Jackie Speier sounds alarm again on military rape

Rep. Jackie Speier, D-Hillsborough, today made her ninth speech on the House floor about rape and sexual assault in the U.S. military.

According to her LinkedIn page, Sgt. Rebekah Havrilla is now retired from the U.S. Army and is a national peer support helpline caseworker at the Service Women’s Action Network in New York City – a hero for her service to our country, for coming forward to tell an ugly truth, and for helping those in need now.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.

  • RRsenile columnist

    When you insist on mixing males and females in their physical prime, regrettable events will occur. Gender equality measures must take part of the blame.

  • Josh Richman

    Wow, really? Men and women shouldn’t be allowed to serve their country together because men can’t be trusted to control themselves? That’s insulting to men AND women.

  • John W

    Ditto to what Josh Richman said.

  • Tommyo

    This is merely a reprise and counter-issue to the taxpayer rape via Obama/Solyndra across the bay.

  • Publius

    Ditto to what Tommyo said.

  • RR, Senile Columnist

    In Re 2 and 3: According to Congresswoman Speier, a noted war hero, rape and sexual harrassment are so widespread they constitute an “epidemic” in the Armed Forces. Whom does this insult?

  • Josh Richman

    I think their point is that it’s an insult to the nation – and to the principles on which it was founded, for which so many men and women are willing to lay down their lives – if we let it continue unchecked.

  • Publius

    Epidemic? When I hear that word I think of a problem that is happening way above the normal rate. The crime is real, the lack of justice apparent, but using the word epidemic should insult the men and women who serve in the military. Once again Josh is jumping on the liberal band wagon and bashing one of their favorite targets, the U.S. Military.

    There are approximately 3.2 million people that work for the department of defense, this is a little more than 1% of the population of the US (over 2 million are active duty and reservists). There are 1871 rapes per day in the US. 1% of 1871= 18.71. If the US Department of Defense reflected the US population in age and gender (which it does not) you could expect 18.71 rapes per day to keep up with the average. Granted there are more men than women at the DOD. Even if you reduce the national rape average by 80% to adjust for the unbalanced ratio and apply it to active duty personal only, you would expect 3.74 rapes a day in the military. If it was an epidemic I would say there would be at least 18.71 rapes a day.

    Only 2% of rapist are convicted and sent to prison in the US.

    Is the problem worse in the military than every day civilian life? Is this truly an epidemic in the military or is it a reflection of American society as a whole?

  • Patty O’Day

    I was in the Air Force for 8 years. When I joined up, women only made up 2% of the Military. There were thousands and thousands of men for every woman.

    While I was in, I only remember 2 women who reported that they had been raped. Both women lived in the barracks that I lived in. (In those days women did not share barracks with men.) I actually was the person that opened the door and found one of the women, naked, tied to the bed.

    I was furious when the Security people asked if this girl dressed in a provacative way. Those idiot Security guys were pretty stupid to ask questions like that in a women’s barracks. Believe me, they got an earful, and not just from me.

    After an investigation, it was discovered that both women faked their rape. One cut herself with razors and said she had been stabbed, and the other managed to tie herself up. In our shock of finding her naked in bed like that, we did not notice that one of the hands just had the scarves wrapped around the bedpost instead of tied.

    Both women faked their rape because they wanted to get out of the service. Eventually they both got out, but with less than honorable dischages I suppose, and only after causing a lot of damage to all the other women in the service. Now it would be even more difficult for men to believe when a women actually was raped.

    Having said all that, I want you to know that I believe that Sgt. Havrilla was raped. It is awful that this happened to her. Her treatment by the authorities was hideous, and there is no excuse for that.

    But….., I always felt much safer on every base that I was stationed at, than I ever do walking around in pretty much any city in the world. I am not saying there is no crime on bases, but the % of crime, and the violence of the crimes is so much less than in the civilian world.

    On another note, when I was in, if my supervisor had patted me on the butt like hers did, he would be feeling some pain in another part of his body. (If you know what I mean!) No man has the right to touch me unless I allow it. No man has the right to talk to me in a sexual manner unless I invite him to.

    And guess what? Sure, men said innapropriate things to me from time to time, (remember, I was 20 something at the time, and not too bad to look at), but I was never abused and nobody ever crossed the line with me. It was because I carried myself with confidence, and I let them know in no uncertain terms when they came close to crossing the line.