N. Jerin Arifa
National NOW Board of Directors
National NOW Young Feminist Task Force, Chair
NOW – NYS Young Feminist Task Force, Chair
National Organization for Women (NOW)
By Austin Cline, About.com Guide
Military Chaplain: It Was God's Will that You Were Raped
Saturday February 26, 2011
When military chaplains start telling women in the military that it was right that they get raped by their fellow Americans because God has some "purpose" behind the rape and assault, I think it's time to start reconsidering whether chaplains should exist in the military at all anymore. I know that there are valid constitutional and legal arguments for having them, but incidents like what happened to Sergeant Rebekah Havrilla in Afghanistan in 2006 may be enough to toss them all out.
Sergeant Rebekah Havrilla alleges in the complaint that in 2006, after her military supervisor repeatedly sexually harassed her, she was raped by a colleague she was working with at the time.
That kind of advice only re-traumatizes the victims -- and it's just about the worst advice that a victim could be given. Then again, it is perfectly consistent with traditional, orthodox Christianity. That means it's one more indication of how much harm traditional, orthodox Christianity can do to a person's mental health and moral compass.
Why would anyone want to attend a church dedicated to the worship of a deity that wants you to be brutally raped? What if this god wants you raped more often -- should you go even more often? I'm not sure who is more sick and twisted: the chaplain or the god he believes in.
Havrilla's harrowing story, and the broader lawsuit, sheds light on the ongoing and widely reported problem of sexual assault in the military.
When will it become a "command priority" to ensure that all service members are safe from psychological and emotional abuse at the hands of predatory chaplains? Indeed, is it even possible to protect service members form predatory chaplains when those same chaplains are integrated into the command structure -- when they have extensive power over the same people who need to be protected?