I personally know too many women who were sexually harassed or abused.
My mother was patted on the ass by a male teacher in high school in the fifties, who went on to teach at another school my sister later attended. Sis mentioned the same thing happened to her, twenty-five years later.
My current wife was raped by an uncle when she was sixteen.
An old girlfriend was molested during an Air Force medical exam that was required for application to the academy. She didn’t come forward for fear her appointment would be in jeopardy. The appointment she didn’t get anyway, because they weren’t allowing women in until the following year. She went on to a career in the Air Force rife with harassment. Her submission, in so many words, contributed to her demise and suicide.
A female corporal of mine in the eighties was raped by a drunk drill instructor friend of her boyfriend’s. She became pregnant. She asked me if she should abort it. In counsel, I tried to provide her with usable answers. Twenty years later I ran into her again. She thanked me for helping her. Her son was the greatest thing that had ever happened to her.
A female renter of mine was impregnated during boot camp by a drill instructor. She kept it and continued in the Army for a short time. He lives with her now. She had his child then, then some others, and another by him. He was married with two other children but is now divorced from that wife.
A writer friend, who is a retired female Marine, was molested by her father, put into foster care when her father went to jail, and joined the Marines as her salvation. She then recounts many occasions of molestation and abuse in the Marine Corps. The last incident occurred just two years before she retired a few years ago. Shame on my Marine Corps.
I would attest there is not a woman alive that has not been harassed or abused, though the official surveys claim only a third were molested and two-thirds harassed.
At Parris Island, there was a three-inch binder of things the instructors could and could not do. If a DI (drill instructor) was alleged to have done something inappropriate, they were suspended from duties pending an investigation. Never was the recruit considered good or bad, that was inconsequential. The investigation would find that out and determine if the DI could return to duty or would be punished. Several drill instructors of mine lost their careers that way.
No one wants to listen when everyone should be paying very close attention.
I know too well. I was also molested by a coach as a pre-teen. And I’m a guy, a retired Marine.
Twenty years later, when confronted with the man again, I made sure he was fired from coaching the eighth-grade basketball team at the Catholic middle school. I tried in vain to ensure he was fired from his job working for the city’s parks. An acquaintance of mine, who was in charge of him, refused to listen to my warning and treated me as if I was the problem. He continued on until retirement, but I am glad to report he is dead. Unfortunately, though, he died of natural causes, instead of from the tromping of dozens of boots. I was not his only conquest.
I refuse to remain silent and wrote my book of several of these incidents.
There are no easy solutions, but there are better ones we could implement in the military, corporations, and institutions to give more power to women, to back them up. There will always be people in power who abuse their position of authority. We see it too often. We see it every day.
No one asks for it. No woman asks for it.
No woman deserves to live or work in a toxic environment.
Men, we have to do better policing our ranks. And I will put my sexist hat on to say, that is what we do as protectors.
Real men give a shit.
Also published on Medium.