As a father of two daughters and grandfather of three granddaughters, I was extremely saddened to read the letter from the Oregon woman, Sara Rich, who said her daughter was a victim of "command rape" ("Daughter alleges abuse in military" on Nov. 21, 2007). My sympathies go to the victim and her parents.
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The victim needs to file charges against the person who assaulted her. If the rapist is found guilty during a military court martial, he could receive a dishonorable discharge or prison time.
My sympathies also go out to the sexually abused intern in the White House, the page boys in Congress, the altar boys in churches, the patients in doctors' offices, the inmates in police custody, etc.
Recently, a Saudi woman was gang-raped by Saudi men. Then she was sentenced to prison, and she received 20 lashes on her back. Her "crime" was that she was in a place where women weren't allowed.
On the other hand, more than one U.S. serviceman in Iraq has been charged with raping Iraqi women. According to U.S. news sources, some of those men are now serving prison time.
To me, it appears that the U.S. code of military justice provides rape victims with more protection or justice than the Saudi justice system.
I spent 21 years in the Army National Guard. During those years, I was on many military bases, and I never even heard of a rape.
I believe Rich's report of a "command rape," but rape is not limited to the military. Rape occurs everywhere, even in our churches. I don't know of any 100 percent protection from rape, but I do recommend that all rape victims report the crime to appropriate authorities. Then perhaps more of these criminals will be sent to prison.
There are many excellent careers in the military. America must maintain a strong military, and it needs good people to fill the thousands of positions. If the United States is unable to recruit good people and unable to maintain a strong military, we may all experience Saudi-type justice firsthand.
Lowell S. Barrick
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