Secretary of Defense Lifts Ban on Women in Combat


This won't improve equality for women, the opposite is going to happen: it's going to lead to more rapes and murders.

You hippies are probably not aware, but no less than 1/3rd of women veterans are survivors of Military Sexual Trauma. It's so common that we veterans use the term "MST" to describe it. One out of three women – and the rapist/assaulter is almost always another military member.

I'm fairly convinced that every single female suicide within combat zones was actually a murder after rape. I recall one story of a young American girl in Iraq who beat herself on her face, then poured acid on her vagina, then shot herself in the head, then crawled into a nearby tent where she then lit it on fire. The military investigation by her superiors ruled it as a suicide.

Good job, Dan Savage: keep applauding rape and war like it’s a good thing.
You so crazy.
While I applaud equality, I hope in conditions of future combat that men won't get all crazy trying to protect the women in combat and putting the entire unit at risk.
And as a vet, fidelity, I have no idea where you get your 'facts' from, nor have I heard of the term 'MST'.
"I hope in conditions of future combat that men won't get all crazy trying to protect the women in combat and putting the entire unit at risk."
When I read this, I was sure it was a joke, but then I saw the name: frankieb.
So you've never heard of Military Sexual Trauma. Okay, so what? Seems like neither one of you are familiar with that or with what it means to have women in combat.
geyser, your stupidity never ceases to amaze me.
Like men are not known for trying to protect women, right?
And no, in 8 years in the AF, 5 1/2 of that attached to the Army, stationed among women, no- never heard of that term. And while no women should ever be subjected to rape or assault while serving our country, I'd bet axiom pulled that '1/3' number out of his ass, as I've never seen any statistics anywhere close to it.
I applaud our women serving, and am thankful they have the chance to kill people along side the men.
I also think they should be required to register for the draft, as long as men are, but that is another topic.
Your stupidity never ceases to amaze me, either. The idea that male soldiers can only properly function in combat in an all-male environment is laughable. The whole military built upon a culture of domination, chauvinism, and indiscriminate violence, though, so no real surprise that so many atrocious things occur on "our side." Re: MST, sometimes knowing about things comes not just from passive life experience but from reading and the like.
But putting that aside, I'm also doubtful about the 1/3 figure and much else about fidelity axiom's comment. There's so much bad logic there, it's hard to know where to begin. The notion that maintaining unequal treatment of female and male soldiers would in any way deter sexual assaults and trauma, which is an issue the military needs to address on many levels, independently of this question, not to mention the silly idea that Savage is applauding rape or war. Of course, if Savage wanted to make amends for endorsing the obscene Iraq adventure, he could do a lot more to make his real stance known and advocate for changes, but he's a sex columnist so I'm not holding my breath.
OK, I think it is safe to say we are in agreement with axioms logic and statistics....
I just happen to think that there is a distinct possibility that a soldier seeing a fellow woman soldier in distress might - might- react differently than if it were a fellow male soldier.
This is not an argument for keeping women out of combat either, rather I think we should start learning to deal with this possibility now.
The military you speak of isn't one that I'm really familiar with, though that may have been due to the work I did, etc, as I know there are certainly elements of those traits in certain branches and fields.
And whether or not you choose to see it, there are many fine and honorable attributes to military service.
You two are soooo gonna get it from fidelity.....
Oh so we can send even more Americans to die in wars that nobody understands or believes in? Yay oil!
Google it you stupid fucking pricks.

Seriously, google it.…

I am so goddamn offended by you callous fucking assholes. Here's something else too: every single female vet that I've spent time with, EVERY SINGLE ONE, has eventually confessed to me a horrible story of threatened sexual assault or actual incidents of sexual assault or rape. Just try and imagine that, fucking try. & FYI, I've been hanging out with two female vets tonight.

Fuck you fucking assholes. BRAHHH!!! /RAGE! CHOKE RAGE.

/bong hit.

