Washington Post, “Letter to the Editor: ‘New’ military rape policies make no progress,” Rachel Natelson, 26 December 2013
Regarding the Dec. 20 news article “Congress poised to approve changes to address sexual assault, rape in military”:
While a symbolic step forward, the current round of military justice reforms are hardly “the most extensive rewrite of the Uniform Code of Military Justice since the armed forces were integrated,” as some would have it. In fact, without corresponding changes to the prosecutorial process, they either reiterate existing policies or bear unintended consequences for victims.
Each of the service branches, for example, already mandates that members convicted of sex crimes receive a dishonorable discharge or dismissal. Likewise, a Defense Department directive has long barred commanders from taking any “unfavorable personnel action” against those who report sexual harassment or assault.
Criminalizing retaliation will only raise the evidentiary burden for proving such misconduct, a shift likely to result in even fewer such cases yielding redress. And if commanders retain authority over criminal charges, why would they be any more inclined to prosecute retaliation than they have been to pursue underlying offenses?
If Congress is serious about eradicating the culture of sexual violence in the military, it must do more than simply repackage existing policies in the guise of reform.
Rachel Natelson, New York
The writer was legal director of the Service Women’s Action Network from 2011 to June 2013 and is a member of the National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence Against Women’s working group on military sexual assault.
What DoD Covers Up:
St. Louis American, “Documents Suggest Foul Play in the Death of LaVena Johnson,” Sandra Jordan, 25 June 2008
The Army claims the 5’1” African-American soldier from North County died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound with a rifle on July 19, 20.
[Dr. Johnson, LaVena’s father] said the pictures and documents from the incident proved that his daughter had been brutalized – raped, beaten, shot and set on fire.
“Someone poured lye in her vagina to destroy evidence,” her father said. “Her body was dumped in a dirty, filthy contractor’s tent.
“I told my wife I could let it go, but someone would get away with murder and I couldn’t live with myself.”
Several more articles, memorials, and a short film.
Add LaVena Johnson to the list of those murdered by DoD leaders and covered up by Congress.
Is the reason for this rape epidemic some kind of behavioral modification program? Reduce empathy and increase violent tendencies in order to make “better” soldiers? Couple that with extended tours of duty and it is asking for trouble. I recall a time when better meant honorable, not psycho-sociolathic. That’s just what you get with today’s four- and five-star demigods and the legislators who worship them.
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