A few weeks ago I posted about the ongoing problem with sexual assault against female service members. The issue represents but one of the hurdles facing women who take it upon themselves to serve and sacrifice for our country. The controversial Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy, for instance, has a much larger negative impact on female service members than male, and serves to maintain sexism found in every level of the armed forces.
Although women made up only 15% of the armed forces in 2008, 34% of service members discharged under Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT) were women. This dynamic varies greatly between the various branches of service. For instance, women make up only 20% of members in the air force, yet made up 62% of Air Force discharges under DADT (2008).
While DADT has a larger impact on gay women than gay men, the policy actually has a negative impact on all servicewomen, regardless of sexual orientation. “Lesbian baiting,” “the practice of pressuring women for sex and sexually harassing women by using the threat of calling then lesbians as a means of intimidation,” is common in all levels of the military. [Read more...]