Parents, Don’t Let Your Daughters Grow Up to Be Soldiers Pt. 2

Kelley Beaucar Vlahos, May 14, 2013

Just when you thought it couldn’t get worse, The Washington Post reports this week that in addition to the escalating sexual assault problem in the the military, there have been an uncomfortable number of sex crimes, convictions and what can only be called criminal behavior at the recruiter level, too.

Turns out, in all branches, a number of guys put in the position of shepherding young people into the military turn out to be classic predators, or in some cases, highly sexed (adult!) meat heads who don’t know it’s wrong to have sex on office desks or in parked cars and exchange nude pictures with the 17-year-old high school students they’re charged with recruiting into the service. In the worst cases, male recruiters have been charged with raping and sodomizing young women and according to WaPo’s report, not all have been charged by civilian authorities, resulting in a lighter sentence for their crimes.

“The extent of the problem is hard to ascertain because the Defense Department does not keep figures on recruiters accused of sex crimes,” the paper said Monday. That’s a shocker. We know from last week’s bad news that the DoD estimates that some 26,000 sexual assaults occurred throughout the military ranks in 2012. Of them, only 3,374 were even reported, mostly because of fear of reprisals.  Sadly, we’re getting a picture of how far these problems go back.

“There certainly is a power dynamic there that makes it a target-rich environment for a predator,” said Anu Bhagwati, the executive director of the Service Women’s Action Network, which has been on the forefront of the sexual assault issue.

According to the Air Force — also known as the most aggressively evangelical Christian of all the branches — it court-martialed an average of four recruiters a year for sexual misconduct or unprofessional relationships since 2008. The Air Force is currently under a massive investigation for the rape and assault of young trainees at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas. Also in Texas, a Air Force recruiter faces a military court next month on charges that he raped and sodomized and engaged in other crimes with 18 young women he tried to enlist over a three year period.

Of course, given the statistics — there are over 10,000 recruiters in the Army, 6,200 in the Navy, for example — the overall number of incidents may seem small. But tell that to the girls. At Fort Knox, Ky., there were 387 reported incidents  (327 “substantiated”) of sexual misconduct at the recruiting level.  That seems like a lot in five years.

A target-rich environment for predators. From recruitment up through the officer level, it never seems to stop. The question no one seems to want to ask is whether the military is screening for the kind of sociopathic types that go on to commit these crimes; whether the military is doing enough to combat the institutionalized misogyny that nurtures and protects this “environment” in the first place. Until it does, I suggest young women find another way to “be all they can be,” outside the military. Believe me, if the military wants to fight more wars, they will need the women — they made up some 12 percent of the ranks in the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars. Forcing the military to change by opting out until that happens may be the only way.

10 Responses to “Parents, Don’t Let Your Daughters Grow Up to Be Soldiers Pt. 2”

  1. Helpful information shared. I am very glad to read this article..! Individually I like your site. I am looking forward for the next useful and helpful concept in your blog. Overall outstanding post.

  2. Mama don't let your daughters grow up to be victims. Of rape by Amerika's all you can be military. Given the amoral climate that shrouds today's all volunteer military, rape is probably just the tip of one criminal iceberg.

  3. [...] Article from [...]

  4. Parents don't let your daughters or your sons grow up to be soldiers. They'll not only get raped by some sociopathic pervert on a power trip, but they'll also end up fighting immoral wars for the enrichment of some sociopathic war profiteers.

  5. I can't say better than this

    Without discipline the Army would just be a bunch of guys wearing the same color clothing.
    ~ Frank Burns

  6. The question no one seems to want to ask is whether the military is screening for the kind of sociopathic types that go on to commit these crimes

    Sure, they're screening for them: and as soon as they identify them, they give them enlistment contracts to sign. And after their first hitch is up, they encourage them to re-enlist and make the military a career. After all, the "sociopathic type" is exactly the type needed to unquestioningly fight all of Amerika's imperial, illegal, and immoral wars, both abroad and at home. If some of the male sociopathic types slip their leashes and rape some of the female would-be sociopaths or sociopaths-in-training, then that's just part of the cost doing business. After all, rape is a weapon of war and you don't want your sociopathic warrior types to grow a conscience, do you?

  7. Not certain if I want my SONS(if I had any that is) to soldiers anyway!

  8. Screening indeed? How about prosecuting and incarcerating the animals who rape? Getting tough on criminals is good for the inner cities, but not the military? Those creeps are an offense to everyone you has ever served in the US Armed Forces. There can be no pride in the military while these heinous crimes go unenforced. And what can be said about the upper chain of command, including the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who do not look out for and protect their own? Animal Farm in action.

  9. [...] Kelley Vlahos interviewed documentarian Robert Greenwald on his latest film on the war on whistleblowers. At the blog, Vlahos wrote about sexual assault in the military. [...]

  10. Any female that joins the army to murder another woman's child does not deserve any better.