Sexual Violence in the Military

, Spencer Irvine, 2 Comments

military photo

In a presentation to a Modern Language Association (MLA) panel on sexual violence, Ariana Vigil, a women’s studies professor at North Carolina-Chapel Hill, linked a military deserter and his perspective on the military to the homosexual agenda.

Author Jose Zuniga, a former member of the U.S. armed forces who refused to deploy to Iraq in 2003, was the focus of her paper. Zuniga, who is openly homosexual, published a book in the early 1990s to influence then-President Bill Clinton to not implement ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’ Vigil admitted that Zuniga was “politically liberal” and as a result of refusing to deploy, “spent a year in Leavenworth prison” and was court-martialed. Zuniga is also “very active in socialist and very anti-war organizations.”

Vigil believed that “the hetero patriarchy of the family to the military family” is something she was interested in studying, based on recurring themes in Zuniga’s book. She saw him compare the concept of a family to the military family. “For him, the family metaphor can justify being a part of the military family while opposing the sexualized violence, gender-based violence of the US mission to Iraq,” she said.

She highlighted the “homophobia within the U.S. armed forces” based on a book “Road to Ar Ramadi,” and how “Language used to break down soldiers [was] also used to break down enemy combatants as well.” She cited a documentary, “Invisible War,” and the presence of “military sexualized trauma (MST)” and in the military, “when rape happens, it is akin to incest.” The victims, in her mind, “are often blamed for breaking up the familial unit.” The filmmakers of “Invisible War” were also the same who filmed the controversial “The Hunting Ground,” but that did not deter Vigil from recommending it to the audience.

Vigil compared the military mindset regarding sexual violence to that on college campuses, “Both of these movements, against military sexual assault, campus sexual assault… this is institutional betrayal that these survivors have faced and faced retaliation and indifference to what they’ve faced.” She said, “I’m uneasy with that rhetoric. I cannot deny its usefulness as a tactic” for universities to use to create a community through this family rhetoric. She concluded, “But for me, I feel like the history of the institution of marriage and family is too interverted with hetero-patriarchy [and] misogyny…I would caution relying too heavily on this rhetoric ourselves.”

At the end of her talk, we still did not know if the sexual violence she talked about was real or metaphoric.