This week, 17 veterans and active-duty service members filed a landmark lawsuit accusing the Pentagon of looking the other way despite frequent reports of rape and other abuse against women in the armed forces. The suit singles out Defense Secretary Robert Gates and his predecessor, Donald Rumsfeld, accusing them of running an institution in which violence against women is tolerated. A Pentagon spokesman said "sexual assault is a wider societal problem" and the military is trying to prevent it, just as civilian leaders are. What might the lawsuit accomplish? (Watch an AP report about the lawsuit)
The lawsuit can only help: It's undeniable that "rape is badly handled by military authorities," says Julia Bodeeb at Gather. Maybe if our military leaders are publicly held accountable by this lawsuit, they will realize that rape must always be prosecuted, no matter how badly every conviction damages the armed forces' reputation.
"14 people raped while serving in the military sue the Pentagon for failure to prosecute rapists"
The Pentagon can't work miracles: Nobody expects the Pentagon to stamp out rape overnight, says Maya at Feministing. The misogynistic culture in the military is "deeply entrenched," and it will take time to change it. But the generals can take a huge step forward if they just "stop sweeping it under the rug."
"Service members sue Pentagon for ignoring military rapes"
This is about supporting our troops: It's important to understand that this isn't an anti-military lawsuit, says David Badash at The New Civil Rights Movement. People who deny "rape exists" in the armed forces are the ones who are "not supporting our troops." When women and men put themselves at risk to serve their country, they deserve to know that their superiors and a grateful nation have got their backs.
"More on the sexual assault and rape lawsuit facing the Pentagon"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- The Obama administration's nonstop incoherence on ISIS
- This is what happens when Republicans actually enact their radical agenda
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- 6 super-helpful iOS8 tricks you probably don't know about
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- How I dug myself out of debt — and stayed that way
- Why so many Christians won't back down on gay marriage
- 6 things the happiest families all have in common
- The science of sex: 4 harsh truths about dating and mating
- Mike Huckabee's head-scratching advice to Christian voters
Subscribe to the Week