Author Topic: Sexual assault still plagues Australia's defence forces - Opinion  (Read 540 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Dimsum

    West coast best coast.

  • Mentor
  • Army.ca Fixture
  • *
  • 181,130
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 5,323
  • I get paid to travel. I just don't pick where.
Note:  The "38-percent rise" in the US was due to the fact that 6.2% of women reported sexual assault in FY 2018 compared to 4.3% in 2016.

Quote
During an interview I conducted with a US female service member last month, she recounted being assaulted by the chaplain assigned to her battalion.

She soon discovered she was not his only victim and was still grappling with mixed emotions about the event, including shock and anger.

The US military has a global reputation as having an out-of-control problem with sexual violence within its ranks.

Just a few weeks ago, the Pentagon put out a report indicating that sexual assaults against women in the services were up by 38 per cent.

It might be tempting to hope things are better within the Australian Defence Force, but our own problems with military sexual violence persist.

It's been years since the infamous "Skype sex" and "Jedi council" scandals inspired multiple internal reviews, a declaration of zero tolerance of sexual misconduct by the ADF, and a viral video featuring David Morrison drawing a line in the sand, declaring that "the standard you walk past is the standard you accept," and telling soldiers with sexist beliefs to "get out" of the services.

Despite these grand gestures, multiple internal reviews, declarations of zero tolerance, and an entire new unit dedicated to military sexual assault victims, sexual assault remains intransigent within the institution. In short, when it comes to military sexual assault in the ADF, nothing has changed — both in terms of the rates, and how the public makes sense of this violence.

The ADF has made public declarations of "zero tolerance" approximately every five years over the past two decades, even as rates of sexual assault and misconduct remain steady, and in some years increasing. (265 total incidents were reported in 2016/2017 compared to 261 in 2014/2015 and 252 in 2015/2016)

These rates should be seen as the tip of the iceberg, with evidence indicating that only a small proportion of service victims are likely to report.

In addition to the consistently high rates of assault, the ADF continues to face scandals that defy an image of zero tolerance. For example, in 2017 it was discovered that ADF personnel were participating on a Facebook group page that joked about rape, violence against women, and child sexual assault. Veterans described the behaviour as "backlash" against progressive initiatives to change military culture.

In late 2018, an Australian Army officer raped a man at a work function. His lawyer called it "tomfoolery gone wrong".

A few weeks ago, a former Duntroon cadet accused of raping another cadet was released when the trial ended with a hung jury.

Why is military sexual assault still happening, despite multiple efforts to address it?

After studying 30 years of media coverage of this issue, "boys will be boys" seems to be the catch cry. My colleagues Eda Gunaydin, Umeya Chaudhuri and I analysed hundreds of articles and found that military sexual violence in the ADF is consistently justified in the media and by military leaders as acceptable and inevitable as a result of young soldiers' uncontrollable natures.

In the ADF, there are beliefs that the military is so exceptional that service members cannot be held to the same standards of behaviour as civilians.

The ADF is one of the most trusted public institutions, viewed as exceptionally disciplined, honourable, and featuring a unique internal culture. Our research revealed competing and somewhat paradoxical narratives used to describe military culture that are revealing of how military sexual violence becomes accepted.

Military culture is described as unique and cultivating indescribable bonds that are necessary for military success; however, this same culture of elite masculinity and loyalty that is seen as necessary for warfare, is also attributed to persistent internal sexual violence.

There are two underlying assumptions here: first, that if men are left to their own devices, they will naturally assault women, and second, good soldiers have a "wild" warrior nature that must be nurtured.

These negative stereotypes harm both men and women and need to be called out, rather than used to further justify a toxic military culture.

Military sexual violence is elevated, regular and predictable within the ADF. The situation in the US seems even more dire. What unites both cases is that neither country seems ready to challenge the "boys will be boys" justification and acknowledge the very real damage it can inflict.

Megan MacKenzie is a professor of gender and war in the Department of Government and International Relations and a visiting fellow at the United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney.


https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-07-17/sexual-assault-military-adf/11310814?pfmredir=sm
Philip II of Macedon to Spartans (346 BC):  "You are advised to submit without further delay, for if I bring my army into your land, I will destroy your farms, slay your people, and raze your city."

Reply:  "If."

Online FJAG

  • Army.ca Veteran
  • *****
  • 198,200
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 2,354
  • Ex Gladio Justicia
    • Google Sites Wolf Riedel
I'm certainly not an expert on the Australian military but this article is just plain tripe written by someone who has a particular axe to grind.

