Women have fought and campaigned for a long, long time for the right to fight in the United States Army. Women were not officially allowed into the army until 1948, and instead served in the more docile positions of nurse or cook. Basically, they did “women’s work.”
Roughly 15% of the army’s soldiers are female, which is obviously much less than the general population. We are over half the world, yet you see fit to relegate us to doing simple housework.
Concerns have been raised about relationships between men and women soldiers, and that women will distract the men due to men’s natural desire to protect them. This, to me, sounds like the stuff they tell us at the beginning of the school year. “Now, girls, please don’t wear anything inappropriate or revealing. It might distract the boys in our class.” It’s slut shaming and even victim-blaming to some degree. If the men in the army can’t control their dicks and their desires, it’s not the fault of the women.
There is the very real concern of women in the military being sexually assaulted, as well as being raped as part of torture. It is estimated that one in three women who serve in the United States military is raped.
But by whom are they getting raped? Their supposed “comrades.”
According to an article at the Huffington Post, it is estimated that only 14% of military sexual assaults are reported, out of an estimated nineteen thousand cases between October 1st, 2010 and September 31st, 2011. This statistic both horrifies and disgusts me.
A woman in the military should not have to fear the people with which she works, the people she is meant to fight with and for. I don’t even have the words for how vile this is. I’ve always been a strong advocate of choice. If a woman wants to join the military, that’s her decision—I just think she should make sure to educate herself first.
Women are a historically marginalized group, but we’ve been advancing in leaps and bounds. At one time, we weren’t even allowed to vote—now look at us. We still have a long way to go, but the end is in sight, maybe even within my lifetime. When the percentage of women in the military is the same as that of the general population, and when sexual assault stops once and for all? Then, maybe, I’ll be happy.
Until then? Well, we women have still got a lot of fight left in us.