From 2003-2008, I was a United States Marine. Trained as a Russian Linguist, I worked as a Security, Governance, and Economics Analyst. "Property of male Marines" was never in my job description, and therefore I should never have had to "expect" to be raped. Nowhere in my enlistment contract, not even in the fine print, did I agree to sexual assault as a part of the job. Fox News pundit Liz Trotta's comments suggesting that servicewomen should "expect" to be raped because they're in "close contact" with their male colleagues are beyond ignorant; they fall into the category of hate speech.
Not only does Ms. Trotta's twisted stance set women's rights back several decades, once again telling us that despite our abilities and qualifications, we should not be allowed to work in our chosen profession so as to avoid "tempting" violent criminals whom she desires to see continue their employment, but she goes even further to suggest that any male in our armed forces is completely capable of raping his colleagues.
In doing so, she has successfully degraded the entirety of the US military and painted the image of a lawless Old West in an organization that is run on order and discipline. Ms. Trotta has expressed a belief that those in uniform should not be protected by basic laws which govern and protect all other Americans, nor should we be held accountable to these laws. In expressing these beliefs, she demonstrates how very little she actually understands our military, and how extremely unqualified she is to speak on our behalf.
We are not all constantly on guard, weapons at the ready, ready to fight to the death in our barracks. The barracks are our homes. I would ask Ms. Trotta if she finds it reasonable to act this way in her own home; if she keeps a weapon on her and refuses drinks around her own family, since she is in "close contact" with males. Of course not! They are her family. She should not "expect" assault at every turn. She should be able to relax and feel safe, and let her guard down.
Military personnel are no different. When a crime is committed, let us not continue to live in the Dark Ages where we blame the victim for the crime of the perpetrator. It is this long-outdated attitude which has allowed rape and sexual assault to run rampant in our armed forces for far too long, and it is only by extinguishing these misconceptions that we can hope to bring an end to this epidemic.
I could go on about how Trotta's statements ignore the existence of thousands of male survivors of rape and sexual assault in the military. How she criticizes "feminists" for supporting sexual abuse programs because the military exists "to defend and protect us, not the people who were fighting the war," speaking as though those of us who serve are expendable sub-humans sent to do her dirty work but not worthy of the same protections she receives. And how she uses the phrase "raped too much" as if she has declared an acceptable threshold for one of our society's most heinous crimes — But this "feminist" would hate to ramble.
Please stand up for servicemembers by signing my petition calling on Fox News to fire Liz Trotta and apologize for her remarks.
This post originally appeared at Change.org. Republished with permission.
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