Nearly two years into my service, I suffered a physical injury during a fire drill while performing a training exercise while out to sea, where I ripped the tendons inside my right wrist. I cried in pain after more than a week taking pain medication to no avail, but a Navy doctor assigned to my ship would not fly me out to a hospital and offered little more than a scoff at my circumstances.
“This is the reason why I never agreed with having females in the military. Y’all cry too much!” 他说.
Those are words I will never forget.
十二年后, and after receiving surgery on my wrist and arm to repair severe nerve and tendon damage, I continue to face physical complications as a result of the negligence and sexism of that Navy doctor. 十二年后, the mental toll remains, 以及.
Yet my story — from the daily degradation to the medical sexism that’s left a lasting mark even today — is but a single example of the blatant sexism occurring too often in our armed forces today. I am just one of thousands of women who face or have faced this kind of adversity in our ranks. While it’s embarrassing that I need to say it, it should be understood that sexism doesn’t just tear at women looking to serve their country with honor and dignity, it harms the mission of our armed forces.
Women who serve face high rates of sexual harassment and assault and gender discrimination
, and often have fewer promotional opportunities than men as we battle harmful stereotypes that deem us as weaker or less capable than our male counterparts
. For women of color
, racism adds to the assault on our service and our being
And the struggle women in uniform face don’t end at the conclusion of active duty
. Women receive less support in the transition back to civilian life than men
, leading to higher rates of homelessness post-duty
. 根据一个 2017 报告
, service women who have experienced sexual violence are nine times more likely to develop Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
(创伤后应激障碍) than civilians
, and their chances of being homeless are four times greater
It’s important to recognize the systemic affronts to basic human decency women may face
, as well as the need for systemic change to the largest employer in the world
It’s reassuring to know that Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin is taking the first steps our women
, our armed services and our country need
. 他有 promised to examine the epidemic of sexual assault and discrimination in America’s military
. Now it’s time to hold him and the entire Department of Defense accountable to that promise
, for the sake of the lives and livelihoods of women who serve everywhere
. It’s also important to consider the firm steps toward justice that can be taken right away
第一, we must reform the current Navy’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program
) and similar programs in other branches of the military
. During orientation sessions
, SAPR informs service members of their rights and responsibilities when it comes to sexual harassment and sexual assault
. As anyone can tell from the Pentagon’s latest report
, rates of sexual harassment and assault in the military continue to rise
, and the SAPR and this orientation aren’t nearly enough
. A reformed SAPR orientation must address gender-based discrimination
, emphasize the commitment to taking reports of discrimination and harassment seriously
, continue to encourage service members to come forward and report and focus more clearly on prevention
Service members — enlisted and officers — must know what they can do to dismantle the culture and system that enables assault and harassment, and potential bad actors must know the consequences that would follow if they harm their fellow sailor, 士兵, airman or marine.
第二, it’s time to shift the focus of the SAPR Victim Advocate Program to recruit and train a dedicated team of service member advocates — who themselves have personally experienced these issues — to provide a safe haven for service members to come forward and seek solutions together. The SAPR Victim Advocate Program as it stands is problematic: some of the people currently serving in these roles are perpetrators themselves and others re-victimize service members who decide to come forward.
, Secretary Austin should strongly support Congress passing the I am Vanessa Guillén Act of 2020
, named after a soldier stationed at Fort Hood who was brutally killed last summer at a base with a command climate that Ryan D
. 麦卡锡, the secretary of the Army
“permissive of sexual harassment and sexual assault.
” The bill details strict policy changes that would encourage victims to come forward by changing how sexual harassment and sexual assault cases are reported
, investigated and how offenders are punished
. If we have a true zero-tolerance towards gender discrimination and sexual harassment to include demotion and dishonorable separation
, this will create a precedent for others to think twice before engaging in these or worse behaviors
Women have served their country for generations in some way or another, and there’s no better time to honor that service with a true commitment to healing and recognition of their sacrifices. For the sake of dignity, respect and our country’s cause of freedom and justice everywhere, let’s give women service members and veterans the support they deserve.