The cases of sexual assault against women by the police and in the military have skyrocketed. So many blood-curdling incidents have been brought to light, but nothing much is seemingly changing. So, what options do women have when the protectors turn into perpetrators?
Sexual Assault by the Protectors
Women are constantly let down by the very institutions placed to protect them. Both the military and the police fail to stop men in their establishment from exploiting women.
One evening in South London, Sarah Everard, while walking home was approached by a police officer in civilian cloth. She has forcibly arrested pretense of COVID regulations and was taken to an unfrequented area, where she was raped and brutally killed by the police person’s belt.
Though Sarah’s case shed light upon a spiraling concern, her story is not the only one. Moreover, the problem is not confined to the UK but can be seen globally. Cops are engaging in sexual violence rather than being the protector.
Domestic violence, sexual violence, and rapes; women are facing a catalog of abuse at the hands of the police. The hypocrisy is hurting civilians and women in the military who are often confronted with sexual violence.
The Time to Wake Up
Employing the police designation for sexual purposes has grown to be the largest form of corruption in the UK. Most of the victims in cases of police perpetrators are minors. Instead of protecting the most vulnerable, police officers are abusing the disabled, women of color, unhoused, migrant, and undocumented women simply because they are vulnerable to criminalization.
In the UK, one of every six male police officers’ spouses comes forth to report domestic abuse each week. Once inside the jobs, officers are given access to resources and personal information of people and their potential victims. The decision to arrest somebody is an incredible amount of power delivered to law enforcement officers.
Even though most of the officers are not involved in such malicious activities, their choice to turn a blind eye to their colleague’s wrongdoing worsens the situation. As a result, the police force is accused of systematically undermining women’s rights.
Sexual Assault: The Ugly Picture of the Military
According to the observer by the Guardian, two-third of the women in the UK’s armed forces have experienced discrimination, bullying, and sexual harassment multiple times during their careers. In addition, investigations unraveled shocking evidence of gang rape, contests, or trophies to “bag the women” sex for promotion.
While many came forth with their experiences, a number of, despite facing bullies and sexual miss conduct, were too afraid to report it. In addition, many serving and ex-military females said that military accommodation and mess are far more dangerous places for serving women than overseas war zones.
A committee survey by the Ministry of Defence revealed that one out of every ten serving women expressed the desire to tackle the male-dominated culture, sexualized behavior, and “mess hall culture.”
Vanessa Guillen, a 20-years old soldier, went missing from her military posts in Texas. Ten weeks later, her body was found, murdered, dismembered, and burnt by another service member after being violently raped. The bone-chilling incident with Vanessa shook the world.
Many women soldiers from around the globe come forward with their own stories. According to current stats, female soldiers are more threatened by their fellow soldiers than a shot at war by an enemy.
From what is expected from women in the military, danger often comes from their forces. The hyper-masculine institution of the military makes it a dangerous place for women. But despite that, the forces are failing to protect women service members.
The Dangerous Military Culture
According to the previous studies, many such cases go unreported because of the universal phenomenon of underreporting. Commanders are also inclined to cover up cases in order to protect the reputation of the unit/organization and cover-up leadership failures.
Young male recruits and soldiers have been victims of rampant sexual assault and harassment in the armed forces. Women have only intensified the problem. As a result, militaries are known for their “speciation.”
The chain of commands of lack of independent investigations support is sweeping the sexual assault cases under the carpet. Furthermore, while seeking justice, women often face retaliation.
Sexual Assault: Concluding Remarks
Who to turn to for protection when the protector is the perpetrator?
How can women trust the police or military forces to protect them when it cannot protect its own women personnel from the perpetrators inside? How can we trust lawmakers who are sitting at this appalling data and not doing much about it?
Today, the biggest enemy of female soldiers in most of the major armies is their own camp, within her own rank. Yet, attempts to reform these age-old institutions are slow.