Last week Wednesday, I was sent an email to sign a petition. This is a normal occurrence but this cause caught my attention. Nicole McCoy of Colby, Wisconsin organized a petition to create a national registry for military sex offenders. Ms. McCoy served in the Marines as a Lance Corporal where she was raped twice and sexually assaulted two times.
According to McCoy: “The first time it happened I was serving abroad in Afghanistan. After that first incident I was assaulted three other times over the course of three years. It came to happen so often that I assumed it was normal and that it must happen to everyone. I never received any training on how to deal with sexual assault in the military- I didnt even know how to report it. When I finally decided to report the sexual assaults I was led through a maze of questions and excuses and I was even discouraged from reporting the crimes. In the end, instead of getting justice I was ostracized and humiliated.”
Unfortunately, rape and sexual assaults in the military is common. The statistics are shocking and disturbing. According to the documentary The Invisible War more than 95,000 service members have been sexually assaulted in the military since 2006, 86% of service members do not report their assault, and only 5% are prosecuted with less than third of the cases resulting in imprisonment.
In the 2010 Workplace and Gender Relations Survey of Active Duty Members published by the Department of Defense, 67% of women are “uncomfortable” with reporting sexual assault with 57% “fearing reprisal” and 46% of both sexes in the military believe that sexual assault is “not important enough” to report.
Some estimates show that up to 1/3 of women are raped during their military service.
These statistics are outrageous and unacceptable. This treatment of women and lack of punishment for rapists needs to end. What can be done?
A step in the right direction, Nicole McCoy: “I learned that there is currently no national military sex offender registry and that offenders are not required to disclose their crimes on their discharge papers. A sex offender registration for convicted for military personal would help to address the impunity that surrounds rape within rape the military. Most veterans are honorable men and women who have served our country, but there are some who have committed serious crimes like rape and sexual assault during their service and the military has a responsibility to disclose that information for the sake of the public good. When asked why sex offenders do not have to disclose on their discharge papers, some of the responses I was given were 1) It will take too long to create a national database or 2) the military is going green and it takes too much paper to add an extra check box to discharge papers.”
Sign the petition:
Military women die and fight for our freedom. As a result, protecting them should be top priority. America sets the standard and should be a shining example for the world. If we are fighting for human rights in other parts of the world, then let’s start with our bravest…