by Pr. Geoff Browning, Campus Minister
We all know what V-Day is, the day that victory was declared in the wars against Japan and Germany in WWII. Eve Ensler, in her book and play, The Vagina Monologues has reclaimed the meaning of “V” to mean “Victory, Valentine, and Vagina” and to build V-Day into a global activist movement to end violence against women and girls. Stanford V-Week just presented an extraordinary production of The Vagina Monologues that was profound, hilarious and heart-rending all at the same time. But I would like to call attention to a seldom-acknowledged connection between militarism and sexual violence.
As Stanford V-Week has been working to communicate, violence against women is epidemic. Among the grim statistics, one in three women globally will be the victims of battery and/or sexual abuse sometime in their lives. Somewhere in America, a woman is battered every 15 seconds. Globally, four million women and girls are trafficked into sexual slavery every year.
According to a recent Defense Department report, there were over 3,100 sexual assaults in our professionally trained military in 2011. But these are only the reported assaults; the Pentagon believes the actual number is much higher. Non-Pentagon sources say it may be as much as 10 times this number. Think about that: more than 30,000 sexual assaults. This means that every woman who serves in the military is at greater risk of being assaulted by her fellow soldiers than being killed or wounded by the enemy! Continue reading