US/Australian Military Tolerant of Sexual Assault and Fears of Victimisation

There are underlying beliefs that ‘boys will be boys’ and they want a little fun.  That is a mindset that does not comprehend the violence in harassment and rape and underlying this is a sense of entitlement.  For myself, is it surprising that some US marines attack women in Australia, not at all. They are trained to kill and see others as ‘objects’. I have come to realise this objectivisaton is the core of sexual harassment and rape.  Soliders are trained to disconnect from their emotional feeling which would protect women through empathy.  I do not agree with the Australia Government protecting those who have engaged in crimes and I do not believe the American authorities here in Australia should undertake internal disciplinary action.  I doubt they would know how to educate the men involved on how to deal with their emotional disconnection and attitudes towards women.  It is interesting when you investigate some of these online websites where military is glorified, mostly along side the images of sexualised women with big boobs, tight clothes, national flags and clearly displaying that they are aroused by the men.  This is their fantasy played out.  It is concerning for women as this fantasy is projected. The men get a few beers under the belt on recreation leave and women may be in danger, as they can be dangerous. The very foundation of military training is force.  I am sure that sexual harassment and rape are indeed connected to objectivisation.  So if we want this to stop then men must learn empathy.  That will destroy the idea of militaritarism which depends on not feeling for the other.

This is a quote from the article below:

“Investigators found sexual harassment and sex crimes were often not reported because of fear of victimisation, and that “pockets of poor leadership” allowed a culture that tolerated sexual harassment and sex crimes to exist…”

Always in these cases the issue of ‘lack of evidence’ is there.  This justifies withdrawing complaints or not doing anything about it.  It can’t be proved.  If the man was with the woman in a hotel room, walking her home, in her home etc. there may be no witnesses.  So it is her word against him.  It is a difficult area unless there is a rape where semen is there and forced penetration and physical lacerations.  Otherwise harassment can be considered minor as nothing physical happened.  The psychological abuse of sexual assault or harassment has real implications and it is to do with powerlessness.  If repeated it is abuse. The same powelessness is felt in rape cases.  Women are not the weaker sex they are just unable to physically fight off a man who forces himself and doesn’t care at all about what she wants.  They will victim blame stating she was attracting him, wearing sexualised clothing, encouraging his attention etc.  Yet the force, the lack of respect, meeting his needs is all seen as about the urge of sex, that’s what men do.  For her it becomes traumatic, she is hurt not only physically but emotionally and psychically.  The deep innate need for safety is what is violated and a sense that you have no rights. It is all about the others needs, you don’t matter, this is dehumanisation.  The Australian Human Rights Commission has released a report ‘Change the Course’ which gathered information on sexual harassment and sexual assault in Universities and how this has been minimised by those in authority. Moreover, the #metoo movement is another feature of women seeking to be seen and heard as this behaviour is not okay, it is a human rights violation.  I just felt that as inspiration.  Yet how can this be reconciled when a person is taught to kill an enemy, he is encouraged to be violent and rewarded, yet by contrast in civil society violence is illegal. Such is the ironic mis-perception of war as murder as justifiable and civil murder as illegal.  In this light sexual harassment and rape may appear insignificant in respect of the greater brutality.  It would be interesting to talk to soldiers, to hear their story and to undertake inquiry into their perceptions.

Victimisation is mentioned in the article.  This is when there is a negative consequence for the target reporting an incident.  This is reflective of toxic cultures that want to cover up sexual harassment and rape as they keep their image (as they put it) “clean”.  Yet the woman may feel unclean.  This would be part of their Risk Management strategy to mitigate the risk to their reputation rather than hold people to account as someone has been hurt.  I believe they should be accountable under Australian law like any other man engaged in a crime. Of course, the legal avenue wouldn’t be needed if people were willing to learn and change behaviour on the basis of realisation.  Yet we never resolve conflict, we blame, we shame, we cover up, we avoid and refuse to take full responsiblity.  My understanding is that mature men do this.  However, in institutions this accountability that could have taken place doesn’t given protection of interests.  This is a problem when we cannot express the truth, resolve conflict then make changes to ensure others are safe.

Violence is the core issue for men, they have to come to a point where they see the links between violence against women and wars of aggression.  Both are about power. The real work is to learn empathy, respect, cooperation and emotional intelligence.  This will not be discussed seriously at higher levels yet I know it is the future of humanity if we are to survive or indeed thrive.  The war ethos is a way that has been adopted for thousands of years by males and it is unquestioned.  At its essence is the use of fear and death as a means of deterrence (against resistance) and compliance to the dominant victor.  It has not brought the world to peace, as the men are not at peace.  They have not focused on why they are not at peace and how they could implement peace in their lives to bring about real security (from other men).  They are often young, inexperienced and recruited from poorer areas with less educated or somehow seeking to find themselves as men.  Some look for role models in the military given absent fathers.  Many may not come from homes where mothers were respected and the family unit harmonious, they may have come from the opposite, where war was common at home.  The wars within become the wars without.  They become gender wars, the war against liberals, the war against muslims and on it goes.  War does not make us safe as it is an energy that is destructive ultimately. As Gandhi stated: “an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.”  When we begin to questioning our negative thinking for truth (of ourselves) and work on balanced and happier families can we start to move from confusion into a secure future.  All the ills in the world come from this imbalance fuelled by fear. 

