"You're Not a Marine Until You've Sexually Abused a Woman"

"You're Not a Marine Until You've Sexually Abused a Woman"

Postby admin » Wed Mar 28, 2018 3:20 am

Testimony of Rafay Siddiqui on Gender and Sexuality
Winter Soldier
by Iraq Veterans Against the War
2008





My name is Rafay Siddiqui. Well, actually before I start I want to thank Jose Vasquez, Perry O'Brien, and the whole crew for making this happen and having such a supportive environment for us to come out and tell our stories, because some of them are very sensitive like the few we've heard.

I spent four years in the Marine Corps. I had two deployments. The first one was in East Africa where we toured Djibouti, Ethiopia and Somalia. The second one was in Iraq all over the place. But when I heard about testifying, I wanted to testify not about Iraq and Afghanistan. I want to testify about other things that are happening in the world, like East Africa, and specifically Djibouti and Djibouti City from what I witnessed.

Before I get into that, I want to talk a little bit about the subculture of the Marine Corps, how when you enter into the Marine Corps, and I think this goes without saying for all the other services, that you're not a man until you've taken advantage of a woman. You're not a man until you've sexually abused to some point. And what happens is these young, impressionable kids enter into the Marine Corps, 18 and 19-year-old kids, and the only people they learn from are the people around them and their platoon sergeants, or whoever. And they see everyone doing it, and so they themselves have to do it too, because they want to fit in, they don't want to be ostracized and whatnot.

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So going back to Djibouti, Africa. I was there for seven months. And what happened there is I was sickened by what I saw. Young Ethiopian girls would travel up north to Djibouti City, escaping poverty in Ethiopia. And then when they would get to Djibouti City, they would just get taken advantage of and end up working as prostitutes. And what I witnessed was Marines and French Legionnaires, because the French was there too, taking advantage of these young girls day in and day out and every night. And the story needs to get out, because people have no idea this base even exists, let alone the sexual abuse that is going on outside of the base.

The whole economy of Djibouti City is more than likely - I don't know the numbers, but -- it's probably based heavily on prostitution. From what I saw, that was the only thing, the only way people could make money, because there's nothing there. There's no reason for the U.S. to be there other than the port, which is strategically very important to the U.S. government.

And in closing, I was very impressed with everyone's stories, and they are all profound. They all deserve attention. And I'm really really happy that something like this could occur, because as a Marine getting out, you're so annoyed and irritated by these thoughts in your head about what you've seen. And this is the exact thing we need to end these occupations, not only in Iraq but in Afghanistan and all over the world. Because this war affects people in so many ways. And I just want to thank everyone for being here and giving us the support. It really helps. Thank you very much.

Winter Soldier: Iraq and Afghanistan featured testimony from U.S. veterans who served in those occupations, giving an accurate account of what is really happening day in and day out, on the ground.

This four-day event brought together veterans from across the country to testify about their experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan - and present video and photographic evidence. In addition, panels of scholars, veterans, journalists, and other specialists gave context to the testimony. These panels covered everything from the history of the GI resistance movement to the fight for veterans' health benefits and support.

-- Winter Soldier, by Iraq Veterans Against the War
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Re: "You're Not a Marine Until You've Sexually Abused a Woma

Postby admin » Wed Mar 28, 2018 3:42 am

Testimony of Wendy Barranco on Gender and Sexuality
Winter Soldier
by Iraq Veterans Against the War
2008



Hi. Good morning. Thank you all for being here. I'd like to thank Lisa Kent and Jen Hogg without whom I would not be on this panel. And thank you all for being here.

I'd like to tell you a little bit about myself. I trained as a combat medic. I joined straight out of high school. I was 17. My first experience with sexual harassment was with my recruiter. He was married and his wife was pregnant. And he used to make it a requirement for me to go with him and talk to other soldiers about joining the Army and kind of like reeling them in, you know. So that was one thing. And one night he got drunk. And he had to stay at a hotel because his wife was mad at him or something. And he had me drive him to the hotel. And at the hotel he came on to me and I was able to weasel my way out of it and get out. That was my first brush with the military and sexual harassment.

When I was in Basic, [inaudible] were known to sleep with the trainees. I did not personally witness it, or was it on me, but they were known.

When I deployed, I was in a clinic. I worked sick call. I was a combat medic. And so I had this interest for working, for looking for gruesome things, because I wanted to see the good stuff. And I asked one of the surgeons who was there. I said, "Hey, is there a way I can go to the operating room and watch a case?" And he said, "Okay." The next day he came and he's like, "Do you want to start working there?" And I'm like, "Yeah, sure."

I started the next day at 7 o'clock in the morning. And through that whole deployment, I was harassed like every single day. I dreaded every day I went to work. Because this person would catch me alone or in a hallway alone and push himself against me with his hands behind his back. And I can tell you it's extremely difficult to do your job proficiently, efficiently and correctly when there's someone you have to look out for, your own people, your own comrades, your own supervisors.

So basically what he was practicing was quid pro quo: "I transferred you to the operating room, so therefore you need to give me something back." It never got to a physical point, because he knew exactly what he was doing and I never reported it, because I knew Command wasn't going to do anything about it. So there was no point.

This person was a person who was in a very extremely important position. And he had transferred me over and all I kept thinking about was, "If I speak out, it's going to be my word against him. And I'm just an E-4. I'm a Specialist. So who are they going to believe? Are they going to get rid of the guy who is making all of the decisions and saving lives, or me, the disposable Specialist?"

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And a lot of people say, "Well, why didn't you report it? It's so easy." No. It's not. You're looked at as a snitch for turning around and talking about your brothers and sisters and comrades that you're working with day in and day out.

And some people point out also that there's training. That we do sexual harassment training. We do Consideration of Others training. But the type of training that goes on is "Check the box" training. "Here's a list, go ahead and sign it, and there's an NCO at the front of the room with a power point presentation, slide, slide, slide, slide, slide; we're done! Everybody go home." That's pretty much it, what it comes down to.

It's really hard for me to sit here and tell you all this, because I haven't really --

I joined to be patriotic, and I joined to try and do something for my country, and I joined [voice breaking] Crap! I hate to be the girl. I joined to try and do something for my country and trying to be patriotic, and the last thing I would have imagined would have been joining an organization where by my own peers, by my own comrades, I would have been harassed in that way. Thank you very much.
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Re: "You're Not a Marine Until You've Sexually Abused a Woma

Postby admin » Wed Mar 28, 2018 4:25 am

Testimony of Tanya Austin on Gender and Sexuality
Winter Soldier
by Iraq Veterans Against the War
2008



Stop Military Rape/Military Rape Crisis Center
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