The New York Times Magazine story about post-traumatic stress disorder in women in combat is 16 screens long, but it can be boiled down to this: Women in combat are likely to be sexually assaulted by their peers, and to get PTSD as a result, and the military pretty much turns a blind eye.
Oh, and the military is also pretty much a culture of misogynist barbarians fetishizing rigid heirarchy, which is what we refer to down at Spinster Aunt HQ as a megalopatriarchy.
”You’re one of three things in the military – a bitch, a whore or a dyke,” says Abbie Pickett, who is 24 and a combat-support specialist with the Wisconsin Army National Guard. ”As a female, you get classified pretty quickly.” (cite)
The article profiles several of the women for whom war and rape has not been an ennobling experience, describing them as haunted shadows of their former selves. They go AWOL, they attempt suicide, they become drunken recluses. As for the military, it’s the same old story. They don’t really want women around in the first place, so no one, it seems, is ever prosecuted for raping them, and nobody is interested in treating them after the system spits them back out in the US.
One interesting factoid from the article: many of the kids who enlist in the military come from backgrounds of abuse. Whereas women who have been sexually abused before joining up are typically subdued and passive from pre-existing traumas, boys who have been pre-enlistedly slapped around tend to be mean and hostile.
The army takes these aggressive, hostile boys and easily turns them into raping killbots who think women are toilets.
I suppose we’ll never know how many Iraqi women they have brutalized.
I can’t complain that the mainstream media are pointing out that aggressive men with guns rape women, a lot, and that this seriously fucks up the women, and that support systems are pretty thin on the ground, but it would have been nice if the author had managed to sneak in a tiny sentence about how (a) the devastating psychological repercussions from this kind of violence are in no way limited to women in the military, and (b) these bright young rapist-Americans had to have gotten their screwed-up ideas about women somewhere, and that place is our own encrapulated old American patriarchy. You will note, for example, that the photo at the top of this very story shows abused AWOL soldier Suzanne Swift reclining on the beach in the pose of an odalisque.
Come away with me now to the enchanted realm of Thiswouldneverhappen Land, and dare to imagine a male soldier striking the traditional recumbent pose of a prostitute on the cover of the New York Times Magazine.