The Mix

Military recruiters raping female enlistees

According to a new AP investigation, in the last year, more than 100 women have reported being sexually abused by their recruiters.
This CBS News story about the high number of women being raped and assaulted by military recruiters is scary.

According to the piece, which is based on a 6-month AP investigation,
"more than 100 young women who expressed interest in joining the military in the past year were preyed upon sexually by their recruiters. Women were raped on recruiting office couches, assaulted in government cars and groped en route to entrance exams."
"[The] AP investigation found that more than 80 military recruiters were disciplined last year for sexual misconduct with potential enlistees. The cases occurred across all branches of the military and in all regions of the country.
The study also determined that the misconduct usually happens at recruiting stations, recruiters' apartments or inside government vehicles.
"The victims are typically between 16 and 18 years old, and they usually are thinking about enlisting. They usually meet the recruiters at their high schools, but sometimes at malls or recruiting offices."
In response to a high number of reported assaults in Indiana (where one sole National Guard recruiter was charged with 31 counts of "rape, sexual battery, official misconduct and corrupt business influence") military officials have initiated a new policy that prevents Nat'l Guard recruiters from being alone -- anywhere -- with a female enlistee. If they are caught with a female recruit, they'll face prompt "disciplinary action."

Does this sort of preventative punishment work? According to one of the Indiana liuetenants, yes: "'We've had a lot fewer problems,' said Lt. Col. Ivan Denton."

But I agree with Feministing's Jessica -- there must be a better way to stop this kind of abuse than simply trying to force recruiters away from young girls, with the lame threat of "disciplinary action" (what exactly does that entail, anyway?). As Jessica notes, "I'm guessing if they really want to, they'll figure out a way to get these girls alone."
Laura Barcella is AlterNet's associate editor.