Fuck you people.
I just hope that this is true equality and not some bullshit where women are allowed to serve on the front lines if they want to. Anyone signing up for the military should have exactly the same chance of being in the line of fire, anything less is discrimination.
As a former member of the US Army I would like to state that combat requires just as much brains as brawn. On that basis women are just as qualified as men. However- The ugly truth is that women get raped in the theatre of war, civillians and soldiers alike. Myself, I have always urged women to be aware of the risks to their personal safety if they are considering the armed forces as a career. My female cousin also served during OEF and never went anywhere alone, especially to relieve herself, and it wasnt the Republican Guard she was worrying about.
Another thing- If you are a civillian that has never served, understand this- The concepts of EQUALITY and CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS do not exist in the military, at least not for the men and women in service. You are an organic cog in the war machine, and an expendable one at that. Before my enlistment I thought DADT and female exclusion from combat MOS's was bullshit. It took my first 48hrs in Reception Battallion to figure out a harsh truth- Military Culture is rife with homophobia and misogyny, and that shit will not change any time soon.
Fidelity, I rarely agree with you on most topics and even now I don't fully, but I see where you're coming from. There is 100%, for real an endemic problem with rape in the military. The statistics you've stated are probably even lower than the actual rate given how often sexual assaults are not reported.
However, keeping women from military jobs that they have proven themselves worthy of is not a way to prevent rape. Just look at the statistics you've already written. All of that? That happened without women even officially being on the front line yet. So whether or not they are free to fight on the front lines they have to deal with a constant fear of rape and sexual assault. It is a problem that needs to get dealt with. Perhaps opening up more military opportunities for women will in and of itself help with part of the problem. But rather than keeping jobs and opportunities from women who deserve it, why aren't we working on education and training in the military to make it safer for everyone. I'm not saying I have any real answers, but keeping things as they are is not cutting it.
Hey fidelity, I knew your stats were BS. Read your own link. It says "Thirty-one percent of women veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan *who were diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder* reported military sexual trauma (MST)". Not 1/3 of ALL women veterans are survivors of MST, which is what you claimed so arrogantly. Quit frothing at the mouth and learn some basic reading comprehension and how to use statistics honestly.
But that statistic is irrelevant to the question of whether to formally allow women in combat, because the solution to rape in the military is not gender-based restrictions on where they can be (they risk being raped in many settings, so this is another example of your silly logic). Women get raped in most types of settings in the world, and it's a disgrace and an outrage, but the solution is not to keep them out of those settings. Holly has already explained that point well.
@Holly – There’s no way to stop rape in the military. The military is predicated upon using violence on people, and they use misogyny and patriarchy to support their violence. Opening up opportunities is not the answer, reducing the size of military is the answer, and just bring in less rapists. I served alongside guys that everyone knew were rapists, and no one did shit about it, not even me.

@Geyser – do you have a problem with Google? GO FUCK YOURSELF.…
“National surveys found 13% to 30% of women veterans experienced rape during their military service.” Most studies end up on the higher side, reporting typically 20%-30% of ALL female veterans reporting MST.

In my experience, every female veteran that I’ve ever spent any significant amount of time with eventually breaks down into tears and tells me a really horrible story. There’s nothing to make you feel more like shit than having to listen to everything that happened to a young lady wanting to serve her country who was repeatedly abused and ignored by her superiors and friends. If you look up the congressional testimony from two or three years back, I’ve met half of those women. I’ve looked them in the eye. I have a friend in Olympia who spent years specializing in MST, and every single case is absolutely horrible. It’s not just the rape that’s bad, it’s the treatment afterwards. One woman reported her rape, she was demoted, and then ended up with her rapist as her immediate supervisor where he again engaged in sex acts with her repeatedly. She was entirely mentally destroyed by this, and it was only when she attempted suicide that her cycle of violence ended because she was in a hospital. At the hospital she received additional abuse, and she was restrained in a bed under suicide watch. She was medically discharged, and unable to seek VA benefits – meanwhile her original rapist was promoted. I know another girl who was drugged and gang raped by her unit, and when she awoke, she have no idea who or how many were responsible, and the Military wouldn’t do DNA tests even though she was covered in her own blood and semen. Imagine serving with a unit that raped you. A woman was at my base, while I was there, doing a very similar job as me, was pinned to a wall and sexually fondled, out of fear she never told anyone, and had to work next to her attacker. I was the first person she ever told. You see, 80-90% of cases of MST never get reported, lots of times because women are ashamed, or they’ve heard what happens when you report a rape: your life in the military is ruined. You don’t get promoted if you report rape, no one believes you and everyone shuns you.

