Female Troops Fear Male Troops
I've been waiting for the troop healthcare story to explode. Now I'm waiting for the sexual assault story to gain traction.
When you have time, please read this interview about sexual harassment and rape in the military. Yes, it is true: Women aren't going to the bathroom at night because they fear they will be raped.
AMY GOODMAN: We're talking to Professor Helen Benedict, also to Sergeant Eli Painted Crow. And we’re also joined on the phone by Specialist Mickiela Montoya, deployed to Iraq with the National Guard in 2005. Thanks very much for joining us.
SPC. MICKIELA MONTOYA: Thank you for having me.
AMY GOODMAN: Can you talk about your own experience in Iraq?
SPC. MICKIELA MONTOYA: Well, it sounded really familiar to, similar to the experiences that you explained. I didn’t know that it was that climate at the time. I kind of just got used to it and dealt with it and tried to figure out a way around the restroom issue.
AMY GOODMAN: How did you figure out your way around going to the bathroom?
SPC. MICKIELA MONTOYA: I would still drink the three liters of water usually every day, but I would -- a lot of the females were, like, cutting off the tops of the bottles and in the middle of the night peeing in that and waiting ’til the morning to dump it out, so that we would prevent having to wake up in the middle of the night and go out in the dark, because it’s so dark at night.
AMY GOODMAN: You carried a knife with you?
SPC. MICKIELA MONTOYA: Yeah, and I would carry a knife with me later on.
AMY GOODMAN: For what purpose?
SPC. MICKIELA MONTOYA: Just to feel safe, because, I mean, you can’t -- I don’t know. I don’t know, I just felt safer that way.
AMY GOODMAN: Safe from the Iraqis?
SPC. MICKIELA MONTOYA: No, safe from the other soldiers. I never intended on using the knife for an Iraqi. I had my M-16 for that. But my knife, I always just kept it for another soldier, because any time I would have any type of strong sexual harassment words spoken, I just mainly felt a little bit more secure, and it was visible, too, to the other soldiers.
AMY GOODMAN: Did anything specifically happen to you?
SPC. MICKIELA MONTOYA: Yeah. That’s why I would carry the knife. I remember it was really late, and over there they don’t have electricity, so we run off generators, and if you scream or if you were to yell for help or anything like that, nobody could hear you, because you’re not going to shoot a comrade, because these are your supposed battle buddies. So I would just use the knife as, I guess, a scare tactic, and it worked for me, because after that I never really had a problem.