Sometimes it’s so discouraging….

From yesterday’s Guardian.

Allegations that a trainee paratrooper was gang raped by comrades in an attack filmed on a mobile phone are being investigated by military police. The assault involved at least six men at the Catterick Garrison in North Yorkshire, according to a newspaper report.

One of the gang is said to have pinned down the unnamed victim as another attempted to rape him.

It is claimed the solider, one of 300 trainee paras at Catterick, was accused of being gay and, after the alleged assault, was curled up on a bed crying: “Help me”.

The Ministry of Defence said the Royal Military Police had launched an investigation into the incident.

But privately officials suggested it had been exaggerated by “salacious reporting”. They also claimed the incident was “consensual” and pointed out that the alleged victim had not filed a complaint. [emphasis mine]

Yes, because we all know that unless a victim comes forward, no crime has been committed. Even if the attack was effing filmed!!!

And consensual?! Are these so-called officials flipping insane?! We’re talking real-life here, not some gay-porno, “hot men in uniform” fantasy.

My heart goes out to that poor recruit. May he find the help and support he needs to get through this ordeal and to heal.

Moreover, I’m both furious and discouraged. Despite an integrated armed services, it seems homophobia remains alive and well among the rank-and-file of the British army.

Why is it that the forces of ignorance and repression keep growing stronger, no matter how hard we fight? When I was a kid growing up in the Dark Ages of the 1950’s American West, I was imbued with the belief that history was progressive. Call it the “Disneyland Tomorrowland vision.” Not only was technology going to evolve to free us from the burden of mindless toil and drudgery—and give us flying cars and moving sidewalks!—but once people were offered a choice between freedom, enlightenment, knowledge and happiness, they’d never willingly return to fear, stupidity, superstition and oppression.

All one has to do is scan today’s world news headlines to see how wrong that optimistic vision was. People are rushing headlong–stumbling, pushing and shoving one another–to enter the embrace of dark prophets of authoritarianism, doom, guilt, and ignorance. We defeat the darkness in one area, it springs up in another.

Yes, I know we have progressed. I’m living proof of that! Were the world the same as when I was a kid, I likely wouldn’t be living in it.

But then comes along an incident like this one. When I think of the gruelling, painful uphill battle that recruit faces, to convince officials who long to remain in deep denial, that what happened to him really did happen and was wrong! I just get discouraged. We’ve done this before, in so many places and so many other times. Why does this individual have to suffer and do it all again?!

For reference, according to Wikipedia, of the 39% of rapes that are reported to police, there is only a 16.3% chance the rapist will end up in prison. Factoring in unreported rapes, about 6% of rapists — 1 out of 16 — will ever spend a day in jail. 15 out of 16 will walk free.

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17 Comments

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17 responses to “Sometimes it’s so discouraging….

  1. Alicia

    And my kids are growing up in…this.

    When I was 7, all I had to do is kneel and pray and the world would get better.

    When I was 14, all I had to do was listen to the right music, not piss off the officers, and the world would get better.

    When I was 21, all I had to do was wear the right tshirt and march in the right marches, and the world would get better.

    I’m 34, and terrified to let my kids out in the world I tried so hard to change.

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  3. Melissa McEwan

    I’m 34, and terrified to let my kids out in the world I tried so hard to change.

    Raising kids who don’t hold the dangerous prejudices that underlie incidents just like this one will change the world more than all the praying, protest singing, and marching you could ever do.

  4. Maybe they caught it on film because they were just making a video for fun? I mean, if “privately” the “officials” are going to speculate we may as well go all the way to 11 on the stupid dial.

  5. oddjob

    An excellent demonstration that rape is not sex.

  6. Brynn

    Maybe they caught it on film because they were just making a video for fun?

    You mean, it was all a prank? I’ll admit, that thought occurred to me. But wouldn’t everyone concerned, from the recruit on up to the unit’s ranking officers, report it as such as soon as it was discovered? Along the lines of, “I know it shows bad judgement, and terrible unit discipline, but it was just a joke”? Seems that approach to the media would have been gratefully taken by the military had it been available. Instead, such an interpretation isn’t even hinted at in the article.

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  8. oddjob

    But wouldn’t everyone concerned, from the recruit on up to the unit’s ranking officers, report it as such as soon as it was discovered? Along the lines of, “I know it shows bad judgement, and terrible unit discipline, but it was just a joke”?

    Well, but they were just having a prank on a faggot, right? Why would you worry about them having a bit of sport with one of them? They don’t matter!

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  10. Ivory Bill Woodpecker

    It surprises me that these creeps say they hate homosexuality, but are so eager to commit homosexual rape. Perhaps some of the rapists are “crocodiles” [that is, they live in “da Nile”]?

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  14. At the risk of being wildly over-optimistic, part of the reasons you might feel as if things are worse is that the anti-gay folks have already lost.

    Look: gay folks ain’t going back in the closet. Right now, it would take a huge societal uprising to cause that, and the people who care most are old. The younger folks have grown up knowing that some guys fall in love with guys and some women fall in love with women.

    So, no matter how you look at it, the hateful have already lost. They’re fighting a battle that they can’t win. Hatred is unspeakably ugly, and as society changes, they find themselves more and more frustrated, and their hate shines that much uglier.

    None of this makes things much better, of course… it’s still horrible how much damage the hateful-heterosexists can do. But their ability to cause that damage is eroding, and the acceptance of those who cause such damage is waning.

  15. Kate217

    I have got to stop coming here after lunch. I’m always in danger of losing it.

    I can’t help crying for that poor recruit. I’m too horrified by this to even comment rationally.

  16. oddjob

    It is claimed the solider, one of 300 trainee paras at Catterick, was accused of being gay and, after the alleged assault, was curled up on a bed crying: “Help me”.

    IIRC, during WWI T. E. Lawrence (aka “Lawrence of Arabia”) was captured by the Turks and tortured, including rape more than once. Apparently afterwards he was never quite “right in the head”.

    (That’s a part of the movie “Lawrence of Arabia”, but I’ve read it in other references, too.)

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