I have been watching the progress of both the Senate and the House debate much of the policies and bills concerning Sexual Assaults in the Military and Honestly, like most, I am torn on some of the provisions within the Military Justice Reporting System Revisions. But one question still remains; "Will They Get It Right?"
I suppose that only time will tell us, whether or not our representatives will get it right, and have this piece of Legislation put into effect. However, I myself, am split on the bills and provision changes; which now sit in the voting side of the political machine. Should Commanders and Superior Officers decide who goes before review or Court Martial, when another person claims they have fallen victim to Sexual Assault?
Here Is a man, I can speak very little of, who goes by the name of Brian. He stood in front of our congress, from my understanding, only to do what I have started to try to do. "Hats Off To You Brian!" He stood and testified, and in his statements, he not only recognized that he was in the minority, but that other men also was in the same position he is in. "Forgotten in the Processes of Legislation and Recognition." (These are my words, not his.)
Brian Lewis pauses during painful testimony on Capitol Hill last March. Lewis told the subcommittee not to forget that many victims of sexual assault and harassment in the military are male.
There is some portion of conflict in my opinion, as to whether or not Commanders should be taken out of the loop, as far as having authority to pursue actions against an accused Soldier, on the allegations placed upon him or her. However, despite this conflict within myself, I have to recognize my own experiences in the inquiry that I made, with my Commander, First Sargent, and my Section Chief.
Threats were instantly made, almost like they were "Pre-Writing and Coached." There was not one bit of hesitation on part of either party, in asserting their power over my position, as a Military Grunt. It was an automatic assertion, almost uniform from the top to the bottom. The appearances of each saying and forcing silence upon me and my inquiry, was in an attitude of "Not On My Watch" type of tone.
So, what if there were some triggers that caused for them to react the way they did? I am sure there were, but in spite of that; there should have been some added inquiry on their part to ferret out where I was heading on my line of questioning, and there were not. No, it was a "Cut and Dry" response with nothing more to add or subtract, which by the way sent me spiraling into a proverbial "tail spin" which allowed them to find reason to force my departure from the military.
Okay, So what! I handed them the tools due to my "Acting Out" to gain attention, which led to my departure. It is my opinion that if they could not handle the questions or the assertions I had made, there should have been a "check and balance" follow up of some sort. What I mean is that the Commander and/or First Sargent should have been forced to forward a written statement to JAG or the OSI, and have their position made clear to them, as well as to allow those agencies to become involved to investigate.
Yes, you can say that it was all happening in an era where having to report one of your subordinates were asking about "male on male," sexual assault, and that it was just "taboo" to speak of.. Maybe, but I am not buying that. There should have been a system, even back in the 80's, where some sort of oversight should have been in place to allow even the slightest assertions of victimization by Sexual Assault or misconduct, should have been double checked.
The Washington Post's article, a few days ago on the matter stated that Military Commanders were approaching victims and other soldiers to assert that they should not be taken out of the loop, or taken from having authority in such matters. It was stated in part that doing so, will cause problems in the way they control their troops and undermine quick response to the assertions of Sexual Assault.
I somewhat agree, but based on my experience I have to disagree. You see, I feel that everyone has a feeling and an agenda, when it comes to the Military Chain of Command. Depending on how you look at it, yes, taking this out of the Commander's hands is taking control away and compartmentalizes the matter from the actual norm of command control. However, by leaving matters, such as this in their hands, brings it under suspicion as each commander wants their command terms to have a "Clean Sweep" of superior service and somehow feelings of that being attacked is over-shadowing the issue of Sexual assaults within their command.
Now, Personally, I do have an issue with any commander going to troops and deciding who can and can not participate in Legislative hearings, concerning Sexual Abuse and Assault based on them being agreeable to some agenda, to keep the matter within the Chain of Command, as it currently is.
As some of us know, Military personnel are not suppose to bring bias to any side of the political issues to bear, upon any subordinate or action which is taken. The military is supposed to be an unpartisan entity. (Which we all know is a bunch of garbage, and politics play a huge role in the military, and always has; in my opinion anyway.)
In Closing, I have to say; We all have to make up our minds as to how we wish to look at this matter. NO one should or can make that up for us. I urge you to take what ever bias's or feelings you have, and jump on a search engine for some research and soul searching. Especially if you are, a Sexual Assault Victim. Neither myself nor anyone else should have the power to dictate what you believe is right. Not to say, they don't have the right to try and logically or fairly persuade your thoughts or feelings. And this goes for the Commanders and Politicians, most of all.
Have a Great Day, and Be Blessed