Opinion
              In this May 29, 2013, photo, Petty officers John Tate, left, and Christopher Yates man the desk entrance and check identifications at one of the apartment complexes on the 32nd Street Naval Base in San Diego. Tate serves on one of the Navy

Same-Sex Rape In The Military On The Rise

Photo of David Benkof
David Benkof
Freelance Writer

An article in the September issue of GQ discuses the recent increase in same-sex rape in the military. It reports, with many examples, that most victims of sexual assault in the armed forces are men, and that their rapists are nearly always other men.

Military Sexual Trauma (MST) is on the rise for both men and women, according to a Pentagon report earlier this year that was widely covered in news outlets such as the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Associated Press, Reuters, and CNN.

But virtually none of that coverage addressed an obvious aspect of the problem: the 2011 introduction of open service by gays and bisexuals undoubtedly has increased the incidence of sexual assault against men in uniform. Despite repeated LGBT assurances that integrating gays into the military would not affect morale, an uptick in same-sex rape – especially involving straight victims – most assuredly affects morale. In fact, just the fear of increased sexual violence could affect morale.

Only a fierce ideologue would suggest that introducing many thousands of same-sex-attracted men into a mostly male service would decrease or maintain the previous extent of male-male MST.

Indeed, the numbers bear that out. Male-male sexual assaults have risen each year since the repeal of the “don’t ask, don’t tell policy” that excluded “out” gays from the military. More specifically, Pentagon statistics show nearly 4,000 more male-male rapes in the year after the ban ended (2012) than the last year it was in place (2010).

Some of these instances are deeply unsettling. For example, the Killeen Daily Herald reported last month that an openly gay medic at Fort Sam Houston acknowledged that in 2012, he had a 45-minute sexual encounter with a fellow soldier who was unconscious due to his sleep medication. The medic claims he thought the interaction was consensual because he didn’t know the other soldier had taken Ambien. (“I didn’t know she passed out” would never pass muster in a campus sexual assault case.)

Astonishingly, many experts interviewed in articles on this topic, as well as gay community leaders, argue that the rapists involved are usually heterosexual. Aaron Belkin, the executive director of the Palm Center (an LGBT-funded think tank on the military and sexuality) even told the Washington Times that “very few” male-on-male perpetrators are gay.

When two reptiles have a same-sex encounter, gay activists rush to the microphones to declare “We have found gay lizards!” They proclaim Abraham Lincoln “gay” because he once shared a bed with Joshua Speed. But if a Scoutmaster has intercourse with a 15-year-old boy, or a male Marine rapes another man, those people are supposedly “not gay.”

In March, I published a report showing how gay historians and anthropologists have extensively documented being gay as a sexual orientation no more than 150 years old and originating in the West. In response, many LGBT people stated that if we know a man had sex with other men, even if he felt no gay identity or orientation, he was gay. By that standard, nearly all the male-male rapes in the military are perpetrated by gays.

Which is it? Does gay sex make you gay – or (as I believe) is sexuality far more complex than GayThink wants you to accept whenever it suits LGBT purposes?

Further, of course men claim they’re heterosexual when they’re accused of raping a man, since coming out as gay would make them appear more guilty.

Some of those interviewed in the news articles about male-male military rape resurrect the tired feminist canard that rape is about power and violence, not sex. In truth, it’s usually about all three.

Belkin compared rape in the military to prison rape. But given the prevalence of what scholars call “situational homosexuality,” many perpetrators in both settings are pursuing the only sexual outlet available, regardless of consent. In fact, this problem helps explain why transgender women are so vulnerable in prison – they’re the only women in an otherwise all-male institution.