“Private War of Women Soldiers”

April 9, 2012 § Leave a comment

First of all, this essay really opened my eyes to this issue because often times the military is seen as a “male profession” and one rarely hears stories about women that serve in the armed forces – let alone, the sexual violence and harassment they often endure. This issue of violence towards women coupled with the acts taken to cover up proof of its existence shows that the military is a prime example of patriarchal power. In the media, the main focus is the PTSD that many of the returning soldiers suffer from, but I have never once heard mention the sexual assault that women must endure on top of that. Benedict states, “The extent and severity of PTSD in women who have had to cope with both combat and sexual assault in Iraq is still being studied, but as it is known that these are two of the highest predictors of PTSD, it is logical to assume that the combination is pretty bad.” I also noted that the violence towards women described in this essay held examples of all four kinds of violence that we listed and defined in class. The physical harm is the rape, sexual assault, and other physical violences that these women endured from their fellow soldiers or commanding officers. The derogatory words and sexual harassment are another example of violence at this level. The silence of the military and the structural violence were also very evident in this system. The author gave many examples of times when the commanding officers simply turned a blind eye to this violence against women and the structure clearly does nothing to discourage these acts or make a significant change.

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