In the case of sexual assault and rape this action doesn’t make women feel safe in the future, it is a betrayal of trust and a violation.  Women would have to do inquiry on this to make peace with the assault and men would have to look within as to why they felt motivated to force themselves and the implications of this for the ‘other’ person, not as an enemy but as a human being, to stand in the ‘others’ shoes.  How would they feel if they were raped or harassed in a way that was distressing?  Sexual violence is another form of war that some men think is acceptable or being ‘a man’ or they are simply desensitised and don’t care (indifference).  The issue of entitlement and patriarchy underlies the acceptance (consciously or unconsciously) of this behaviour that is grounded in inequality and the subjegation of the feminine (within themselves). I say within themselves as both women and men have the masculine and feminine, it is in varying degrees in both genders.  In a dominant patriarchy the feminine is suppressed as weak in order for the false masculine to be experienced as superior and the protector. In truth women are protectors and some women very masculine.  Conversely some men are feminine and very nurturing.  The spectrum varies.  Yet in the past a feminine masculine would be viewed as gay and isolated by men who see themselves as ‘real’ macho and aggressive s they have been trained that this is what men do.  I hear of social constructivism of women but it is highly pronounced in men, when they are taught via violent video games that this is what men do.  They must dominate, protect, arm up, win the fight to be winners as losers are not remembered.  This is a false teaching of the masculine.  The real masculine is caring, kind, active and protective as well as generous.  This is an outward energy that pushes forward but not aggressively, aggression comes from repression of emotions and frustation. It is not the natural male.  The natural male is very peaceful in truth.  He has found his manhood by facing fear (not through violence) initiations in the forest or whatever fears he quietly carries.  When he faces this fear it dissipates.  What you resist persists what you look at disappears.  The same applies to women. Women who are not little girls learn to face their fears, walk at night, travel alone, travel the world, speak up, face violence with compassion and so on.  Girls like boys have to go through initiations to find their maturity in order to become healthy adults.  It is a myth that it is for males alone.  I know this as a female as I have put myself through initations to discover the mature woman within not vying for a males attention but at peace with herself and a friend to men.  If the connection becomes real, goes beyond sexual hormones then a relationship would naturally happen, there would be no violence as there is no need to dominate or win.  it becomes companionship and sharing whilst valuing diversity.  This is the microcosm of the macrocosm in our world. Until this happens men remain at war.  I can see now as I type how the sexual harassment and rape of military men connects to their relationships, their understanding of their masculinity and warfare.  The suppression of the feminine is the reason why war exists.  I see this in a moment of clarity.

I heard a very powerful statement some time ago which stated men give and boys take.  Something to contemplate.  

One last thought – until we are each others keepers security will not be found in violence. I contemplate the civilians in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and the many rapes and warfare there.  This trend of attacking civilians changes the rules of war. The Geneva Conventions become irrelevant and the protecting of innocent people no longer a modicum of decency.  It is only in acts of real love that security and peace is found. Like love you can’t fake it, you have to find the common humanity, empathy for the other, understand their culture and respect their sovereignty.  This is the real work of peace.  I invite the US military to consider peace in the real sense and be a force for good in our world.  Refer https://wpas.worldpeacefull.com/2012/03/us-special-forces-first-new-earth-battalion-for-world-peace/

We deeply need peacekeepers now.  I send them peace and love.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2018-02-15/investigations-dropped-into-darwin-based-us-marines/9426678

Investigations into Darwin-based US marines accused of sexual crimes dropped

By Dylan Welch and John Stewart

Updated 15 Feb 2018, 6:18am

A series of investigations into alleged sexual crimes committed by US marines in and around Darwin have been quietly dropped by Australian and American authorities, ABC News can reveal.

That decision raises questions about whether Australia and the US are doing enough to investigate claims of sex crimes, and echoes decades of international concern about the cover-up of those crimes by US military personnel serving abroad.

Do you know more about this story? Email investigations@abc.net.au

 

“I think that any sort of criminal activity against Australian citizens … should be dealt with appropriately by the law,” said Flinders University sociologist Ben Wadham, a former Australian infantry soldier and military policer officer.

“And in this case I would argue the [Australian] Defence Force are actively attempting to keep it out of the public eye,” Dr Wadham said, adding it was difficult to know how serious the cases were, given the lack of transparency.

 

Thousands of US marines have been based at Robertson Barracks outside Darwin since late 2011, when then-prime minister Julia Gillard and then-US president Barack Obama announced a plan to bolster military cooperation in Asia. The announcement was part of the Obama administration’s strategic pivot to Asia.

