Female Soldiers' Protection From Sexist Male Officers

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The way women are being treated while in the military is unspeakable and that is exacting what the women do; they do not speak about what goes on while being deployed in the army. Though recently a new movement similar in resemblance to Martin Luther King Jr. Freedom Movement, which was when many colored people came together to stand up against segregation and equal rights (King, 1963). In 2017, a new movement started called the #MeToo movement allowed women to find the confidence to speak out and tell their sexual assault stories (Wikipedia, 2019). Both movements are used to open up about people's experiences and see a difference in the world to end their oppression. Some of the women who did speak on what happened to them is, Martha McSally, the senator of Arizona who just recently came out with a statement saying how she was raped while being in the military and Joni Ernst, the senator of Iowa, who also was a victim of sexual abuse whilst being employed in the army. Both women never reported what had happened due to the realization that there would be no justice for them (Landers, 2019). They both knew that even if they said something to a higher officer there would be no consequences brought upon the accused and that lead them to keeping their mouths closed.

The problem is that women do not feel compelled to report sexual assault because the superior officers they have will not do anything to help them in the situation (McVeigh, 2014). Women who have been assaulted do not say anything due to the “embarrassment, fear, [or] shame” they feel or receive from other soldiers along with the fear that this will give them the appearance of looking weak which could be detrimental to their experiences while in the army (N.A.,2019). I will be looking through the perspectives of the victims assaulted, the opposers who are against the women and the effects of the legal system to help my argument. The evidence found led me to my thesis that there should be laws set in place for when women are sexually assaulted and that the accused should always be prosecuted because without that male soldiers will get away with sexually assaulting women and think it is okay. This needs to be a national concern because the main priority of soldiers is to protect our country and keep the citizens of America safe and how will happen if women soldiers cannot feel safe within their own camps.

Victim’s Views: How are the women affected?

Women tend to not be open about telling their experiences while in the army for the gruesome things they may see but also because they may have been sexually assaulted by a male officer and was scared to ever tell the truth (N.A., 2015). If women do not speak out the cases will get increase and more sexual acts may happen. The amount of cases have increased greatly with “2,090 in 1993 to 9,000 last year” (McClean, 1998). Between a small time period of 5 years there has been such a huge number of women being sexually assaulted by male soldiers in all of the different branches of the Armed Forces. Which means that instead of the problem being fixed it is getting much worse. The limitation on this is the time period, these statistics were taken over 20 years so the credibility seems to lack in this case. Even still that is an outrageous growth meaning women must have given up trying to seek help or the men feel that they are able and okay with assaulting the women.

Women like Brenda Hoster have tried to take their abusers to court and in her position she got dismissed and was told that she had to “resolve her issues with [Gene] Mckinley on her own” (Carpenter, 2014). Gene McKinley was Hoster’s Sergeant Major and also the man who sexually abused her while she was enlisted in the army. She also wanted to be transferred to a different camp but still it was refused for her. Hoster is not the only victim that has been denied help, many other soldiers have experienced the same thing. Another soldier, Army Spc. Sarah Reyes, comes out about her sexual assault experience on a CNN article written by Zachary Cohen. Cohen interviews Reyes who says how when she was stationed at Fort Stewart, Georgia when it happened, she was at a party drinking and had a fuzzy memory of the night so when she went to report the incident there was not enough evidence to bring it to court or indict anyone (Cohen, 2018). Even though both women were raped they still did not get to have a trial and have their abuser prosecuted for sexually assaulting them. Relating back to my research question from being raped and not be able to get justice they have experienced fatal side effects.

In these type of cases women do have side effects to being sexually assaulted and not getting help from it. Many of the soldiers do not get adequate “medical treatment or education” and along with this they also have a decrease of “quality of life, high morbidity and mortality rates, and economic losses” as a result of the clinicians not having the right knowledge on soldiers who have been raped (Valente, 2007). There are also high chances of the victims getting depression and abusing alcohol due to the fact they were raped. In a research article “Journal of Traumatic Stress” by Cheryl Hankin she has a study that gives the statistics of women who have had mental health treatments. The treatments report that 50% of the women who reported being sexually abused had a positive for depression and 40% who had reported it had a positive for alcohol abuse (Hankin, 2005). Throughout time women have had many different negative effects when they are sexually assaulted. When they are attacked sexually by other male officers the causes from that may ruin their quality of life, cause their health to lower, give a high chance of death ( i.e suicides ) and have them lose money as well.

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Opposing Views: What is the reaction against women?

Superior officers who are told about women getting raped either to think not to involve the law or simply think the women are lying. There have been other women who stick up for the accused and felt that the men actually did not rape the women but it was more like the women cried wolf. One instance was the case for Sergeant Delmar Simpson, where he was being convicted of 18 counts of rape. During the hearing his defense lawyers argued that all the women fully engaged in the acts of sexual intercourse and only later on said that they had been raped by Simpson (Sciolino, 1997). Also talking about what was happening with Simpson’s case was Simpson's friend Sergeant Mariana Shorter who said that the claims of the women made no sense. Shorter said how there is no way that you could be raped repeatedly and not tell anyone. She said the girls portray themselves as “young, innocent children” but in reality they are actually “forceful and very,very aggressive” (Sciolino, 1997). The claims give the impression that in reality the women are only lying and in fact Simpson did not rape the women at all. In the end he did end up getting convicted on the charges placed though.

