Unshelved by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum
comic strip overdue media

Thursday, September 11, 2003

This runs counter to the progresses that have made in fighting sexual violence

How can this improve the situation for cadets--especially women--who pursue their dream of defending the country in fear of invasive violence? Or reduce the incidence of sexual abuse of cadets? I can't see their argument. Yes, the Air Force Academy is a different realm than a typical company. But it sets a disturbing precedent in an environment that moulds officers. However, the Academy trains its cadets for service in the Air Force--certainly not a typical company in that it investigate crimes and draws upon an entirely separate justice system in place, either. The history of rape in the armed forces is one in which the rapist is often protected from persecution, a 'boy's club' where sexual violence and male virility are a very fine line. Please understand, I'm not characterising the military as rapists. Quite the opposite--I grew up in the Air Force and consider it a sort of family. But there's a lot of room for abuse, as anyone in the military would tell you. People do not want to come forward when their rank, promotion, or very lives may be on the line. So I don't think this is a step forward. It sends the message of double victimisation from day one. It further stigmatises the victim (assuming she or he comes forward) and does not assure a quicker prosecution. Don't America's future defenders deserve better?

Air Force to Allow ID of Assault Victims

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