Due to double-digit black unemployment, the lack of permanent, living-wage-paying jobs, the skyrocketing cost of college tuition, and blatant racism in the job market, many young black people are turning to the military as an alternative, hoping to learn a skill and create some sort of financial future.
At the same time, there has been an increase of the number of ROTC programs (Reserve Officers’ Training Corps sponsored by the United States Armed Forces) in black high schools across the United States, even while many black schools are closing their doors.
Joining the military seems to be the best alternative for a large number of black youth who do not want to wind up permanently unemployed, working in slave-wage temporary jobs, or rotting away in the prison-industial-complex.
ALL BY DESIGN
That being said, I thought it was super-important to reblog Abagond’s post on LaVena Johnson to give young black males AND females–who are considering a career in the military–some LIFE-SAVING food for thought.
If you’ve ever consider sharing anything I’ve posted, this is the one post you should share with as many young people, neighbors, friends, family, coworkers, parents, and grandparents, as possible.
LaVena Johnson (Reblogged from Abagond’s Blog)
LaVena Johnson (1985-2005), an American soldier, was the first female soldier from Missouri to die in the Iraq War. The Army called it suicide. Her parents say she was beat up, raped, shot in the head and then dragged to a storage tent that was set on fire to destroy the evidence.
There are at least 13 other such “suicides”.
LaVena Johnson was an honour student. She played violin. She lived in suburban St Louis, her father a doctor. By all accounts she was a happy soul. Her parents had hoped she would go to university. Instead, deeply affected by 9/11, she joined the Army, like her father and grandfather before her.
In May 2005 the Army sent her to Iraq.
On July 17th she talked to her mother by telephone. She seemed in good spirits. She talked about coming home for Christmas: “Don’t decorate the tree without me.”
On July 19th a soldier with a black book knocked on her parents’s door. He regretfully informed them of their daughter’s death. Her 20th birthday became her wake.
The Army says her boyfriend of two months sent an email from his home in Kentucky to break up with her. She printed out the emails and set them and the tent on fire. She shot herself in the head with her M-16.
Her father did not believe it. At her height (5 foot or 1.52m) an M-16 would have blown off her head.
The Army sent him its autopsy report with xeroxed black-and-white pictures. It said she had a busted lip, broken teeth, scratch marks on her neck, chemical burns to her genitals but no serious injuries apart from the gunshot.
The gunshot was on the left side of her head. LaVena Johnson was right-handed.
The pictures seemed airbrushed. Her father noticed they came from a CD-ROM. The Army said he had no right to it. He was able to get it under the Freedom of Information Act.
The CD-ROM had the original colour pictures:
- She had been struck in the face with a blunt instrument.
- Her nose was broken, her teeth knocked back.
- The upper part of her body had bruises, scratches and teeth marks.
- A flammable liquid had been poured on her back and right hand and set on fire.
- Lye was coming out of her vagina, meaning she had been raped (lye destroys DNA evidence).
- Her body had been dragged.
The tent she was found in belonged to KBR, a military contractor, a spin-off of Vice President Dick Cheney’s Halliburton.
CBS News paid for a second autopsy. Her body was taken from the grave. Parts of her tongue, vagina and anus were missing. Her neck was broken. All things the Army did not report in its autopsy.
Neither CBS nor ABC reported the story, despite spending thousands on it. Essence magazine printed a watered-down account. All three make money from Army ads. For Essence those ads are make-or-break – and are aimed at black women.
The Army says the case is closed.
(END OF ABAGOND’S BLOGPOST)
Warning: Study says 1 in 3 Women RAPED in the Military
Source: American Journal of Industrial Medicine
The view of women as sexual prey rather than as responsible adults has always been part of military culture. Women today are indispensable to the military. Nevertheless, one woman soldier observed: “There are only three things the guys let you be if you’re a girl in the military – a bitch, a ho, or a dyke.”
Not all military men see women soldiers this way, but too many do. The hostility is shown by undermining women’s authority, denying promotions, denigrating their work, sexual harassment, sexual assault and rape.
- A 2004 study of women veterans from Vietnam and all wars since, who were seeking help for post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), found that 71% said they were sexually assaulted or raped while serving.
- The VA study (referenced in the title above) was funded by the Army Medical Research Department and found that 30% of women veterans said they were raped while serving. That is almost one in three.
- Thirty seven percent of the attempted raped and raped women in the VA study also reported being raped more than once and 14% of them reported being gang raped. This study also discovered that 75% of raped women in the military failed to report it.
Although this is an epidemic, it is not being treated as one.
An Epidemic of Male-on-Male Rape in the US Military
The Pentagon estimates that last year 13,900 of the 1.2 million men on active duty endured sexual assault while 12,100 of the 203,000 women in uniform experienced the same crime — or 38 men per day versus 33 women per day. Yet the Defense Department also acknowledges “male survivors report at much lower rates than female survivors.”
The Washington Times reported “The Defense Department estimates 19,000 sexual assaults occur each year, but only 17 percent are ever reported. In 2010 … 8,600 victims [who reported were female, an incredible 4 percent of the women in the military that year], and 10,700 victims were male, reported the Service Woman’s Action Network.”
(In other words we have no idea how many males and females are being raped who either do not report it or are “silenced” the way LaVena Johnson was silenced).
In its latest report on sexual assault, the Pentagon estimated that 26,000 service members experienced unwanted sexual contact in 2012, up from 19,000 in 2010. Of those cases, the Pentagon says, 53 percent involved attacks on men, mostly by other men.
Though women, who represent about 15 percent of the force, are significantly more likely to be sexually assaulted in the military than men, experts say assaults against men have been vastly under-reported.
PLEASE SHARE THIS LIFE-SAVING INFO WITH OTHERS