After hundreds of nude pictures of women Marines circulated the “Marines United” Facebook group, it has become clear that the US Military has failed to establish a culture of Marine corps that truly signifies the core values they should be known for in protecting the United States.
Earlier this week, a facebook group consisting of 30,000 Marine Corps shared nude pictures of women, some of which were fellow marines themselves, and others included wives or ex-girlfriends. As a general rule of thumb, the raunchier the pictures, the better. Moreover, the pictures were referred to as “wins” by the Marines who participated in this blatant behavior. These pictures were shared without their consent, and Facebook members of the group not only made extremely disrespectful statements about these women but also frequently referred to the women by name or where they are sanctioned. This is a complete violation of privacy and put many women’s confidential information at risk. Unfortunately, around 30 victims have been victimized regarding the incident, but only fewer than 10 victims came forward.
While the Facebook group has been taken down by Marine Corps, the photos continue to exist in other websites including google drive. Some reports claim that the photos are continuing to be circulated despite the ongoing investigation. During a Senate hearing on March 14, members of the Senate Armed services Committee had to tackle questions involving why anything has not been done to protect female service members. While the Commandment repeatedly stated that something has to change, it is not very convincing given the fact that similar statements have been made before and nothing was done.
“It’s hard to believe something is really going to be done when we hear this repeated again and again,” she asked. “Why should we believe it’s going to be different this time than it has in the past?” – U.S Sen. Jeanne Shaheen
According to multiple sources, women have been dehumanized by Marines since 2013, yet nobody has been held accountable even to this very day. According to a 2014 article by Brian Adam Jones, a veteran of the United States Marine Corps, Facebook pages ranging from “Just the tip,” “POG boot f***,” and “F’n Wook” have been around for many years. When Marine Corps’ headquarters were asked about these pages, they were unable to answer a single question and even denied further questioning. Given the vile nature of these posts, it is absolutely astonishing how nobody has been held accountable.
This is not locker-room talk
Harassing women online while making demeaning rape comments is simply not locker-room talk, end of story. According to a Q&A from a Marine Corps Time Cover story that was published in 2013, several marine corps involved with the scandal claimed that they “wanted to create a space where we could share our sense of humor.” Having a sense of humor does not translate to talking about terrible things a woman can go through; not only is this not a joke, but it is insanely sick and perverted. Going through violent wars and watching people get killed is something Marine Corps have to deal on a regular basis, but it is not a justification for making degrading comments about women—especially when they are about rape.
The culture that the Marine Corps have created makes them believe that it is okay to stoop down to such a low level that women feel humiliated and embarrassed when they should be feeling respected and proud of serving their country.
A mere 7% of US Marines are female, which is the lowest percentage of female members among all military services. Instead of discouraging future women from taking on such an important role for the United States, Marine Corps should be treating them with utmost dignity and honor for risking their lives for America.
If Marine Corps truly wants to change its perversion to their culture, they need to strike their regulations as well as make consequences more severe under the law. However, before all of this, male Marines need to realize that their actions are not only wrong but are harmful to other third parties and everything that Marine Corps stand for.
According to their website, “Marines are held to the highest of standards, ethically and morally. Marines are expected to act responsibly in a manner befitting the title they earned.” This statement should not only apply to the battlefield but also how Marines treat each other, regardless of gender. At the end of the day, all members of the US Marines are exactly that—marines. It should not take decades for women to be treated with decency and as human beings.
If the US Military really wants their citizens to believe in the core values that Marines truly stand for, they need to change, and it has to be now.