A service member can expect to be inundated with sexual harassment and assault classes throughout their careers. There are classes for junior enlisted, leaders, even civilians. They are mandated to be done by congress and are annual requirements for reporting in the digital management systems on every single individual. So, why does rape continue to persist in the military then, and why is it so destructive?
The military is, at its very nature, a slice of civilian society. Of the small percentage of civilians that decided to join, they came from all corners of life. Some were PHD holders that chose to enlist, others were West Point graduates that commissioned. They came for a variety of reasons and they are neither 100% conservative, nor 100% liberal. They simply are people.
Their backgrounds are varied. Some joined when they turned 18. Others waited until later in life to complete a personal dream. The point is, they all had different experiences prior to joining and, when it came time for them to serve, they brought their backgrounds and history with them. Some were able to fuse themselves into the military machine; others struggled to conform or acted out in different ways.
The reason there is no room for sexual violence in the military is that leaders and their subordinates walk a thin line with each other. If one steps over that line, they disturb the entire balance. A sergeant that steals from subordinates will fuel resentment. A platoon leader that orders the platoon to commit a crime and then lie about it creates an organization that is failing. A person, leader or otherwise, that commits sexual violence against another is violating the very principles by which the military stands.
The Army’s guiding principles are encompassed in the word LDRSHIP. Loyalty, Duty, Respect Selfless-Service, Honor, Integrity, and Personal Courage. Each of these are violated by the perpetrator. Each of us is made less honorable by connection to the organization when it occurs.
So, to resolve it, the military has developed focused training that consistently lectures and discusses the proper way to act. How to step up and stop something before it happens. How to be a leader. Unfortunately, in recent news, the Army struggled to do this from the general officer level when a subordinate said she was raped by a senior leader.
When Lieutenant Colonel Teresa James reported her attack, she was ostracized by her command. Her rater, Brigadier General Veit, retaliated against her through bad evaluations and ultimately she was medically retired. The inspector general has since identified for the first time that retaliation did occur, and that BG Veit knew the assailant, and in fact ignored other incidents while still giving glowing recommendations and evaluations to the attacker.
We all owe it to ourselves to give this subject more than five minutes of our time once a quarter. It should be something that is real, ingrained, and understood by all. Sexual assault and crimes have no place in our military. Crimes in general have no place in our military. Any leader who would condone and hide these incidents is someone who has lost their way and needs to be given an opportunity to find it again in a civilian capacity.
Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.