More likely to be raped than shot

Feministing has a creepy plug into an article about sexual assault on female soldiers. The article is bad enough on its own, especially with the fact that over 90% of these sexual assaults are being dismissed with little more than slaps on the wrist, but if you check out the reactions to it, there’s an awful lot of rape rationalisation going on here.

Say it with me, dudes: “Rape is not okay, ever”. That’s all we need to know and this subject, and the fact that it’s not okay is why it’s called rape in the first place. Men can and should control themselves, whether they’re in the army, politicians, or just your average joe. Rape is not “yet another reason women should not be in the army”.

Now, I agree that this is a little less shocking when you keep in mind that women are restricted to backline work in the US military. But it is still blatantly unacceptable, regardless. To pre-empt people trying to justify their sexism, women are not restricted to the back lines “for medical reasons”, it is sexist attitudes about protecting women and women being unsuitable for combat that keep them there. You can see this again in the comments, such wonderful jewels as “before you dismiss the other posters- think about whether you’d want your mother or sister serving.”

I agree that I wouldn’t want my sisters or mother in the army. But I also wouldn’t want my father or brother serving in the military. But I would respect the courage and the independence of any of my family or friends who were willing to do that sort of work. And that’s really what the men saying women don’t belong as full members of the armed forces don’t get- that women need to be treated as fully independent people, able to risk their lives for the defence of their country and its allies, just like men.

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6 Responses

  1. I completely agree with this article. Women are not inferior to men. Its true, the people keepin women from the frontline are the men who are scared that a woman can do it just as well as any man. It might make them look small or weak if a woman could do a tougher job than them. It is sad when people have problems with this kind of thing its because they are not comfortable with their own sex. THAT SHOWS NOTHING BUT WEAKNESS.

  2. Hard to know where to stand on this one For me all war is bad so by definition noone should be on the front-line. But sometimes I guess the situation might arise where we have to defend ourselves. Men and women are different to each other physically and emotionally so it would be foolish to assume that – in general terms – that one can be as capable as the other. For those women who can stack up on the front-line as much as a capable male would, then they should be given the opportunity based on ability. To draw a silly “man = woman” argument is simply denying human nature. This is not a criticism of either sex, but an a recognition of how things are. We all have our strengths and weaknesses.

  3. Men and women are different to each other physically and emotionally so it would be foolish to assume that – in general terms – that one can be as capable as the other.

    I think that’s a bit of an unintentional strawman- we’re not talking about the general population. The armed forces don’t recruit a representative sample, they recruit from the elite. Women who fit the requirements to go into front-line combat and who want to go into combat shouldn’t be barred from it. I’m glad you agree with me on that score. Arbitrary rules may be quick to make and easy to apply, but it makes much more sense to just have straight-up physical requirements for frontline service if that is the reason the arbitrary rule is in place, as it would also more reliably eliminate male soldiers who fell short of the standard.

    I should also point out that there are certain physical advantages that the female body has over the male body, and that modern combat takes better advantage of them in many ways than the previous eras of warfare that were a precursor to modern armed forces and resulted in them being male-dominated. πŸ˜‰

  4. “but it makes much more sense to just have straight-up physical requirements for frontline service”
    – sure, and you would accept that probably means a higher proportion of female applicants being rejected then male? I guess it depends on on the calibre of applicants, but my point is I agree with this as long as you are not advocating special places for women based on their gender. Sort of like you have done with Maori seats.

    I am sure being smaller may help in occasions, if that’s what you mean.

  5. First of all I am in the USA, and so will post based on that. I recently took my cousin to the VA hospital (Veteran’s Hospital), and while I was waiting for him, I met a man who landed on the beaches of Normandy on D-Day in World War 2. I have seem movies, documentaries, and read about that day. It always impressed me at the courage displayed there. However meeting someone who actually survived that day in person was something I will not soon forget.
    What does this have to do with women serving? I feel any woman who will do what it takes to get into the front lines will do what it takes to survive there and to help others survive there, too.

    How many women placed their lives in jeopardy serving as nurses in all wars? How many were POWs in all wars? Women serve and die in war no matter if they are actually on the front lines or in an area where it is considered “safe”.

    However women do not get the recognition for being heroic. Maybe they just don’t need that. However more respect would be great for the sacrifices they make.

    (PS. This is your gamer friend “uzi”)

  6. Hey Rocque/Uzi-

    While I had in the back of my mind when I wrote this that women often end up affected by conflicts they don’t actively participate in, (often through rape and violence by aggressors, but also as PoWs) it’s certainly worth pointing out as you did that many women have served a supporting role in armed combat before actually being allowed into the armed forces, and often put themselves in considerable danger to do so.

    I’m not saying that’s exactly the same thing as serving on the front lines, of course, but I think it shows there will be people who have what it takes if a more sensible policy is put in place. πŸ™‚

    This was one of my posts about the USA, so no big deal on the whole international perspective thing. πŸ™‚

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