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.