GI Jane Hell: Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

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Here’s why women are taking the brunt of the military’s ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy.

From womensenews:

Today, more than 12,000 service members have lost their jobs because of the so-called don’t ask, don’t tell law. A disproportionate number of those discharges are women, according to statistics gathered by the Washington-based Servicemembers’ Legal Defense Network from the government under the Freedom of Information Act…

The problem for women has worsened in recent years… In fiscal 2006, women made up 17 percent of the Army but 35 percent of discharges under the “don’t ask” law. One year later, women were 15 percent of Army members, yet discharges of women increased to 45 percent of the total.

Bad as this is, it turns out that lots of these women are fingered by men whose advances they spurned.

If a man makes such a claim, the female soldier undergoes a witch hunt from which her career is unlikely to recover. The burden of disproving her homosexuality is not on her accuser, or on the service, but on her.

And what else are female soldiers dealing with while fighting a war? Rape and large scale sexual harassment.

From the AP:

Of the women veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan who have walked into a VA facility, 15 percent have screened positive for military sexual trauma, The Associated Press has learned. That means they indicated that while on active duty they were sexually assaulted, raped, or were sexually harassed, receiving repeated unsolicited verbal or physical contact of a sexual nature.

One woman had to share a house with 20 male GIs. At least one of her housemates made such a habit of entering her room unnanounced and generally menacing her that she took to changing in the bathroom. Another had a male co-worker ask her what her favorite sexual position was. These soldiers find photos of themselves posted with brainy captions like “the whore of [fill in name of occupied town].”

While other guys might have thrown themselves on a hand grenade for these women, would they handle the asshole who was harassing them? Apparently not. But if women complain, guess who gets ostracized and moved? Guess who gets accused of hurting team spirit? Not the men.

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Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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