Sunday, July 14, 2013

Why I Call It RAPE!

I will never know the experience of the most violent, dehumanizing, traumatizing and intimate crime possible to be committed against a woman. I have a wife, a sister, granddaughters, nieces and daughters-in-law that I could not bear to suffer being a victim of RAPE. The helplessness would be overwhelming. That is why I call it RAPE.

We invent euphemisms to say what seems too ugly and painful to speak. With terms like attack, assault and violated it seems easier to speak of that ugliness that cuts away our souls. These terms help defense attorneys gain empathy for their clients. However, even when we couple these words with the adjective “sexual” and the horror is masked, it is still RAPE. That is why I call it RAPE.

Should one of the cherished women in my life fall victim to the RAPE, I can only try to imagine their suffering. What I know from reading and listening when victims try to tell of their trauma, being RAPED is worse than dying. At least, with death there is no more pain. When a woman is RAPED the pain never stops. If anything, it intensifies with the passing of time.  That is why I call it RAPE.

I recently read an article in which a woman told of her sister’s RAPE. After the RAPE, the woman’s life as she knew it dissolved around her. The shell that was left took four years, seven months and twenty-six days to force her tortured spirit from her flesh. That is why I call it RAPE.

This author’s story started with statistics that I knew all too well and no longer need to research before quoting. Around the world and in every niche of life women under the age of twenty-five have a twenty percent chance of being RAPED. That makes RAPE more of probability than a possibility. That is why I call it RAPE.

In addition to these stats, in our own US military services the women who are RAPED are usually in the lower enlisted ranks. The men who RAPE them are in middle-level enlisted ranks or they are junior officers. This, quite simply, translates to a fact that it is men in positions to intimidate and manipulate women by power of rank who RAPE them. That is why I call it RAPE.

Of those women in the military services, who pursue charges against the men who RAPED them, 97% are discharged before their contracted discharge dates. Make your own assumptions as to the reasons. That is why I call it RAPE.

One can only try to guess the unfathomable numbers of women who are RAPED but, for whatever their personal and delicate reasons, do not report the RAPE to bring justice against their RAPISTS. That is why I call it RAPE.

Those who do attempt to have their RAPISTS adjudicated, whether in criminal, civil or military court, are RAPED over and over and over again by the due process that must be in place to protect the potentially innocent. Even when their RAPISTS are convicted, the victims lose. That is why I call it RAPE.

The men who are alleged to have RAPED are referred to as “subjects” in the Department of Defense Annual Report on Sexual Assault in the Military. (Note: Sexual Assault is a soft term in this title.) That is why I call it RAPE.

I have a beautiful granddaughter that I nudged toward naval service for the opportunities that it has to offer young people. A Navy veteran myself, I fear for her as I know all of the places on board a warship where a woman might be lured and RAPED. These are places where a witness would not likely come or hear a scream for help.  That is why I call it RAPE.

The most blatant disregard for victims of RAPE in our military services is the power of military commanders to override adjudication handed down to RAPISTS by court martial. This has been done. This means, quite simply, that a commanding officer can overturn a prison sentence and set a RAPIST free if he disagrees with the court martial sentence. Legislation was introduced to the House of Representatives in March 2013 to change this but it is not law yet. That is why I call it RAPE.

For the men who respect women as sacred equals we are grateful. For the parents who teach their sons that women are to be cherished we are grateful. For the people of the world who are apathetic and blame women for the RAPES committed against them; that is why I call it RAPE.

My eyes fill and spill over, while I quiver with emotion, as I write and edit these words. That is why I call it RAPE.

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