Even if you have worn a uniform you might not understand if you were not a woman in a uniform. When I was on active duty the Marine Corps didn’t have many MOSs that were open to women and I was not around them much. I had been released form active duty for many years before I heard anything about rape in the military. It was from women who were veterans. If we talked about our time in the military, they would tell me how many times they’d been raped. Wow!
I’ve always been opposed to women in combat for the same reasons that homosexuality was forbidden when I was in as well as blood relatives or spouses. If your relationship with an individual is greater than your relationship to the unit and mission you might scrap your role in the mission to save the person you have that relationship with. My thinking with regard to women was, would the men compete for the woman in an isolated combat zone. The idea that the competition would lead to rape never crossed my mind.
One of the things that I miss about the Corps is the brotherhood (a sexist term?), especially while I was in Vietnam where we depended upon each other and loved each other enough to put our lives at risk, even though we might not like them. That could be hard for some to understand.
I’ve never been raped but I’m certain that it is a violation that would be horrible and traumatic. Your story adds another dimension. Where was the brotherhood for you if you couldn’t trust the people that you served with, and had to serve with your rapist for you and other women in the military?
If the military is opened up to both men and women as equals with very few exceptions, is it right for me to have that brotherhood and for you to only have a sisterhood with something very dark at its core? Our sense of fraternity shouldn’t have that division but many in the military draw all sorts of lines. Male/female, grunt/POG, deployed/not deployed, combat/peacetimer, interservice rivalries, which war, etc.
You wrote the story with regard to ageism, another issue. A few years back I learned from a guy who was in my platoon in Vietnam about another Marine having had a sex change. When I mentioned it to my wife her response was, “Why would a man want to be an old woman?” As much as a man looses with age that sucks, she shined a light on the fact that it sucks worse for women. More crap heaped upon you.
Walking in someone else’s shoes includes walking the path they walk(ed). Thanks for adding to that perspective.