Sexual misconduct by Army Recruiters on the rise

News & Politics

AP excels at Freedom of Information Act requests, a miracle of transparency for which we, as Americans should be proud.

The latest finds that reprobate recruiters for the Army are taking advantage of their stars and stripes:

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.
If someone is well-versed in sexual misconduct statistics from the society at large and 1 out of every 200 recruiters having been reprimanded for misconduct is actually low, please tell me. It sounds awfully high.

But here are the two statistics that made me want to up the prozac prescription:

  • Most recruiters found guilty of sexual misconduct are disciplined administratively, facing a reduction in rank or forfeiture of pay; military and civilian prosecutions are rare.
  • The increase in sexual misconduct incidents is consistent with overall recruiter wrongdoing, which has increased from just over 400 cases in 2004 to 630 cases in 2005, according to a General Accounting Office report released this week.

I'm sorry, I just can't help but connect this with the overall reduction in ethical oversight that cleared the path for Abu Ghraib, Haditha, the rape of a 14-year-old girl in Iraq.

In a tight, hierarchical system like the military, codes of ethics -- or a lack thereof -- are transferred rapidly. A 50% increase within a year doesn't happen magically. Apart from the tragic impact on the lives of the women violated, there's a second tragedy unfolding: in the U.S. military.

By and large, the people who comprise the ranks are good and ethical people promoting ethical practices. Those few (inspired by, and sometimes directed by, Rumsfeld) who send the wrong signals are doing lasting damage to reputation of the military to the detriment of our national security.

Update: Feministing Jessica has more... (Truthout)

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