it to the wrong person or institution (too late or wrong in the view of the shouter, of course) then they are doing a terrible, criminal thing. But the reality is that reporting rape or harassment can fuck up the victim’s life even more than it already was. It’s not the case that one can just stalk off to make a report and there you go, job done.

See August 23, too. That’s even more cogent.

Since only a tiny percentage are ever convicted, sexual predators feel free to attack with impunity.

Why are so few punished? Well, for one reason, victims have to report up the chain of command, so few of them report.

Why? 33% of victims don’t report because their superior is a friend of the rapist. 25% don’t report because he is the rapist!

Exactly, and not just in the military.

 

12 comments

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  1. 1
    Erin (formerly--formally?-- known as EEB)

    People who want to learn more and find out what they can do to help should go to Protect Our Defenders.

    Veterans and those currently serving can also find resources at Military Rape Crisis Center, a survivor-run organization. Also, one of my good friends (and someone who has been invaluable in helping me heal) runs the Military Sexual Trauma recovery group in the San Francisco Bay Area. I have her permission to pass on her contact information to people who need help accessing services or finding support.

  2. 2
    jenBPhillips

    Powerful stuff. If it were even possible to use the term ‘brave hero’ unironically at this point, I’d use it to describe you, EEB. Thanks for all you have done, and are doing.

  3. 3
    Ophelia Benson

    Indeed. Thank you, EEB.

  4. 4
    karmacat

    I know at the VA I work at, there is a woman who does psych evaluations for victims of military sexual trauma (MST) victims. The victim is referred for more therapy if the person wants this. I have one patient who is able to get her rapist charged in the military. We, of course, need to do more, especially on the military side.

  5. 5
    Ace of Sevens

    This happened to a high school friend of mine in the Marines, though that was sexual harassment, not rape. She had already been marked as a trouble-maker for complaining that she been passed over a job she had already been offered allegedly because she had tattoos, which were aare Marine Corps tattoos and similar to the ones on many men on key positions. She got stuck in an office job, where she was repeatedly sexually harassed. She reported this to the proper authority, who “inadvertently” exposed her by calling the office and asking for her, so they knew she had been talking to the office that handles complaints. (Sorry, can’t remember the name.) This was just further evidence that she was trying to hijack the Marine Corps with her lady agenda. The stress destroyed her marriage and she only got out by being diagnosed with MS. I was trying to think of an upnote to end that story on, but all I can come up with is that she’s in med school now, which isn’t nearly as bad according to her.

  6. 6
    weaver

    Except that victims do not have to report through the Chain of Command. They can, and should, file reports with the MPs, with the Criminal Investigation Division, with the Office of the Inspector General, the Equal Opportunity Office, and, if the rapist is a member of their Chain of Command, with the rapist’s Commander.

    There are multiple avenues of approach that will address rape accusations beyond simply the Chain of Command. They should be used.

  7. 7
    Ace of Sevens

    @6. In the story I was relating, she did go to the equal opportunity office. It’s no guarantee.

  8. 8
    breaplum

    Ah, Ace, but do your remain anonymous while your report is investigated? Is that office obligated to inform your CO that you have made a report against another service member? Is the person being investigated moved out of a position from which they can professionally retaliate (because if they are guilty, then they can probably figure out who reported them)? Is the reporter forced to sacrifice their duty assignment to get out of retaliation range? What about off-duty retaliation? What about indirect retaliation (through allies, for example)? Does this office have proven credibility in investigation? Even outside of chain of command, there are still many reasons why reporting may be more damaging than not reporting.

  9. 9
    Ace of Sevens

    @8: From my understanding, they are anonymous in theory, but when the equal opportunity office calls the office where you have your duty assignment and asks for you, everyone knows what’s up. I don’t know how common that is, but that’s what happened to her. From what she told me, you getting moved into what’s probably a less prestigious job, where everyone knows you got moved for making complaints, it’s a common result.

  10. 10
    left0ver1under

    Obviously, it isn’t limited to the military or the US. The message is clear: “speak out and you’re out”.

    http://news.nationalpost.com/2013/08/25/mountie-who-alleges-decades-of-sexual-harassment-by-rcmp-says-force-seeking-to-dismiss-her/

    Mountie who alleges years of sexual harassment by RCMP says force seeking to dismiss her

    VANCOUVER — A Mountie whose sexual harassment complaints against the RCMP prompted dozens of similar allegations and heralded legislation to modernize discipline for “bad apples” within the force says her employer is moving to dismiss her.

    Cpl. Catherine Galliford said she received a letter saying the RCMP is seeking to discharge her because she’s unable to do her job. [Emphasis mine]

    Galliford has been on sick leave since 2006 and filed a civil suit against the RCMP two years ago alleging sexual harassment and bullying spanning nearly two decades.

    Gee, you don’t think being harassed had anything to do with her inability to do her job, do you?

    No doubt her “superiors” see her as the “bad apple”.

  11. 11
    sueinnm

    If you haven’t, please take a look at The Invisible War documentary about rape in the military. My good friend, Geri Lynn Matthews, the wife of a male rape survivor, had a large part in the making of this film, and has also produced one dealing specifically with male rape victims in the military–Justice Denied, which is currently in the distribution phase. Hope it will be available to the general public soon.

  12. 12
    sueinnm

    I see that EEB has already mentioned http://www.protectourdefenders.com, with which Geri Lynn and her husband Michael are affiliated. You will find Michael’s story on the website.

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