Women Describe Sex Harassment In Military


COLUMBIA, S.C., Aug. 5 (UPI) — A University of South Carolina instructor says her 30-minute documentary provides a glimpse of the lives of female soldiers who served in U.S. military.

Cathy Brookshire, a USC speech, communication and rhetoric instructor, says female veterans broke their silence about their experiences in the military in the documentary “Soldier Girl.”

“The public makes assumptions of life in the military based on simplistic notions of what a military life consists of, particularly for women in the service,” Brookshire said in a statement. “They have no idea of what it’s like out there.”

As the roles of women in the military changed from traditional office positions to field duty, sexual harassment became widespread, the veterans said.

“When I joined the Marine Corps, you were either one of two things. You were either a lesbian or you were a whore,” said Mary Rock, an African-American who served from 1973 to 1993. “I was neither, and for black women, we weren’t supposed to be attractive and intelligent too. Those two were not supposed to go together.”

Susan Jarvie, an academic adviser at USC who served in the U.S. Air Force from 1976 to 1979 and 1980 to 1982, said there was lack of safeguards for women.

“There were no social actions to protect you. There was no one to go to file a complaint of harassment,” Jarvie said. “You just had to put up with it because that was the price of being on the flight line, and you had to find a way to fight them back.”

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