Quick Hit: Military and Mental Health

The military announces that mental health training will be part of a new initiative for all of those who serve. Why, for God’s sake, is military sexual assault not mentioned anywhere in this frickin’ article?

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13 Comments

  1. Marc
    Posted August 18, 2009 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    To be fair, the military is trying its best – and especially has enlisted the help of organizations like “Sex Signal” and “Men Can Stop Rape,” to work with it, in trying to prevent sexual assault. It misses the feminist mark – but I’d say that what it’s doing, minus Take Back the Night – is better than most college campuses. Check out http://www.myduty.mil
    I want to share a story that’s got me thinking, however. The other day, I was sitting in front of the PX, just enjoying a smoke, when a young soldier walked up to me and started talking to me. It turned out she knew me through her roommate. So, in talking, she mentioned that sometimes she cannot sleep fully because whenever either she or her roommate has to use the bathroom, the other has to wake the other up to go as well, as to ensure safety, especially because if the incidents of sexual assaults here in Iraq.
    I expressed shock and anger that anyone’s life can be limited because of the possibility of rape, but she just shrugged. For her, it’s just another fact of life.
    And people say there is no male privilege.

  2. laura
    Posted August 18, 2009 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    Yeah. It so pisses me off that rape is seen like a fundamental part of women’s life. You know, like cancer – something that is regrettable, but isn’t really anyones fault per se.
    But hell, rape is something (some) men consciously do! It’s not like you can rape someone by accident.
    I’m not really familiar with the US military, but you’d think they had all kind of GIJoey team spirit things, “Duty, honor, country”.
    How on Earth is that compatible with some guys being ready to rape their very comrades-in-arms?

  3. Navy_Blue
    Posted August 18, 2009 at 3:44 pm | Permalink

    It’s not. Rape completely incompatible with, for instance, the Navy core values of Honor, Courage, and Commitment. The problems are A. Making it clear to all that this is the case; and B. Getting everyone to live up to those values all the time. Part A, sadly, is the area where the least has been done, but it is something that is receiving increasing attention. I’ve been kind of impressed with what I’ve seen of the “My strength is for defending” campaign, for example. As far as part B goes, well….Rape is hardly the only area where individuals fail to live up to the ideals we try instill in them, starting with initial training and extending throughout there careers. Sadly, it’s not even the only area where some commands may have command cultures that work against the efforts being made to get people to live up to those ideals. However, like other areas of the military culture where outmoded traditions or the values that people come into the service with run counter to our core values, efforts are being made. Maybe some individuals aren’t on board, but we are trying to get them fixed.

  4. micki_d
    Posted August 18, 2009 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

    I pretty much skimmed the article, but it seems to me that they’re trying to teach “mental resiliency” in a classroom before a deployment far, far away. Why would they teach a mental resiliency to sexual assault? That part is kind of already ingrained in our society…”I was wearing a short skirt” “I led him on” etc. It seems like this training could, in the very least, teach soldiers/marines/sailors/airmen that it is going to be tough and not to let their guard down.
    In addition, I always feel the need to come to the defense of my beloved military when its called out for not doing enough on sexual assaults. I wasn’t around during the Tailhook incident and all that, but every year it is mandatory to have a class on sexual assault, sexual harassment, what constitutes such, where to go, options, etc. Policy is zero tolerance. To mainly agree with Navy_Blue, yeah, it happens, and many assaults go unreported, but the tools are usually there and there is always someone designated as the Equal Opportunity Officer [at least in the Marine Corps.]

  5. bethrjacobs
    Posted August 18, 2009 at 6:34 pm | Permalink

    My guess as to why sexual assault isn’t mentioned is that while over seas many soldiers engage with sex with the locals which is illegal and there are documentaries on how entire brothels have been set up by high command to facilitate these actions and keep soldiers happy. Think of all those blue eyed babies in National Geographic …The soldiers do not pay any child support let alone end up in front of a judge for illegally sleeping with some one in an occupied country where basically the person can not even consent.

