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Westpoint-Rape Based Culture:the lies we believe.

The following quote by The Miss Representation Team cannot be said more adequately about what I hope and pray will bring about change in the lies men believe that can excuse themselves from viewing women as objects instead of people.  As I write about in my book and on this blog, we live in a rape-based culture and we do not even know it.

“On Tuesday, the Senate Armed Forces Committee held an important hearing on the epidemic of sexual assault in the military, featuring testimony from the top military officials in the U.S. Yet, while it was encouraging to see our nation’s leaders take this issue seriously, it was disappointing to hear that many were unwilling to make necessary changes to the status quo.

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and others are pushing a bill that would take prosecution of sexual assault in the military outside of the chain of commandin an effort to increase reporting and reduce retaliation – but the men at the top are unwilling to let go of even a little of their power. General James Amos, in response to Gillibrand’s proposal (which, by the way, is already standard amongst international allies), said:

“Commanding officers never delegate responsibility. They should never be forced to delegate their authority.”

Rather than working towards creating a safer environment for victims and survivors, these officials are focused on maintaining the very structures which have allowed this criminal behavior to flourish. Senator Saxby Chambliss made ridiculous comments during the hearing which reflect how oblivious some of our male leadership are:

“The young folks that are coming into each of your services are anywhere from 17 to 22-23. Gee whiz — the hormone level created by nature sets in place the possibility for these types of things to occur.”

The implication here is that the kind of behavior being discussed – rape, sexual assault and sexual harassment – is natural for young men to exhibit. Which, as it turns out, is incredibly offensive to all men.

Furthermore, the fact that our elected officials and military leadership are capable of making such off-base remarks reinforces the need for taking these decisions out of their hands and into a courtroom. As Senator Claire McCaskill explained during the hearing, it’s time we stopped treating sexual assault like a human resources problem and started prosecuting it for what it is: criminal behavior.

As defensive comments from certain male leaders are spread across the media this week, it’s especially important that we counter these limiting ideas of masculinity with new language based in reality, not gendered stereotypes. In addition to asking your Senator to support Gillibrand’s bill (if you live in the U.S.), send this email to at least one man in your life – a husband, father or friend – and ask him to speak up too. They can tweet about The Invisible War or call their Senators directly about the bill.

Regardless, we need more men to rise and challenge the narrative that it’s in their “nature” to demean and hurt women. Because we know that it is not. Together, as conscious women and men, we can create a healthier definition of masculinity which will ultimately improve life for all of us.


The Team”

End notes:  Saxby Chambers comments are not only ridiculous but reveal the ingrained cultural lies boys are socialized to believe.  Yay! Senator Claire McCaskeill…yes, these are crimes that need prosecuted, they are not a human resource problem.




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