Saturday, August 11, 2007

The Indecent Act of Rape

The AP has recently covered a story where Cassandra Hernandez, a rape victim, is being charged with underage drinking and indecent acts because of her assault. Hernandez is a member of the US Air Force and was raped several months ago by three other Air Force members. This woman escaped from the room of her assault, fleeing partially clothed and went to receive medical attention. She declined to testify after she was interrogated without a lawyer by an Air Force defense attorney. The following article link provides further information:,1,1436364.story?ctrack=1&cset=true

This woman is essentially being charged with the indecent act of being raped. Normally authorities waive issues of underage drinking violations when the person coming forward is the victim of a rape (let alone a gang rape). By charging Hernandez not only of drinking, but of the acts forced upon her person, the military is literally shifting all blame to her by granting immunity to her rapists. Not only that, but these men blame the woman for their actions as well. According to the LA Times:

"In sworn statements provided to The Times by the defense, the three airmen say Hernandez initiated the sexual encounters after baring her breasts and then removing her clothes following several hours of drinking."

Despite blaming her for the sexual encounter they admitted to swapping off and on who was having sex with her, that she cried, and that she fleed the situation. Playing on the classic myth that women only claim rape to avoid being labeled a "slut", they claimed it was for this reason that she had cried during the sexual encounter. If anyone has doubts about sexism in our society, this story surely highlights and bolds the issue. The military has enough issues of intra-troop assault and rape; to treat victims so shamefully is yet another step backwards regarding their handling of the pervasive sexism and violence allowed in armed services.