Do you know who Margaret Corbin was? She fought in the Revolutionary War beside her husband, firing a cannon in defense of Fort Washington overlooking the Hudson River in Manhattan. After her husband’s death in battle, Margaret continued to fight until she was wounded. The rest, as they say, is herstory. Woman have served in the military ever since.
When a woman joins the military in a time of war like Margaret did, she expects her life to be on the line for her country and for her fellow military personnel. She’s aware she may never again see her husband, child, parent or sibling. She’s courageous and selfless much like her male counterpart. She’ll risk her life notwithstanding that those in whose country she fights may wish she and our military presence would pack up and leave. It’s a perilous and thankless job.
What she doesn’t expect and certainly doesn’t deserve is to be victimized by her fellow comrades-in-arms while the brass and the government, for the most part, look the other way. As posted in the Huffington Post on December 27, 2012, one-quarter of all military women serving in Iraq or Afghanistan reported being sexually assaulted. That’s an outrageous statistic, but only part of the shameful story.
- A servicewoman was nearly 180 times more likely to be a victim of military sexual assault than to die while deployed during the last 11 years of combat in Iraq and Afghanistan.
- An estimated 19,000 assaults occurred between October 1, 2010 – September 31, 2011; roughly 52 assaults per day.
- The conviction rate for sexual assaults in the military is slightly under 6%.
- In slightly less than half of the reported cases, the offender was of a higher rank than the victim.
The possibility of sexual assault was reason enough for our military men and members of Congress to prohibit gay men from serving for generations; notwithstanding, that gay men had been serving with distinction and without assaulting their fellow military men in any numbers even remotely close to the statistics cited above. Hetersexual military men were terrified of the sexual assault they now inflict in record numbers on military women. Ironic isn’t it?