Tag Archives: military

Cee-Lo Green loses performance after rape comments

Cee-Lo Green Pulled From Military Base Performance, via Jezebel

After his atrocious Twitter comments about rape and subsequent terrible apology, Cee-Lo Green has been cut from the performance line-up of a concert at a D.C. navy base. It seems concert organizers realized that having someone who has allegedly drugged and raped a woman and then complained about it was not the right person to appear at a military facility, when the military is struggling to prove it has a handle on its own sexual assault issues.

Freedom LIVE – the name for the programming presented by the Naval District Washington (NDW)’s portion of the military’s Morale, Welfare, and Recreation (MWR) department, which is currently in its first season – announced Thursday evening they had removed Cee-Lo from the line-up of their September 20th show with Little Big Town at the Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling in D.C. They wrote on their Facebook page:

We seek a Department-wide culture of gender dignity and respect where sexual assault is completely eliminated and never tolerated, where sexual assault victims receive compassionate and coordinated support, and where offenders are held appropriately accountable.

Unfortunately, one of the performers we signed for the JBAB Freedom Live show on 20 September recently posted comments on social media that we consider to completely inconsistent with Navy core values. Regardless of intent or context, the lack of sensitivity towards an issue that is one of the great challenges facing our Navy is unacceptable.

As a result, we have made the decision to pull CeeLo Green from the Freedom Live event on 20 September. Little Big Town, the main attraction for the event, will still perform as scheduled. We will announce as soon as possible a replacement opening act of the high quality that you expect and deserve.

After Cee-Lo’s original appearance was announced and his tweets were sent and deleted, one veteran told Jezebel he sent a complaint about the performance to the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office at the Department of Defense, though it’s unclear how many other people complained. The comments on the Facebook post about the cancellation are almost universally positive.

Image via Ethan Miller/Getty

An audit to Maine’s Military sexual assault laws!

Good news!

Lawmakers stand squarely behind measure to audit Maine military sex assault laws

AUGUSTA, Maine — Lawmakers showed strong support Monday for a resolve that directs the Maine National Guard to bring the state in line with federal guidelines related to the investigation, prosecution and adjudication of sexual assault in the military.

The Legislature’s Veterans and Legal Affairs Committee took the unusual step Monday of moving straight from an introductory public hearing to a recommendation vote on LD 1504, A Resolve Directing the Adjutant General of the State to Ensure the Maine Code of Military Justice Addresses Sexual Trauma in the Military. The committee voted unanimously in favor of its passage.

The resolve calls on Maine Adjutant General James Campbell to conduct a detailed assessment of the Maine Code of Military Justice and other provisions in Maine law, with the intention of bringing the issue back to the Legislature next year for possible action.

The resolve comes on the heels of a startling Pentagon study released last week that estimated at least 26,000 military personnel were assaulted in 2012, up sharply from 19,000 in 2010. That report and the recent arrest of an Air Force officer in charge of sexual prevention programs for sexual battery have put the issue in the spotlight.

Sen. Linda Valentino, D-Saco, the primary sponsor of the bill, said the Pentagon study stirred strong reactions among Maine National Guard members and advocates fighting against sexual assault.

“It’s just a very emotional day for a lot of us,” Valentino said. “I wish this bill would do more but it’s moving forward. Let’s come back next session and pass something.”

Destie Hohman Sprague, program director for the Maine Coalition Against Sexual Assault, agreed.

“This resolve is the first critical step at moving toward making some changes,” she said.

Sen. Colleen Lachowicz, D-Waterville, was one of 28 legislators who co-sponsored the bill, which gained bipartisan support. She said there is scant information about how many sexual assaults in the military are being reported in Maine, but hoped passage of the resolve would help make that information public.

“This is not out in the open; it’s one of the most hidden things that ever happens,” said Lachowicz, who is a social worker for victims of sexual assault. “There are a lot of people hurting and right now we don’t how they’re hurting. We can help them with their healing.”

William “Chick” Ciciotte of Topsham, retired from the military, implored lawmakers to do what common sense demands.

“I just don’t see any reason why anybody would disagree with this kind of legislation,” he said.

Advocates for the bill stressed that sexual assault happens to both men and women, which was backed by data from the Pentagon study, in which 6.1 percent of responding women and 1.2 percent of men said they had been victims of sexual assault in the military.

