All about power
Anu Bhagwati is correct ("Womanize the Military," June 9 Forum): It will take a huge influx of women into the military to change its rape-condoning culture. The military has half-heartedly tried to change, but a series of recent news reports indicates both high rates of rape and that women who report being raped have their careers curtailed. Meanwhile, the rapists often suffer no consequences and, in fact, enjoy normal career progressions.
Since serial rapists and their supporters are in positions of power, the women who enter the military must have twice the courage of a man: They are willing to put their lives on the line when fighting the enemy, and they must endure sexual harassment and the high odds of being raped without any real recourse to justice.
I cannot imagine encouraging my daughters to join the military; this, perhaps, is exactly what military leaders want.
CHARLES E. JONES
Nick Liberto's June 10 letter ("Mixing the Sexes in the Military Was a Recipe for Misconduct") displays an appalling attitude toward rape that is symptomatic of a deep societal fissure. He blames the American government for the issue of sexual assault in the military, asserting that the integration of women into the military will inevitably result in such scenarios. Does he suppose that men in the military are incapable of resisting the urge to rape, and that they ought not be held responsible for caving into their basest animal instincts? That sounds like a serious character indictment of our country's servicemen.
In the same letter, he dismissively compares the situation to "allowing Sylvester the cat into the cage with Tweety." Unfortunately, the parties involved in sexual assault cases are not cartoon characters; rather, they are human beings who are capable of understanding the difference between right and wrong. Laying the blame on Congress for allowing women to serve in the military also implicates the women who serve, by proxy, for their desire for equal access.
Why are we so hesitant to blame the perpetrators of sexual assault? Is it not the duty of the American government to make sure that people who enter the armed services are protected? The solution to this problem is not to take the right of military service away from women -- it is to ensure that the culture of the military does not provide a haven for sexual assault or stifle victims' voices. The issue of rape acceptance is societal, but we can only impact society by punishing individuals.