MSNBC is reporting on the law suit brought by fourteen current and former members of the U.S. military on Tuesday which charged that the Pentagon turned a blind eye when they reported being sexually harassed, assaulted and raped by fellow service members while on active duty.
MSNBC reports that it is more likely for a woman serving our country in the Armed Forces to be raped than to be attacked in the line of duty.
They're calling it "The Invisible War". Last year there were 3,191 rapes reported in the military but the Pentagon itself estimates that there were actually a total of over 19,000 rapes.
Only eight percent of these reported rapes were prosecuted with an abysmal 2% conviction rate.
Here's one story of one woman who is breaking the code of silence about this despicable behavior:
Mary Gallagher, a former sergeant in the Air National Guard, says that within weeks of being deployed to an air base outside of Baghdad in 2009 she was brutally assaulted by a fellow sergeant who burst into the ladies' room, pushed her up against the wall, pulled her pants and underwear down and ground his genitals against her, talking the whole time how much he was enjoying it.If that doesn't make you ill, here's another story:
"I thought he was going to kill me that night," Gallagher told NBC in an interview. "I felt completely isolated and alone and really scared. Here I was, in the middle of a foreign country in the middle of a war."
When she reported the attack, she says her commander’s only response was to reassign her assailant and tell her "this stuff happens."
Rebekah Havrilla, a former Army sergeant who served as the only female member of a bomb squad in eastern Afghanistan, said she was attacked by a colleague at Salermo Forward Operating Base near the Pakistani border on her last day in the country in 2007.None of the alleged attackers named in the lawsuit was reported to have been convicted. In most cases, the charges were either never pursued or dropped.
"He pushed me down on the bed and used his body weight to hold me down and proceeded to rape me," she said in an interview. While holding her down with one arm, her fellow U.S. Army sergeant took photographs of her, she said. She was later horrified to discover the photographs had been posted on a pornographic website, she said.
In one case, an Army officer who denied one of the alleged sexual assaults was charged with "lying on a sworn statement." In another, an Air Force serviceman who was alleged to have broken into the room of a female coworker at 3 a.m. at Nellis Air Force Base was charged in a court-martial, but on the eve of his trial got off when a a new commander came in and ordered the charges dropped. The alleged rapist was later given an "Airman of the Quarter" award and his accuser transferred to another base.
Anyone got any questions about whether or not the War on Women is real?
Okay, here's the second item to come across my laptop screen.
First, the good news: A global analysis by the Guttmacher Institute and the World Health Organization indicate that, after a period of significant decline in the global abortion rate as a whole, researchers found that those numbers had begun to plateau.
"The stall in the abortion rate coincides with a plateau in the level of contraceptive use, which had been increasing in prior years," said Dr. Gilda Sedgh, lead author of the study and senior researcher at the Guttmacher Institute in New York. "Before the abortion rate stalled, it was declining, and contraceptive use was increasing.Now, the bad news: Unsafe abortions are on the rise across the world. Researchers defined unsafe abortion according to the WHO description when analyzing data. The WHO considers an abortion unsafe when a procedure for terminating pregnancy is performed by a person who is lacking the necessary skills or in an environment that does not conform to minimal medical standards.
The report continues:
While almost all reported abortions were deemed safe in North America and Europe, nearly all abortions (97 percent) in Africa were considered unsafe in 2008. Nearly all abortions were performed under safe conditions in East Asia, but 65 percent were considered unsafe across south central Asia.I'm waiting for some state to introduce the concept of capital punishment for any woman who has had an abortion. Now, that would be a "cruel and failed strategy" - but when has that stopped the Tea Party fanatics?
Over the past three decades, about 20 percent of all pregnancies around the world have ended in abortion, according to the research.
"What we clearly know is that making abortion less available does not make it performed less often," said Dr. Lauren Streicher, assistant clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. "It's just more unsafe. Condemning abortion is a cruel and failed strategy."
Even in the U.S., where abortion is currently legal, Streicher said access can be limited based on someone's insurance plan and where they live.
"Fifty percent of undesired pregnancies are due to failed contraception," said Streicher. "Of those unplanned pregnancies, 50 percent resolve in abortion, so the need for abortion is always going to be there. By criminalizing it, you're just increasing the amount of women who have poor and dangerous outcomes.
Overstating my case? If more Tea Party candidates get elected in November, watch for it in a southern state close to you.
I'm not writing this to be an alarmist. I'm writing to be an informant.
We have a little over 10 months to the next election process, including the election of the next President of the United States.
An informed electorate is comprised of people who will check to be sure where each candidate is on the important issues. I mean, besides employment and the economy.
And, the War on Women may be invisible, but it's real.