“Survivors should not fall through the cracks and offenders should not get off free,” said retired Air Force Lt. Col. Terry Moore, who is also the past chairwoman of the Maine Advisory Commission on Women Veterans.

“It goes without saying that sexual assault causes significant personal trauma to the victim,” said Eliza Townsend, executive director of the Maine Women’s Lobby. “Military sexual assault is the leading cause of post-traumatic stress disorder in female veterans. The Veterans Administration has linked it with higher rates of homelessness, depression and other mental health issues.”

Jill Barkley, public policy advocate for the American Civil Liberties Union of Maine, said the Maine National Guard has made significant progress in recent years on training and raising awareness about sexual harassment, assault and domestic violence, but that more aggressive policies must be put into place.

“Their efforts must be coupled with supportive policies that seek to hold abusers accountable and promote victim safety and resilience,” said Barkley. While the ACLU is supportive of the resolve, Barkley said the organization has reservations about two sections of the resolve that would bar people with past convictions for sexual offenses from joining the military and the use of state and national sex offender registries, which Barkley said the ACLU opposes in general.

No one spoke Monday in opposition to the bill, which now heads to the full Legislature for passage.

The Invisible War

Tonight, Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Services is providing a free showing of The Invisible War, which will be followed by a panel discussion.  This film is powerful and eyeopening, and does a remarkable job at shedding light on the secrecy of rape in the military.

If you are in the area, please join us!  We will be at The University of Maine at Farmington, Roberts Learning Center, room C23, at 6:30 PM.  If you are not in the area, please check out The Invisible War website to find a showing of the film near you:  www.invisiblewarmovie.com

We would like to share with you a blog post from one of the participants on tonight’s panel…


Jennifer Norris:  “What’s Your Status? Making Life Happen…”

I think my recovery really started once I realized that I was not alone. Once I reached out and learned that there were others like me and others who were fighting and advocating for people like me, I was incredibly empowered. I am a military sexual trauma (MST) survivor. And, for years I accepted other’s definitions of me, but not any more.

I loved serving in the United States Air Force and it broke my heart when my career was ended sooner then it should have. I felt like I lost my identity and I was a fish out of water after over a decade of service. But at the same time, it was bittersweet. While serving, I felt like I was stifled and couldn’t talk but now that I am a civilian, I am free to speak my mind and fight for those after me, who are forced to choose silence for the sake of their career.

I reached out for help almost immediately after the assaults, not knowing that mental health counseling for PTSD from MST may affect my career in the future. When I found out that it may, I tried to pretend that it didn’t happen and I was fine. And because I chose to run from my problems, I eventually reached a breaking point. I felt like I was giving up the good fight which is not something I am known for. I don’t know if I would have made it out alive without the help of the Veterans Affairs.

While some in my Chain of Command were emotionally beating me down, the VA was building me back up, protecting me, and helping me to cope with getting fired for being raped. It was the VA that recommended that I should not sign a consent form for the security clearance investigator. It is because of the VA that my medical records remain private to this day. After feeling like the rug got pulled out from underneath me, I gave myself time to grieve, hit rock bottom, then climbed my way back out of it. With the help of my husband, our family, and the VA, I focused my energy on getting healthy. I made getting healthy a full-time job. I took control of my treatment and when I felt like something was missing, I went looking for it.  It took me years to get to a place where I was ready to help others.

Instead of going back to work full-time, I decided to volunteer. I was not ready to go back to work for a man after years of abuse at the hands of men. And I had lost interest in the things I used to be passionate about so I had to discover my new passions. I contacted the Service Women’s Action Network (SWAN) and let them know who I was and that I wanted to get involved in some way. Not long after contacting them, I got a phone call from SWAN asking me if I was interested in talking about my own experience in support of H.R. 930, An Act to Improve the Disability Compensation Evaluation Procedure of the Secretary of Veterans Affairs for Veterans with PTSD from MST, sponsored by Rep Chellie Pingree of Maine. I agreed to go on our local television station and discuss my own story because the VA and the compensation were so instrumental in my own life.  It was the hardest thing that I have ever done in my life. I felt totally exposed but in the end, I realized that the truth will set me free.

