Posts Tagged women
The news that the U.S. military plans to officially allow women to serve in many combat positions, pending some more review, is infuriating, but not unexpected. When “don’t ask, don’t tell” was suspended so that LGBT people were to be tolerated in the military, and not driven out, I felt it was only a matter of time before women would face a similar situation.
Just because the government will no longer legally bar women from combat level pay-grades, why would women – or anyone — want to be in the frontlines of illegitimate, immoral, unjust occupations which by definition involve abuse, killing and indefinite detention of the indigenous population? Why should anyone be fighting in such a force?
We know women have been in combat roles, even back to the Gulf War. Women, throughout history, have proven to be brave and skillful fighters and leaders. Just look at the Arab spring and revolutionary movements around the world.
Being in an imperialist army is different. Sexual abuse within the U.S. military is well-known to the brass, tolerated, and even encouraged. Veterans for Peace reports that rape within the military is twice that in the U.S. population. Some say one out of three women in the military are raped, while sexual trauma and abuse is rampant and everywhere.
For a case study in what happened to Robynn Murray, a young woman put into combat in Iraq, see the award-winning film Poster Girl by Sarah Neeson. It’s showing now on HBO on Demand:
Robynn Murray was an all-American high-school cheerleader who became the poster girl for women in combat. But since returning from Iraq, she has fought an insidious foe: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). This Oscar Nominated documentary short follows Robynn over the course of two years as she embarks on a journey of self-discovery and redemption through art and poetry.
On Friday January 22, about 100 people, mostly women, had a pro-choice event in front of the Supreme Court in Washington. There were also tens of thousands — perhaps 75,000 – people in the annual “March for Life” protesting that abortion was made legal 37 years ago.
Our side in the great debate got quickly surrounded by the other side, for about 6 hours. They wanted to “save” us, tell us “god loves you,” scream in our faces, menace and threaten (that would be the old guys), pray over us, and/or kill us. I heard that Randall Terry (founder of Operation Rescue in 1987) and Pat Mahoney, both of whom justified the May 2009 murder of George Tiller were in the crowd.
One of the points the mainstream media made on the March for “Life” is absolutely true: there were thousands of kids there. Yes, the Catholic dioceses all up and down the East Coast and deep into the Midwest close school that day and herd them onto buses annually. Many were compelled to come by friends, rules, tradition and authority. But many also wanted to be there, and were completely convinced that they could “save babies” by marching. I wanted to know why they think this, and hear their arguments.
But first, let me introduce you to the pro-choice supporters who were there mainly to counter the woman-hating message of the anti-abortionists. They were mainly young also. Student leaders of pro-choice organizations from Georgetown, George Washington, Catholic, and American Universities, and from two Maryland high schools brought other students. The DC chapter of the National Organization for Women brought others, and their national leadership with out there all afternoon. The Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice and the Fund for the Feminist Majority sent staff members. The predominant sign was “Keep Abortion Legal.” But lots of people brought their own signs. World Can’t Wait had a simple bright orange banner with the message “Abortion & Birth Control for Women Everywhere!”
I interviewed and met as many as I could. Priscilla came because she remembers when abortion was illegal, and brought her friend in a sharp looking suit. A nanny brought her two toddler charges, with the support of their parents. A Chilean student dropped her research in the Library of Congress to join us, because “in Chile abortion is illegal”. A man from El Salvador talked about the women who die everyday there because abortion is illegal, and a crime with which women are charged. A energetic Brazilian student said “this is a problem all over Latin America that women have no control over our bodies.” Hayley, a high school student, tried to get friends from her club to come, but they all flaked out, so she came alone with a beautiful “Trust Women” sign which reversed to “Women Are Not Incubators.”
Many of them had never been to an anti-abortion protest; others said they were sick of all the anti-abortion kids at their schools. Some were determined to come even if no one had organized the pro-choice side. (Thanks to Robby from Peace of the Action/World Can’t Wait and to DC NOW for doing so!) while others came from a sense of responsibility to keep fighting, even as they see the Congress about to pass a sweeping ban on women getting abortion in the Stupak health care “reform” package.
See Rachel Larris’ blog on what choice means to people who were there.