The statistics quoted prove nothing more than that the reported cases of sexual assault or misconduct has been roughly steady over the last three years. Without differentiating the rates of assault separately from misconduct we have no idea whether one or the other category is gaining or losing. More importantly we don't know whether or not actual assaults or misconduct are trending one way or another, as the statistics are limited only to "reported" cases. It is not unusual in cases of increased awareness and leadership action that reports of infractions increase as a percentage of actual cases so that one can argue that a steady rate of reports year to year is indicative of a decreasing number of actual infractions.

The statement:
Quote
In the ADF, there are beliefs that the military is so exceptional that service members cannot be held to the same standards of behaviour as civilians.
is a broad and almost slanderous generalization. The chain of command there, like here, has made it clear that this behaviour is unacceptable and will be subject to disciplinary and/or administrative actions. Are there some morons around who, like within the general civilian population, think that they are beyond the law or who are prepared to take the risk. Of course there are but that doesn't mean it's a systemic issue.

Similarly, the statement:
Quote
After studying 30 years of media coverage of this issue, "boys will be boys" seems to be the catch cry. My colleagues Eda Gunaydin, Umeya Chaudhuri and I analysed hundreds of articles and found that military sexual violence in the ADF is consistently justified in the media and by military leaders as acceptable and inevitable as a result of young soldiers' uncontrollable natures.
is pretty close to pure nonsense.

I'm not sure what news articles from thirty years ago have anything to do with this issue in this day and age but regardless, I doubt very much if there is anyone in the Australian government or military who has said in an interview that "boys will be boys" or that the ADF has said such actions are "justified", "acceptable", "Inevitable" or the result of "uncontrolled urges". Especially in the last few years.

I'm quite sure that in Australia, like here and in the US, as we introduced women into the armed forces in large numbers that there were no shortage of Colonel Blimps around who predicted in the media that there would be no end of problems by mixing the sexes. While there were clearly teething problems and while we continue to have issues, we and the Aussies and Americans, are dealing with those issues proactively.

Articles like this are worse than useless, they are dangerous by perpetuating false stereotypes in the public eye. They need to be dealt with by a vigorous public affairs campaign that immediately refutes these allegations.

 :2c:
Illegitimi non carborundum
Semper debeatis percutis ictu primo
Access my "Allies" and "Mark Winters, CID" book series at:
https://sites.google.com/view/wolfriedel
Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/WolfRiedelAuthor/

Offline milnews.ca

  • Info Curator, Baker & Food Slut
  • Directing Staff
  • Army.ca Relic
  • *
  • 419,715
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 22,053
    • MILNEWS.ca-Military News for Canadians
... someone who has a particular axe to grind ...
This particular opinion piece seems to fall into line with the writer's research agenda and approach.
“The risk of insult is the price of clarity.” -- Roy H. Williams

The words I share here are my own, not those of anyone else or anybody I may be affiliated with.

Tony Prudori
MILNEWS.ca - Twitter

Online FJAG

  • Army.ca Veteran
  • *****
  • 198,200
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 2,354
  • Ex Gladio Justicia
    • Google Sites Wolf Riedel
This particular opinion piece seems to fall into line with the writer's research agenda and approach.

Well, it's nice to know that she has had a consistent career. Obviously one can still get a job at a university based on academic freedom and a one-note field of study.

I wonder if her gender based view of war includes an examination of why, until recently, women gave white feathers or otherwise ostracized men who were reluctant to go to war? Asking for a friend.

 :2c:   :facepalm:
+300 « Last Edit: July 20, 2019, 14:38:51 by FJAG »
Illegitimi non carborundum
Semper debeatis percutis ictu primo
Access my "Allies" and "Mark Winters, CID" book series at:
https://sites.google.com/view/wolfriedel
Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/WolfRiedelAuthor/

Offline SeaKingTacco

  • Army.ca Fixture
  • *****
  • 147,290
  • Rate Post
  • Posts: 5,356
  • Door Gunnery- The Sport of Kings!
Well, it's nice to know that she has had a consistent career. Obviously one can still get a job at a university based on academic freedom and a one-note field of study.

I wonder if her gender based view of war includes an examination of why, until recently, women gave white feathers or otherwise ostracized men who were reluctant to go to war? Asking for a friend.

 :2c:   :facepalm:
 

Or why 99.998 percent of all casualties of uniformed armed services in wartime have been men?