Sexual Assault and Rape in the U.S. Military

“in spite of my most diligent efforts, there would unquestionably be some raping.”

Gen George S Patton – US Army 1942

The U.N. Security Council, chaired by Hillary Clinton, as the United States holds the revolving presidency, unanimously passed a resolution in a bid to stop sexual violence during conflicts and to end impunity, Hillary Clinton remarked that rape was used as a weapon in the Sri Lanka during the armed conflict with the LTTE. As a matter of fact she has forgotten the sexual violence caused by the US Army since the WW 2. This article reveals some of the thought provoking factors related to Sexual Assault and Rape in the U.S. Military.

War and Sexual Violence

Although rape has been closely linked with the history of warfare and some view sexual violence as an inevitable concomitant of war in the present context it is a war crime. The term rape refers to forcible sexual intercourse with an unwilling partner. Rape involves varying degrees of physical and psychological trauma. Rape is extremely traumatizing. All rape victims suffer physical and psychological aftereffects. The persistent practice of rape in war is evocative of the misogyny of war as an extension of masculine hegemony.

US Army and the Sexual Violence During the World War 2

For World War II, comprehensive statistics of prosecutions of American military personnel are available for the European theater of operations. Those statistics indicate that rape was extensive. US servicemen were accused of raping French women and when the numbers were surging it alarmed the Overall Commander Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower and he issued a directive to U.S. Army commanders announcing his “grave concern,” and instructing that speedy and appropriate punishments be administered.

Rapes in Vietnam

In Vietnam, from 1 January 1965 to 31 January 1973, twenty army personnel and one air force man were convicted of rape, and fourteen army personnel were convicted of attempted rape or assault with intent to commit rape. In Vietnam (1970–73), one navy serviceman and thirteen Marine Corpsmen were convicted of rape. However, these conviction numbers in no way reflect the actual number of incidents. Among these atrocities most horrific incident occurred in August 1967. A 13-year-old Vietnamese child was raped by American MI interrogator of the Army’s 196th Infantry Brigade. The soldier was convicted only of indecent acts with a child and assault. He served seven months and sixteen days for his crime.

The Persian Gulf War

During Persian Gulf War twenty?four female American military personnel were subjected to rape, attempted rape, or sexual assault by American military men, according to official records. During the last Gulf war, 8% of women sent overseas were sexually assaulted or raped, according to a study by researchers for the Department of Veterans’ Affairs.

Rapes within the Establishment

According to Lucinda Marshall US feminine activist there were 2947 reports of sexual assaults in the military in 2006, an increase in reports of 24% over 2005. More recently, there have been the well-publicized cases of Lance Cpl Maria Lauterbach who was murdered after accusing another Marine of rape, and Jamie Leigh Jones who says that she was gang-raped while working for Halliburton/KBR in Iraq. Jones claims that after she reported her rape, the company put her in a shipping container and warned her that she would lose her job if she left Iraq for medical treatment. Beth Jameson, a major in the US army reserve, who was assigned to a large staging area in Kuwait. She was raped on March 20 2003, the first night of the war, in the shower block during an alert for a feared chemical attack.

More than 200,000 women now serve in the US military, with at least 15,000 stationed in Iraq. The US Miles Foundation had received credible reports of rape or sexual assault (in the period August 2002 to August 2003) from 243 women serving in the US military in Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain and Afghanistan. The data suggests that nearly 1,400 women reported being assaulted and raped by their fellow soldiers, in some cases by their commanding officers. The Pentagon has released new reports in which one-third of military women say they’ve been sexually harassed.

Torture of POWs by the Pvt Lynndie England of US Army

Lynndie England, a young female soldier from a poor town in West Virginia,became a notorious symbol of sexual violence. She was found guilty of sexually and psychologically abusing the POW s of Abu Ghraib prison.

Pvt Lynndie England was a United States Army reservist who served in the 372 nd Military Police Company. She was one of eleven military personnel convicted in 2005 by the Army courts martial in connection with the torture and prisoner abuse at the Abu Ghraib prison. In Baghdad during the occupation of Iraq.

The case of Abeer Qassim Hamza

14-year-old Abeer Qassim Hamza lived with her family a few miles north of the Iraqi town of Mahmoudiya. On the 12 th of March 2006 three US soldiers went drinking and then changed out of their uniforms in to dark clothes. They burst in to her house. According to the affidavit, Steven Green, a private in the US Army, took Abeer’s family -her mother, Fikhriya Taha; her father, Qassim Hamza; and her 5-year-old sister, Hadeel Qassim Hamza — into a bedroom and killed them. He came out, blood on his clothes, bragging about what he’d just done. Then he and another soldier took turns raping Abeer. When they were done, they shot and killed her. Then they set fire to her body.

Steven Green , former US Soldier was convicted of the rape and murder of 14-year-old Abeer al-Janabi and the killing of her mother, father and six-year-old sister in Baghdad in 2006. In his trial Steven Green said “ you all can act like I am a Psychopath or a sexual predator or whatever….But if I had never gone to Iraq I would never have got caught up in anything like this. ”

Article By Dr Ruwan M Jayatunge M.D.