Toy Soldiers and Manly Men
|Giant Toy Soldier is a child's protector|
in "March of The Wooden Soldiers"
|Richard Geer and Debra Winger|
"An Officer and A Gentleman"
The idea that what's underneath the uniform is the same as what's inside the person is a falsehood. Now of course anyone in or out of their Class A's is flawed, but we cast the idea that the Armed Forces transforms men and women into a special breed of soldier. One who can be trusted to hold up American ideals and values, whether in time of war or peace. But we have bought into the notion that when a guy puts on a uniform, he is a good guy, and that you should be able to judge a book by it's cover when it comes to a military man. Especially an officer.
The Sexual Assault of a young 27 year old civilian school teacher seems to be one of arrogance, assumed privilege, and an attitude of passive-aggressiveness.
Now, obviously this was going to be a party for two, with Jason Boman attempting to kiss Tabitha several times during the evening. And when it was getting late and Tabitha's text messages were not being answered she asked Jason if she could just crash on his couch. And what does this stalwart, upright all-American flyboy do? He insists that she take his bed instead. According the Kansas City Star:
"Boman said he’d be a gentleman and sleep on the couch," she testified, so she went to his bedroom and drifted off. She was awakened by severe pain from Boman’s rough jabbing of her vagina with his hand, and pleaded with him to stop. But the 5-foot-2-inch blond seemed powerless to fight him off and was falling in and out of a drunken sleep, she said." I stopped telling him no.” On the stand, she dissolved into tears. “It didn’t hurt as much as his hand did, and I wanted it over.” -Kansas City Star November 24, 2013
|Capt. Jason Wayne Boman|
Military InterventionThis alleged assault that took place in Warrensburg Mo. came to the attention of judge advocate general’s office at Whiteman AFB. Air Force Lt. Col. Todd Pennington, the top JAG officer for the bomb wing, believed it should fall within his jurisdiction. The civilian prosecutor for the case, Lynn Stoppy eventually relented and allowed the case to be transferred to a military court in hopes the the alleged perpetrator would receive a stiffer sentence if found guilty.
-Lee Hill Kavanaugh,The Kansas City Star
"The judge and jurors that morning of Sept. 14 had just filed out — but not Boman’s accuser, Tabitha Phegley — before a sudden celebration erupted in the standing-room-only courtroom. Cheers and laughter, and a great relieved sobbing arose, too---" Lee Hill Kavanaugh,The Kansas City Star
|Casting a shadow of pain for Tabitha|
“I was expecting it all along,” she says now, recalling some of the Air Force prosecutors who seemed more concerned for the pilot’s reputation. “Let’s face it, he’s a million-dollar investment for the United States of America. Do you really think they’d just let him go?”
But of course when you dare to speak out; those who think they know what really happened try to silence you. One parent, whose child attends the school where Miss Phegley teaches, complained that she (Tabitha) called her friend (Boman) a rapist on a website.Which was not her doing, but a friend's. On a school playground, we punish the child who is attacked for creating a disturbance. It's bothersome and noisy. Remove him or her and the problem is solved. This seems to be how we've dealt with sexual assault so far. Our society, it seems doesn't like to deal with this sort of reality. We'd like to remember our officers as gentlemen; tall, romantic, and heroic. The military it seems has swept in, evacuated their man to a new duty station, safe from any accusations, but never safe from his own conscience. His own bad act of rape, victim blaming, and betrayal will replay in his head for years to come no doubt.
Simon Must SayWe have a system that allows men to play the "good guy," and then when no one is looking they become someone else, simply because we have to prove their guilt. Some defenders of rape call it, "A hook-up gone bad." They use the culture scenario of the liberated woman who wants to be pursued, but when a misunderstanding erupts, she gets emotional and cries rape. He just made a mistake, is their defense. I'm amazed at how some of these guys who make this mistake can command a company or platoon, or how they make million-dollar decisions, but they can't distinguish between difference between "yes, and no!" They don't hear "stop!" All of a sudden we're to believe that they had a lapse in judgement. "He's a victim of a bad game of 'Simon Says!' is the inference." Tabitha's attorney, Lynn Stoppy, originally had faith in the system, and must have felt Tabitha would receive a fair trial. From all accounts the Air Force had an agenda of rescuing their own highly valued soldier, and saving their reputation. In retrospect she remarked;
“And the victim, ---was one of the strongest witnesses I’ve ever met.… I thought she had a good chance. My heart is heavy for her as a victim of a crime.”
I would be happier about it if I believed that this law would be in the hands of men who would use it impartially, and fairly. What are the checks and balances to make sure this law is implemented, and that victims are protected whether they are within the ranks or within our neighborhoods? Will the military do the honorable thing, and allow justice to take it's course? Or will they intervene again to help their own against lower ranking military and civilians who dare oppose this crime?
A new bill was just signed into law last week. The day after Christmas, President Obamasigned a defense bill with provisions to curb sexual assault in the U.S. military. Under the new law, anyone who engages in sexual assault will face dishonorable discharge, commanders are prevented from reversing jury decisions, legal assistance will be provided for victims, and “retaliation” against a victim will be punished.- Think Progress December 27, 2013
Military Sexual Assault Bill
At this point I will refrain from pouring anymore cold water on the efforts of those who wrote this bill. The burden is indeed on the leaders of our armed forces to make sure that the numbers of sexual assault victims for the next year reverses. Not all officers are to be seen as potential rapists, some are good and decent men and women. However there are those who wear, uniform and bring shame to it, either by their crimes, or their circumvention of justice.
Continue to support Senator Kirsten Gillibrand's bill. The aforementioned law is a good one, but the MJIA Bill will take the guesswork out of whether a sexual assault victims will receive a fair trial and a chance for justice.
A special thank to Tabitha for letting me tell your story.
Tabitha Phegley: Surviving 120: The First 48 Hours
Other Sources: Think Progress December 27, 2013- President Obama Signs Military Sexual Assault Bill
Kansas City Star: Case of The B52 Pilot Charged with Rape