One instance where a male marine was brought to trial unlike many others he was found not guilty for getting away with sexual assault but because in reality he actually did not do the act (Baxley, 2019). Only minutes after the supposed “sexual act” a Judge’s Advocate General (JAG) Defense team questioned the victim and took her story, yet when brought to court she made many slip ups. The “victim” had inconsistencies within her story, showed a clear motive and also lied in court while under oath, lastly after her so called “rape” she went to a friend bragging and excited about the intercourse with her and the defendant (Baxley, 2019). Relating back to my previous claim even though there may be women who are being truthful there have been instances where that is not the case. Women do have reasonings to get the men in trouble and their way of doing it is trying to wrongly convict them of sexual assault. Even men have been convicted even with thoughts of women falsely convicting there are some who still do not get away with that.

Ways of the System: How is the system positively or negatively affecting women?

There needs to be a breach in the military's way of helping women who are being sexual harrassed and raped. In an article from the Atlantic, US Naval and Military See Rise In Sexual Assault, by Aria Bendix talks deeply about the sexual assault that is occuring within the branches of the military. Bendix explained that out of the 3 campuses they have with about 4,000 to 4,500 students on each there was a drop of “91 in 2015… to 86 in 2016” (Bendix, 2017). In an article by McClean he gives the statement that the Defense Secretary William Cohen is going to go as far as trying to start doing “more to separate male and female living quarters” (McClean, 1998).To elaborate more McClean says that though it is not to be expected that this will completely end the sexual assaults it will help to reduce it as much as possible. Both quotes talk about life on the campuses and how there are still high numbers of sexual assaults, especially in these more recent years. Along with that there has been no significant differences between 1998 and 2017 even after what can be considered a small attempt at helping to fix this system. Bringing it back to my thesis the problem within this system is that there needs to be big changes made and by only separating the two genders does not mean that the numbers will sparingly drop and males will just automatically stop sexually abusing the women.

Still though there shows to be some positive effects to the military’s way of establishing a strong legal system. One way they are trying to better the system is incorporating the Military Justice Improvement Act in 2014. The Military Improvement Act which is being brought in by New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand is supposed to stop using commanders as the jurisdiction for sexual assault prosecutions but instead have real military lawyers with actual legal experience (Carpenter, 2014). Also they are making directives to add reforms to help in may different areas during the court process. Chuck Hagel, the defense secretary, has made some actions such as “expand[ing] victims' rights, improving legal support... more commander accountability and stricter penalties for those convicted of sexual assault” (McVeigh, 2014). Even though there are many issues pertaining the military’s set up for their legal system it is shown that they are trying to make it better for the victims.

When they get cases of rape or sexual assault the commanders in the department are who get to determine whether or not to “pursue a criminal case regarding sexual assault” (Sonne, 2019). When brought to trial the defendants do not get a judge for civil law but instead military judges who also determine the sentence of the their jail time and 5 out of the 6 jurors need to approve for the defendant to get 10 or more years (Sciolono, 1997). Which in some cases could be a negative affect against the victims because it takes a majority rule in order for the convicted to go to jail for the average number of years someone is normally convicted of rape their must be an almost unanimous vote on a jury of mostly men (Paquette, 2016). So in reality even though the men are being brought to trial there is still a low chance they might have a good amount of years for their actions unless the evidence is extremely strong.


By looking at all the evidence I have been able to conclude that women soldiers are not properly being protected by sexual abuse by male officers. I also found that some women may also be wrongly convicting male soldiers so this is why I feel the need for trial 100% of the time. With a restriction or law such as that implemented in place then when brought to court the true person in the wrong will be properly taken care of in a court of law. If this plan is used then there will also be a need for better lawyers provided by the military during such court cases.

Some limitations to this proposition is that the monthly salary for officers is between “$2,745.60... [-] $18,675.30” (Fuentes, 2017) but the amount for a strong military lawyer is between “4,000... [-] 10,000”, which is only the initial fee not including other fees that may come along the way (Gagne, 2019). Even so for soldiers who have not been in the military for long may not have enough money to get a real lawyer or a sufficient enough to help them with their case.

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Female Soldiers’ Protection From Sexist Male Officers. (2020, December 01). WritingBros. Retrieved May 26, 2024, from https://writingbros.com/essay-examples/to-what-extent-female-soldiers-are-properly-being-protected-from-sexist-male-officers-and-sexual-abuse/
“Female Soldiers’ Protection From Sexist Male Officers.” WritingBros, 01 Dec. 2020, writingbros.com/essay-examples/to-what-extent-female-soldiers-are-properly-being-protected-from-sexist-male-officers-and-sexual-abuse/
Female Soldiers’ Protection From Sexist Male Officers. [online]. Available at: <https://writingbros.com/essay-examples/to-what-extent-female-soldiers-are-properly-being-protected-from-sexist-male-officers-and-sexual-abuse/> [Accessed 26 May 2024].
Female Soldiers’ Protection From Sexist Male Officers [Internet]. WritingBros. 2020 Dec 01 [cited 2024 May 26]. Available from: https://writingbros.com/essay-examples/to-what-extent-female-soldiers-are-properly-being-protected-from-sexist-male-officers-and-sexual-abuse/
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