Rape will happen more frequently when there’s NO supervision and you’re on a battlefield. Multiple first-hand stories support this (see the comment above), but in addition, the victim is often times murdered easily and it’s blamed on suicide. When you’re on your 9th month of your 3rd tour of killing folks, your moral compass might go astray.

Just talk to a female veteran, you ignorant fucking douche bag. This is a very real problem, and it’s fucking sick that you’re trying to downplay it simply because you haven’t heard of it.
The absolute horror and depravity of which some of us are capable never ceases to amaze, shame, and scare the piss out of me. Jesus Fucking Christ.
So why didn't you do anything about it?
You don't think if everybody who wasn't a rapist/knows rape is not ok started speaking up about it and not just excepting it as the norm things might change?
There are lots of studies that show lots of different things. You're the one with the Google problem, since you hastily use it to find documents that don't say what you claim they do. I wasn't trying to "downplay" anything, just maintain a minimal standard of credibility in the wild, emotional claims you're making, just like when you're arguing your NRA-type bullshit.
Any dispute about the percentage is irrelevant here, though, because we both know that MST is a huge problem, but your view that preventing women from serving in combat is the answer has no basis. The task should be to investigate and end the conditions that allow incidents of MST in many areas of the military—some of which you've already mentioned, like deterrents to women reporting sexual abuse—which need to be dealt with throughout all of the armed forces.
You're assuming I've never heard of the kinds of things you're talking about because that's just another example of your dishonesty in this discussion. Don't tell me what I'm not familiar with.
@Geyser – I 100% agree that “the task should be to investigate and end the conditions that allow incidents of MST in many areas of the military.”

I just think that’s impossible under our current military culture. There’s already dozens of orders and directives that call for the military to do something about MST, yet nothing happens, probably things are getting worse. I’m sure there’s already a policy directive to investigate every claim thoroughly. The military imposes all sorts of things that never happen, like reducing suicides, improving reporting for TBI or PTSD, or cutting wasteful spending. I can’t tell you how many hours of Sexual Harassment briefings I sat in, none of them mattered, none of them had an effect on anything.

@Holly – Well, it was really complex. For one, even though these guys were obviously slimebags, I assumed that they were innocent chiefly because everyone knew about it and nothing was ever done. I heard about rape accusations from this unit or another unit constantly - I dismissed all of it, never thought there was an institutional problem. In my unit, one guy was accused of rape by a girl before I ever arrived at my duty station, nothing happened to him – another guy was accused of drugging and raping a Canadian girl along with several other dudes while on vacation, nothing happened to them except a brief investigation by US military investigators at our base. Both of these dudes joked about having sex with their victims after the fact, they just played it out in unpleasant terms like “they were asking for it.” So, I sort of assumed they were innocent, since there was no punishment and they were openly talking about it, only after leaving the unit did I realize how fucked it was. Plus, there’s nothing worse for unit cohesion than for one person to make serious allegations against another person: people choose sides, and the side the brass chooses is normally the perpetrators. “Innocent until proven guilty” they claim, but they’ll shit on the victim to get him/her to recant their story. By speaking up against another military member it jeopardizes your whole career, and you can count your promotion out forever (keep in mind, the military isn’t a job you can walk away from). Plus, your immediate bosses know that their superiors are going to shit on them for allowing it to happen, so everyone would rather ignore it than address it because it’s embarrassing to the perpetrator’s bosses too. It’s all extremely complex, and for brevity reasons, I’ll just say that the entire institution of the military does not want people reporting MST. This is compounded by the violence, 20-year olds with no judgment skills, lack of sexual partners, dehumanization of other people, and so many other factors. It’s just a big awful mess really – a machine that creates death.

For these reasons, I can’t imagine the military ever making an internal adjustment that somehow creates equality or that allows proper reporting of MST. There would have to be fundamental changes of the leadership and culture that border on impossible.

Since we lack any political will to reform the military, I think the best option for females is to reduce the unnecessary risk of placing them in highly vulnerable areas like combat zones, a place where the availability and ability of Investigators and services is greatly reduced.