Military Rape Awareness Week, October 12-16th, 2009

1 in 3 Women Raped in the Military

The Problem*:

The view of women as sexual prey rather than as responsible adults has always been part of military culture. Women today are indispensable to the military. Nevertheless,one woman soldier observed: “There are only three things the guys let you be if you're a girl in the military - a bitch, a ho, or a dyke.”

Not all military men see women soldiers this way, but many do. The hostility is shown by undermining women's authority, denying promotions, denigrating thier work, sexual harassment, sexual assault and rape. A 2004 study of women veterans from Vietnam and all wars since, who were seeking help for post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), found that 71% said they were sexually assaulted or raped while serving. ANOTHER STUDY FOUND THAT 30% SAID THEY WERE RAPED WHILE SERVING.** THAT IS ALMOST ONE IN THREE. Although this is an epidemic, it is not being treated as one.

Rape survivors become depressed, ashamed and terrified, blame themselves in irrational ways, and find it difficult to trust anybody again. Like combat veterans, they tend to feel emotionally numb, helpless and fearful, have flashback and nightmares, develop severe medical problems and many become dependent on drugs or alcohol. Forty percent of homeless female veterans reporthat they were raped in the military.

* The information in this section was taken from The Lonely Soldier: The Private War of Women Serving in Iraq (Beacon Press) by Helen Benedict.

**A.G. Sadler, et al, Factors Associated with Women's Risk of Rape in the Militry Environment, American Journal of Industrial Medicine, 43:262-273 (2003). Important: see Erraham correcting study's rate of rape from 28% to 30%.

The Campaign

Veterans For Peace shall designate the week of Octothber 12, 2009 as Miliary Rape Awareness Week (MRAW). Between now and then, VFP will enlist its members and members of other peace ,justice and women groups to engage in a campaign during the MRAW to warn women who are considering enlistment in the armed forces of the heightened risk of rape while serving in the military. The campaign will rely on on the imagination of activists to promote the cmpaign in their local areas throughout the United States.

A bumpber-like sticker will be available to activists that will have printed on army green background the foillowing: WARNING: 1in 3 Women RAPED in Military. Also, a list of references to studies and other reports documenting the sexual assualts and harassment of women in the military will be available for th euse of activists engaged in the campiagn.

Ann Wright, retired US Army Colonel and VFP member, on Tuesday Ocytober 13, 2009, the second day of the campaign, will conduct a press conference in front of the recruuiting station located at New York City's Times Square and, with fellow activists, will plaster the recruiting station windows and front door with the warnings. Each participant wil be prepared and willing to be arrected.

Civil disobedience and the risk of arrest are matters of personal conscience and each individual must decide whetehr it is right fro him or her. Neither VFP nor any other organization should ask or even suggest that its members or supporters commit civil disobedience. It is not right for everybody. Only the imagination of each individual activist limits the clever and powerful ways that the warning may be publicized. Please join us.

If the United States is a government of the people, by the people and for the people, the warning, long overdue, should be welcomed as an important public service. Afterall, who wouldn't want their daughters, sisters, nieces, aunts and mothers to know of this great risk while considering enlistment? Evan a pack of cigarettes is mandated to have a printed label warning of the known danger.

Campaign Resources:

The Veterans For Peace web site: www.veteransforpeace.org, is a valuable aid to assist you in this campaign. A link to the MRAW Campiagn will soon be available there. Please watch our web site for this invaluable source in the coming days. It will contain links to statistics and research on this topic.

The most valuable resource, however, is the good will, dignity and imagination of those who participate in the campaign. Please encourage VFP members and others to partcipate in this campaign.

The VFP contact for this campaign is:

Sanford Kelson
8231 South Canal Road
Conneaut Lake, PA. 16316
1.814.382.4887
Cell: 412.310.8007
email: sandkel@hughes.net

CAMPAIGN PARTICIPANTS:
Please send Sandy Kelson, as soon as possible, the date, time and place of your planned actions and an after-action report, with photos, if possible

Thank you.