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Apr 7, 2008

I definitely agree with the goals of this program, but I think that the last point about rape in the military not being about sex is slightly off base.

First, rape is not something that should be condoned in any way, shape or form.

However, in the military, especially the military at war, you put a lot of very young people aged 18 - 22 together in extreme situations where any day could be their last.

Then you keep them in that pressure cooker for multiple years.

Now, the thing is that on the male side, many of the very young guys (17-19) are still completing their physical development. They haven't had a chance to mature physically nor mentally and the mental part of that maturity when it takes place in a war zone is going to skew things a bit.

Mix in there a cocktail of pent up hormones and barriers start to come down.

This is not a boys will be boys justification by any means.

That said, putting tens of thousands of guys together in a war zone for multiple years at a time with no means of sexual release is a kind of torture and some of those men are going to lose it and lose control, some permanently and some temporarily.

This is something that history has demonstrated many many times. Now, when the controls and barriers come down, then all that sexual tension and hormones that are fermenting on their brain, that is when the power and control issues start to come into play and very bad things happen.

Many militaries over the centuries have utilized prostitutes, slaves, and concubines in part to control this problem. Don't get me wrong that's like burning off the landscape to stop a fire, but it does illustrate that the problem has been recognized in the past even if it was not handled well.

I was just reading an article today even about a married couple stationed together in Afghanistan. They are not allowed to touch each other under Marine regulations while they are deployed.

Soldiers first, married couple second is the concept there.

Personally, I think that is flawed logic. I think that the military ultimately has to find a way to better manage the biological processes of their soldiers to keep them healthy physically and mentally.

It always struck me while I was in the military that the military takes a stupid view on sex and sexuality. They do not like for soldiers (men and women) to sleep together because it can increase pregnancy rates and that means that some soldiers will be off duty for a few months and not capable of fighting.

If the military required birth control for all soldiers, and then allowed them to sleep together utilizing their own adult judgment on when and where that is appropriate, I think a big part of this problem would be removed.

That also applies to homosexual relationships in the military. The military needs to first end the demonization of heterosexual sex and homosexual sex and instead turn towards keeping their soldiers safe and mentally and physically sharp and ready for duty.

Now all that said, there are times where these problems that are made public in the military are just like the types of problems that you see on college campuses and also go unreported. It is very similar due to the age and maturity of some of the people involved.

In the military other stresses often enter into the picture, but peer pressure and many types of risky behavior (some chosen and some not chosen like IED's or bullets flying) often spur people to do things that in a perfect world and a perfect situation they would never dream of doing.

In sociology there is a great deal of documentation on this phenomena and the military like college campuses, is still trying to learn how to deal with it and make the environment safe for everyone involved.

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WooHoo ed by Brett Bumeter at 12:10 PM  

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