Tuesday, October 12, 2010

MST, honoring the fallen and more

Joyce Wagner is one of those women who is supposed to be celebrated but instead has had to endure a unique hell seemingly reserved for women in the military. She was sexually assaulted in-theater by a fellow Marine who Wagner had trusted. She didn't say anything for six years because she thought no one would believe her.
Today, Wagner looks pretty tough, tattoos and a ring in her nose, but it’s not hard to imagine her a fresh-faced 20-year-old, eager to prove her mettle with the other Marines in her unit. But the dues she paid didn’t make her a better Marine, they opened her eyes. Wagner, now 27, recalled the night she was on guard duty, when a female soldier was raped by another American at gunpoint in the barracks.
"It's huge," she said of assaults against servicewomen in the military, citing a 2008 survey that said upwards of 30 percent of women are raped. Wagner believes the number is much higher. "They just don't report it."

The above is from Kelley B. Vlahos' "Are Veterans Our Only Hope?" (Antiwar.com) and for those who have been sexually assaulted while serving, resources include Military Rape Crisis Center, VETWOW and RAINN. NOW on PBS, in 2007, offered a fact sheet on military sexual trauma:

Military sexual trauma
Harassment, assault, rape and other violence.

Military sexual assault
Any unwanted physical contact of a sexual nature.

Military Rape
Unwanted vaginal, anal or oral intercourse or penetration using fingers or other objects, using force or the threat of force.

And it broke down the percentages which then stood at at least 60% of women serving experienced military sexual trauma while 27% of men had. Click here to view that September 7, 2007 broadcast (and there's a link there for a May 2008 update as well). And you can click here for the transcript to the September 7, 2007 broadcast, where correspondent Maria Hinojosa speaks with MST survivors and explains that in the first Gulf War, one out of seven female soldiers was raped. (Though NOW on PBS is no more, Hinojosa continues as host of Latino USA on NPR stations around the country.)

Meanwhile the Tennessean reports that four bridges in the state of Tennessee will be dedicated to the the following fallen "who died supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom": Capt Marcus Ray Alford, Chief Warrent Officer 2 Billie Jean Grinder, Staff Sgt. Michael Wayne Tinsley Sr. and Sgt. David Clay Prescott. All four died this year and it's a public ceremony for anyone who wishes to attend: "Four bridges along State Route 840 will be dedicated at 1:30 p.m. today to Tennessee National Guard soldiers killed in 2010 supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom."

Last month, Sgt. John Burner III died while serving his third tour of duty in Iraq. WBALTV reports that the family is asking questions as to why, when Burner was ill and unable to walk and breathe, the army did not begin treating him? John Burner II states, "We've trusted the Army with both of our sons. We feel we've been let down." Meanwhile Jon Hamilton (NPR's Morning Edition) reports on the treatment of brain injuries.

A friend at Time magazine is mad because Time has been doing a series of Iraq reports and we haven't even noted them. On my end, as I've explained repeatedly on the phone, create a link where people can find all the reports in the series, give me the link and we'll link to that. Bobby Ghoush and an Iraq War veteran have been filing from Iraq -- this is Ghosh's 13th report in the series -- and that's in less than two weeks. Time should have created a folder for just those reports. Anytime I was called, Ghosh and the veteran had two or three reports that my friend was asking to be noted. That's really too much to squeeze into one snapshot and, again, you need one link where they can read the series, click through it. I was very clear that we were not highlighting the Falluja report -- we've had more than enough Americans covering the assault on Falluja as a video game or a simplistic shoot-em-up movie. Other than that, I had no problem with the series and had Time created a folder so readers could easily go through the series, we would have been noting it. (I believe we noted at least one report at the start of the series; however, my friend insists that nothing ever got noted.) Good for Time for sending correspondents in; however, if they want people to read it, they need to make sure these online reports are easily accessible.

The following community sites updated last night and this morning:

And we're closing with this -- word for word from yesterday's snapshot -- on a new book.
In the US, Gloria Feldt has a new book and is engaging in:

[. . .] an online discussion about women and power as presented in Gloria Feldt's new book, No Excuses: 9 Ways Women Can Change How We Think About Power.
In No Excuses, Feldt asserts that today nobody is keeping women from parity -- except themselves. Combining extensive research, her personal experience as former CEO and president of the Planned Parenthood Federation, and interviews with dozens of women politicians, business owners, and activists, Feldt concludes that the doors of opportunity are open; however at the rate women are leading the way through the doors, it will take 70 years to reach parity with their male counterparts.

Feldt gives women 9 Ways to overcome the external and internal barriers keeping them from their own power and leadership. No Excuses has nine chapters, each organized around a specific power tool that will help women change the way they think -- and the way they act -- so they can lead unlimited lives.

Starting today, October 11, join Gloria Feldt for 9 Ways in 9 Weeks: a conversation about how you can apply the power tools in No Excuses to your own life. Feldt will share interviews with amazing and inspiring women as well as her thoughts and links to resources. Each week a different power tool will be posted, topics will be presented, and discussion will take place.
Please visit at http://gloriafeldt.com/9ways to join the conversation. You can also visit Gloria Feldt's fan page on Facebook to stay up-to-date on No Excuses and the 9 Ways. Please contact me if you are interested in reviewing the book, interviewing Gloria Feldt, or have any additional questions.
I have not read 9 Ways in 9 Weeks. I'm sure it's a thought provoking read because Gloria's always been someone to toss things around and come at it from many different angles. I look forward to reading the book -- and hope to this week -- but I need to note that there are systematic barriers to women's progress. We certainly saw that in 2008 with the near uniform attacks on Hillary Clinton -- a time when White men repeatedly urged African-American males to take pride in bi-racial Barack but attacked women of all races who took pride in Hillary's run. Gloria knows that and wrote strongly about that in real time. It's also true that we can be our own worst enemies. We are in the majority. Why haven't we seized control? Why do we continue begging for our rights? In all the attacks on Hillary, in all that sexism that spewed in 2008 -- sexism that also rendered Cynthia McKinney invisible and allowed for some of the most vile things in the world to be said about Sarah Palin -- in all the attempts to badger and batter women into what a bunch of White males thought should happen, no one bothered to note that we don't have equal rights. All the talk about voting and blah blah -- Emma Goldman appears more and more correct about how little suffrage would actually matter -- concealed the fact that women do not legally have equality in this country. The Equal Rights Amendment did not pass, there's never been a serious effort to restart the drive for it (immediately after the failure of it, the decision was made to go the route of the courts). I don't know that Gloria does or doesn't acknowledge the systematic oppression in her book -- my guess would be not in any great detail because that's not what it sounds like her focus is -- but I'm sure it's a book that will haunt and one worthy of a serious and pro-longed conversation. I look forward to reading it and hope to finish it by the end of the week.
The e-mail address for this site is common_ills@yahoo.com.

thomas friedman is a great man

oh boy it never ends