Rape In the Military
Does the military meet society’s needs, or does it perpetuate gender inequality?
The military has been a male-dominated institution since its inception. The 18th and 19th centuries saw women being used in the service of armies, but only as camp followers. Women have served as nurses since the beginning of organized warfare, and many other women have volunteered to serve in support roles as cooks and laundresses. Before World War I (Ret&Strite Murnane,17), women were not allowed in combat zones or on combat ships. During World War I, women joined the military as nurses or worked at military hospitals. In 1918, women were officially allowed to join the military (if they met certain requirements). Similarly, the first female pilots in the United States Air Force graduated from flight school in 1973(Ret&Strite Murnane,17). Women were allowed to fly helicopters for the Army during Vietnam but were not allowed to be assigned to any combat aircraft.
Does Community Structure Make Sexual Violence More Acceptable?
The structure of the community can affect how men commit acts of sexual violence against women. The legal system, blaming victims and the spiral of despair, gendered norms, how people view rape, and patriarchy are all factors that can influence how men rape. To explain this, I will do so by using feminist theory to explain the issue of sexual assault in the military.
The community of the USS Enterprise made it easy for men to commit sexual violence against women. This is because there was a lack of consequences for rape and sexual assault, which motivated and encouraged men to commit sexual violence. The reason why there were no consequences for sexual violence on the USS Enterprise is that the commander, Captain DePalma chose to ignore the reports of sexual violence by female crew members (Ziering,&King Barklow). This, therefore, allowed men to commit sexual violence and get away with it, as they were not punished for their actions.
The community also had an extreme emphasis on masculinity. This idealized masculinity was taught from a young age that if you weren’t masculine enough then you weren’t a man. This, therefore, led to men trying to prove their masculinity by taking part in risky behavior such as drinking and fighting. It also led to them sexually assaulting women to show that they were masculine enough and that women were ‘below’ them.
Ret, Linda Strite Murnane. “A Primer on the Complexities of Military Sex Offenses.” The Brief 60.2 (2021): 16-20.
Ziering, A.& King Barklow, T., The Invisible War. Youtube,2012. sexual assault in the United States military: http://www.documentarytube.com/videos/the-invisible-warOrder Now