After that segment aired on local television, I was contacted by the Administrator of Carri’s Dad on Facebook. Carri’s Dad is a group started by Gary Noling, who lost his daughter, Carrie Leigh Goodwin, to the military’s sexual assault epidemic. He warmly invited me to his closed group and this connection helped open my eyes. I welcomed the space to vent because I didn’t know anyone else that I felt comfortable talking about my experiences with aside from the VA. I was slow to warm up but eventually felt like a part of something. I had finally found the peer support that I so desperately needed. I felt broken and my MST brothers and sisters really understood. It wasn’t until after I met my new family that I realized what my role in life was going to be. I decided to put all of my life and soul into helping others work through the confusing, entangled emotions that accompany military sexual trauma.  It was because of Gary and Carri (pictured above) that I was inspired to stand for those who have not survived.

During this time I learned about the Military Rape Crisis Center (MRCC) and met the Executive Director of the organization via Carri’s Dad. I really respected and admired the work that they had done and continue to do to this day. I also learned about their website, My Duty to Speak. After reading some of the stories, I decided that I would write about my experiences too. I could send it in anonymously and I knew that it would be healing to put the story in writing in an attempt to let it go. I did just that and it was one of the most healing experiences ever. I now work full-time for MRCC as a National Victim Advocate.

A couple months later and shortly after being permanently medically retired from the USAF, I decided to attend the Truth and Justice Summit sponsored by SWAN.  Although I felt like I was doing pretty well considering where I was just a year earlier, I still felt that truth and justice was something that has not been adequately addressed by the Department of Defense.  It is something that I am especially passionate about and I started a research and awareness page as a result, Justice for MST Survivors. I stand for both survivors of MST and those that did not survive.  I also believe strongly in making current laws more strict and strengthening victim’s rights.  A Senator from Maine was receiving an award from SWAN for their efforts in helping pass the Defense STRONG Act so I really wanted to be there to show Senator Susan Collins that I appreciated her efforts too.  While there, I met Representative Chellie Pingree from Maine as well.

Then I traveled four hours away to Brookline, Massachusetts and met up with a new MST sister friend and Rep Niki TSongas.  Rep TSongas invited me to help introduce the The Invisible War at this viewing after I contacted her via Twitter.  I contacted Rep TSongas to thank her because she too was instrumental in getting the Defense STRONG Act passed.  The screening of the Invisible War was an eye opening experience for me.  I knew that Military Sexual Trauma was a problem but I did not realize to what extent until I saw this movie.  As a survivor, this movie was by far one of the most validating experiences ever.  I sat through that movie and felt the pain of my MST brothers and sisters. I watched that movie with adornment for the people who were willing to step out and discuss their traumatic experiences in an effort to help change things.  The movie gave me a new sense of confidence and courage, that I had before, but now it was unstoppable.  I felt like my experiences had finally been validated by someone which is all that mattered to me.

As a result of my own experience with the Invisible War movie, I wanted to share that experience with others.  I wanted to use that movie as a training tool for civilians, veterans, veteran care providers, and the military.  I found out that another veteran’s advocate in Maine had purchased the rights to the movie, so I contacted Lt Col Terry Moore, USAF Ret, and offered to assist in any way that I could.  We have been partnering up ever since in an effort to bring as much public awareness to the issue as possible. I have found yet another life long friend.  We both support taking the Chain of Command out of the investigation process. We both agree that the Invisible War is an incredible documentary.

And then Protect Our Defenders (POD) came into my life.  I was honored to join my fellow MST brothers and sisters on the Advocacy Board.  I believe in everything that POD stands for and it was easy to become one with that team.  They are a survivor based organization that strongly believes that we need a voice.  I joined them in Washington DC to request that the House Armed Services Committee hold formal hearings on sexual assault in the military.  POD warmly welcomed me to the team and we warmly welcome others to be part of our team.  We are working on ways to help make others feel comfortable joining our cause.  Like my own experience, healing came from being included and being part of something bigger then me. We all come from different places and we want other survivors to know that they are accepted regardless of where they are at in their healing process too. Like POD, I feel that we will get real change if Congress hears from those that have been impacted the greatest by this epidemic, us.

Source:  http://www.notinvisible.org/jennifer_norris_whats_your_status