I am appalled at the human injustices that are rampant in our U.S. armed forces. Victims of sexual crimes must have rights. One of the reasons this has gotten out of hand it that it has been overlooked and dismissed for far too long. Keep writing your congressman and pursuing justice for these victims, insisting that the same military punishment equal those of the civilian population. In fact I argue that crimes committed in the service of our country are even more heinous as most in the civilian population are not bound to chain of command. As far as issues dealing with the VA (Veteran’s Administration) and getting proper treatment, this is not isolated to victims of sexual crimes. Talk to any vet, male or female. The VA is a failing bureaucracy. For example my Grandfather fought for over fifteen years to obtain his disability. He, a retired Colonel in 1974 amassed three purple hearts, a silver and bronze star and had 12 years of continuous duty for the CIA in Laos. Returning home with a myriad of health issues including cancer. He wrote congressmen and attended numerous medical hearings. He was also forced to recount and provide written records of some very emotional battles in which he was wounded and lost several very close friends. He was finally declared handicapped in 1994. The following year he passed away. Please understand, I do not mean to downplay what the sexual victims had to contend with concerning their injuries. I am merely stating the VA exasperates all veterans and compounds their problems. My Grandfather’s injuries were inflicted by known enemies in identified war zones. In the cases of sexual assaults their problems are compounded because of events that should have never happened in the first place. Focusing on the VA’s failures to meet the needs of sexual assault victims may inadvertently detract from the two issues: VA’s broader failure to serve all military personnel and the Military Justice System’s failure to protect and serve sexual assault victims. Let’s focus first on protecting our nation’s soldiers from their own law breaking, inferior soldiers.
Just a couple of years ago I mentioned to my daughter that the Armed Services might be option for her. She was genuinely interested. Thankfully she chose otherwise. After learning of the prevailing failures of our ranking patriarchal military officers and the precedent of minimal punishments for the convicted I am glad I will not have live a life of regret if my daughter chose a military career.