Announcing the Clarence Thomas Award for Sexual Misconduct

16 May

ThomasDoDRecent events in the U.S. Military have led to the creation of a new SJFA award! Named in dishonor of (In)Justice Clarence Thomas, who blamed the victim, distorted the truth, and winked and nodded his way into a lifetime appointment — at the expense of Anita Hill — this award will be announced irregularly when any person or organization qualifies. A combination of monumental misogyny, callous disregard, and overt sexual hostility are the requirements. Sadly, we may see awards far more often than we would like.

Since the inclusion of women in the military, sexual assault and forced prostitution have been very real problems. Over the past decade or so, as women have moved into positions of greater authority, the Pentagon has indicated the intent to address the issue. Sadly, two recent events prove that whatever they are doing isn’t working. (Perhaps they’ve been taking strategic advice from the Catholic Church…)

Last week, an Air Force officer was charged with sexual battery; this week an Army Sergeant First Class is being investigated for forcing at least one subordinate soldier into prostitution, and for sexually assaulting two other soldiers. The common thread? Both were in positions of authority and power to investigate and prevent sexual assault!  Maybe they just didn’t read the job descriptions properly.

Based on the ongoing problems faced by LGBT personnel since the repeal of DADT and the shocking lack of effective health training for women, it’s clear that the U.S. Military is still living in the 1920s before all that equality stuff got in the way. The Pentagon must provide real leadership, and real consequences, to change the culture or the behavior will never change. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, chair of the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Personnel, is demanding such change.

It is time to get serious and get to work reforming the military justice system that clearly isn’t working. I believe strongly that to create the kind of real reform that will make a difference we must remove the chain of command from the decision making process for these types of serious offenses.

Sounds like it’s time to send a woman in to get the job done right.

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8 Responses to “Announcing the Clarence Thomas Award for Sexual Misconduct”

  1. Central Oregon Coast NOW May 16, 2013 at 7:31 am #

    Reblogged this on Central Oregon Coast NOW and commented:
    Respond to this post by replying above this line

    New post on Social Justice For All

    Announcing the Clarence Thomas Award for Sexual Misconduct

    by Michael Hulshof-SchmidtRecent events in the U.S. Military have led to the creation of a new SJFA award! Named in dishonor of (In)JusticeClarence Thomas, who blamed the victim, distorted the truth, and winked and nodded his way into a lifetime appointment — at the expense of Anita Hill — this award will be announced irregularly when any person or organization qualifies. A combination of monumental misogyny, callous disregard, and overt sexual hostility are the requirements. Sadly, we may see awards far more often than we would like.Since the inclusion of women in the military, sexual assault and forced prostitution have been very real problems. Over the past decade or so, as women have moved into positions of greater authority, the Pentagon has indicated the intent to address the issue. Sadly, two recent events prove that whatever they are doing isn’t working. (Perhaps they’ve been taking strategic advice from the Catholic Church…)Last week, an Air Force officer was charged with sexual battery; this week an Army Sergeant First Class is being investigated for forcing at least one subordinate soldier into prostitution, and for sexually assaulting two other soldiers. The common thread? Both were in positions of authority and power to investigate and prevent sexual assault!  Maybe they just didn’t read the job descriptions properly.Based on the ongoing problems faced by LGBT personnel since the repeal of DADT and the shocking lack of effective health training for women, it’s clear that the U.S. Military is still living in the 1920s before all that equality stuff got in the way. The Pentagon must provide real leadership, and real consequences, to change the culture or the behavior will never change. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, chair of the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Personnel, is demanding such change.It is time to get serious and get to work reforming the military justice system that clearly isn’t working. I believe strongly that to create the kind of real reform that will make a difference we must remove the chain of command from the decision making process for these types of serious offenses.Sounds like it’s time to send a woman in to get the job done right.Michael Hulshof-Schmidt | May 16, 2013 at 5:45 am | Tags: Air Force, Army,Clarence Thomas, hypocrisy, Kirsten Gillibrand, Military, misogyny, Pentagon, rape,Sexism, sexual assault | Categories: Civil Rights, Feminism, Government, History,LGBTQ, Media, Politics, Social Justice | URL: http://wp.me/p12gUr-8uwComment   See all commentsUnsubscribe or change your email settings at Manage Subscriptions.Trouble clicking? Copy and paste this URL into your browser: https://hulshofschmidt.wordpress.com/2013/05/16/announcing-the-clarence-thomas-award-for-sexual-misconduct/Thanks for flying with  WordPress.com

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt May 16, 2013 at 7:44 am #

      Thank you for reblogging this, Nancy!

      • Central Oregon Coast NOW May 16, 2013 at 8:11 am #

        I’m not sure how you can possibly “keep up” with this award! There are so many great candidates, and new ones keep surfacing daily!

      • Central Oregon Coast NOW May 16, 2013 at 8:41 am #

        I love the idea of a “Clarence Thomas Award”! Unfortunately, I’m afraid you will have plenty of opportunities to present it.

      • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt May 16, 2013 at 5:00 pm #

        Nancy, that is what I’m afraid of! I fear there will continue to be far too many Clarence Thomas Awards yet to be issued as a badge of dishonor.

  2. Jay May 17, 2013 at 5:44 pm #

    Senator Gillibrand is absolutely correct that what is needed is a systemic reform. Investigations of sexual assault should NOT be under the supervision and control of the existing chain of command, as is currently the practice, but instead must be referred to outside, specialized, and impartial investigators from the military justice system.

    Under the current system, victims of rape have themselves had to face serious charges as a direct result of stepping forward and reporting what happened to them. This “blame the victim” approach is utterly wrong-headed bullshit, and must be stopped.

    Part of the point of winning the Presidency is being able to implement needed reforms within federal departments, so President Obama himself bears some of the responsibility for seeing to it that real change happens in the military’s policies and procedures regarding sexual assault within the military.

    • Michael Hulshof-Schmidt May 17, 2013 at 5:55 pm #

      Jay, great analysis! You are absolutely right about President Obama and I should have implicated him in the story. I do grow exhausted with the “blame the victim” culture we are currently in now.

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