  6. hfs
    Posted August 18, 2009 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

    You refer to the past. The article is about the present. Since you did not document your accusation that unlawful fraternization is tolerated and facilitated by current US military leadership, I think you should retract (or at least clarify) your libelous statements.

  7. Mrs.s
    Posted August 19, 2009 at 8:01 am | Permalink

    Why should bethjacobs retract that statement? I’m not sure who your sources are but the brothel situation is very real thing that still occurs. Too many of my husbands command, friends, and others I’ve talked to in the military have told me about this. What bethjacobs describes does indeed happen, it’s just a dirty little secret that people don’t speak about openly, until now. I think you need to calm down.

  8. Mrs.s
    Posted August 19, 2009 at 8:03 am | Permalink

    Why should bethjacobs retract that statement? I’m not sure who your sources are but the brothel situation is a very real thing that still occurs. My husband before he was deployed spoke to me about it. And then many of my husband’s command, friends, and others I’ve talked to in the military have told me about about the brothels. What bethjacobs describes does indeed happen, it’s just a dirty little secret that people don’t speak about openly, until now. I think you need to calm down.

  9. qtiger
    Posted August 19, 2009 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    It’s not mentioned because it’s not the topic of the article.
    The military has dozens of programs to prevent sexual assault and to help victims afterward. It’s a quarterly training requirement for all soldiers, and has been that way for a while.

  10. hfs
    Posted August 19, 2009 at 9:29 am | Permalink

    Other people in this thread just linked to and described evidence of efforts in the military to end sexual misconduct. All you and bethjacobs offer is hearsay. So, no, I don’t think I will “calm down.” Instead, I will call you on your bullshit.

  11. Marc
    Posted August 19, 2009 at 10:34 am | Permalink

    In the interest of fairness, it’s happened in the past, and although I highly doubt the current military actually sets up these R&R programs, you know as well as I do that leaders often turn a blind-eye toward servicemembers’ usage of prostitution, especially on OCONUS bases. If you think that every soldier is abiding their general order, or that it’s not happening, you’re either not looking hard enough or denying what you know is the truth.
    Just recommended reading, based on the discussion: “Bananas, Beaches and Bases,” by Cynthia Enloe. She looks at military conflicts and their impact on women.

  12. sporty070882
    Posted August 19, 2009 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    While it is required training that I have sat through many times, it is not taken very seriously and is quite often jokes about for example “Ass slap” – OMG I just sexaully assaulted you “giggle, giggle”. The army has many policies stating that it sexual assualt is unacceptable but it’s mostly talk and not action. I was the recipient of assault and harrassment on a daily basis while I was deployed. And it was never taken seriously by any one that was in a command position and in the end I was alienated even more because I spoke up.

  13. bethrjacobs
    Posted August 20, 2009 at 6:33 pm | Permalink

    Thanks Mrs. S. My Great uncle a W.W.II Navy flyer distinguished by a flying cross for extraordinary heroism fathered a child in the Philippines now we may not have been fighting there at the time as he served long after that great war but I don’t think he took care of the child but I never knew him he was M.A.I. after going to work for the National Weather Service. At that time few soldiers were held responsible for offspring but as resent as Vietnam there have been I can’t think of the term ….but children fathered by G.I.’s who are left behind and years later they come looking for their fathers and it makes the news or P.B.S. and still the father not only doesn’t pay child support but is also not questioned on this illicit behavior which may have been made illegal after W.W.II under the Geneva convention. Just turn on the history channel during the next few months and you will likely see some vet. Talking about the brothel issue and that during at least some of the earlier wars they indeed were set up by the officers. Anything today likely won’t come out for years…especially since most reporters are male and today’s G.I. Jane’s are dying because they will not drink water after a curtain time of day as if they have to urinate after dark they risk being raped and this is all over the news.

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