ABC News has obtained half-a-dozen reports authored by the Australian Defence Force Investigative Service (ADFIS) between 2013 and 2015 via a freedom of information request. The reports include three cases of indecent assault and inappropriate behaviour by US marines.

The documents are heavily redacted but provide an insight into how allegations of sexual or indecent assault by US military personnel in Australia are treated.

In one report, the NT Police investigated two alleged indecent assaults dating from August 2013.

One incident occurred at a bar in Darwin’s CBD. The other involved “unwanted sexual advances” in a Darwin hotel room.

NT Police interviewed the alleged victims and sent briefs of evidence to the NT Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP).

“The DPP advised NT Pol[ice] that based on the evidence available, there would be no reasonable prospects for a successful prosecution with either complainant,” the ADF report stated.

‘Jurisdictional issues’ stalled investigation

Another report, from September 2014, outlined how ADFIS began an investigation into an allegation of inappropriate behaviour that stalled.

“All ADFIS action in this matter has ceased due to jurisdictional issues,” the report stated.

 

When ABC News enquired about the “jurisdictional issues”, a Defence spokesperson said: “The complainant chose not to make a criminal complaint, they elected for the US Army to deal with the matter in its entirety.”

A spokesman for the US Marine Corps, Lieutenant-Colonel Curtis L Hill, said he could only identify one case from the ADFIS reports, the September 2014 matter, which he believed related to an allegation that a marine behaved inappropriately towards a gym employee.

“The subsequent investigation showed the allegation was exaggerated and there was no legal action taken,” he said.

In another case, a US marine was accused of inappropriate behaviour during an exercise at a South Australian military training area on March 23, 2015.

That matter was not investigated because someone, presumably the alleged victim, “declined to make a formal complaint regarding the incident”, the report states.

Military ‘protective’ of US-Australia relationship

Dr Wadham said it was possible Australian and US forces were more concerned about the military relationship than they were about properly investigating the allegations.

“This particular relationship is very important for the Australian Government and the US Government,” he said.

“The military like to be very protective of that and try to keep that as clean as possible.”

A Defence spokesperson denied that assertion. “A victim-centric approach is maintained throughout the investigative and follow-on phases, not any notion of protecting international relationships.

“In this case, the victim’s wishes determined the level of Australian response. Defence has not treated the case to which you refer any differently to any others, and has cooperated with the relevant US authorities as they have handled their response.”

One case not mentioned in the Defence police reports is that of US sailor Hugh Patrick Malone, who in November 2014 was found not guilty of the rape of a Darwin woman.

Concerns were expressed after the 2011 US marines announcement that Australia could experience the same issues endured by countries such as Japan, which has had a US military presence since the end of World War II.

Japan has experienced a slew of cases of rape, murder and other serious crimes committed by US military personnel since then.

In 2014, the Associated Press obtained records of more than 1,000 alleged US military sex crimes in Japan. The news agency’s investigation found only about a third of the 244 military personnel who were punished served any jail time.

The Australian Defence Force has also endured claims that in the past it failed to properly investigate alleged sex crimes.

A public outcry over an incident in March 2011, during which a female ADFA cadet was filmed without her permission during consensual sex, led to a series of investigations into Defence’s culture.

Investigators found sexual harassment and sex crimes were often not reported because of fear of victimisation, and that “pockets of poor leadership” allowed a culture that tolerated sexual harassment and sex crimes to exist.

‘US marines are good neighbours’

The ADF defended its response to the assault accusations. “While instances of inappropriate behaviour are rare and inconsistent with the overall conduct of US marines in Darwin, the ADF and the US Marine Corps take allegations of misconduct very seriously,” a spokesperson said, adding that civilian police had primary responsibility for investigating criminal allegations involving military personnel.

 

When asked why none of the matters had led to prosecutions, they said: “There may be a number of reasons why a particular complaint does not proceed to a trial.

“These include where the victim does not wish for the matter to proceed, or where there is insufficient evidence to proceed.”

Defence also failed to place the incidents on a public register of incident reports called Hot Issue Briefs (HIBs). The HIBs register was created as a means of increasing Defence’s transparency in the wake of the ADFA Skype scandal.

The three incidents were not included on the HIBs register because publication may have hindered investigations by Defence or civilian authorities, the Defence Department said.

However, the HIBs web page notes Defence is able to create a HIB and release it once investigations have finished.

The ADF did not comment about why that did not occur.

The US Marine Corps also defended its behaviour.

“US marines are good neighbours who are engaged with and contribute to host communities,” Lieutenant-Colonel Hill stated in an email.

“Allegations of misconduct are taken very seriously and investigated thoroughly by the command or agency exercising jurisdiction over the allegation. When allegations are substantiated, appropriate legal or administrative action is pursued.”

In another case in the ADF reports, an Australian military member was accused of sexual assault in the US.

He faced no sanction after the US Army found there was “insufficient evidence” to criminally charge him, Defence told ABC News.

Mohandas Gandhi

“God has no religion”

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