Sunday, December 9, 2007

Female GIs complain of unequal treatment


Salt Lake Tribune
Friday, November 09, 2007

The soldiers outside her room were drunken and indignant.

"Why won't you date any of us, bitch?" Amanda Blume recalled one of the men demanded before he helped kick in her barracks door.

Inside, Blume remembered, she was surrounded, called names and pushed into a corner. Fearing for her safety, she said, she fought her way free, striking one of the men in the face on the way out.

The next week, Blume's Army commanders in Fort Sill, Okla., charged her with assault.

The exact details of what happened in the barracks on that night last March are known only to Blume and the men she has accused of attacking her. But in punishing the female soldier, Blume's male commanders followed a pattern that advocates of female service members call "epidemic" -- a pattern that nearly repeated itself again to Blume just a few months later.

Honorably discharged in early July, Blume remains proud of her military service, which began the month after she graduated from high school in 2004. As a whole, she said, the experience was positive. But it also was punctuated by moments that were alternately frightening, demeaning and unjust.

The day after Blume was attacked in her room, she was called in to see her commanding officer. "I thought he would help me, but that's not what happened," she said.

The man she'd struck had already been in to file a complaint. Read article