At a time when the man responsible for the U.S. Air Force Sexual Assault Prevention course is arrested for sexual assault and when members of the military face more than 70 sexual assaults a day, a Facebook page perpetuating violence against female members of the Marines has drawn attention from Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and Congress. Spotted by Representative Jackie Speier (D-Calif.), the Facebook page was shut down after a letter was sent to Secretary Hagel accusing the page of perpetuating a “culture of misogyny and sexual harassment.”
The page, named F’N WOOK, includes pictures of a woman with a black eye, with a caption reading, “She burned the bacon only once” and a picture of a woman with a caption reading “This is my rape face.” One picture has a female Marine making a silly face with the caption reading, “Show me your promotion face.” The page, while focused heavily on the objectification, degradation, and humiliation of female Marines, also gripes about female Marines receiving promotions after performing sexual deeds for their commander. The administrator of the page and its loyal asshat following are clearly and unmistakably unaware (although they don’t seem to mind, of course) of quid pro quo sexual harassment, which occurs when job benefits are “made contingent on the provision of sexual favors, usually to an employer...who has the authority to make decisions about employment actions.”
While the anonymous administrator of the revival page taunts Congress (“Come get this page congress”) as their cronies laugh and jump on the degradation band wagon, Secretary Hagel recently called for initiatives to examine how the department handles sexual assault. Among those initiatives are reducing the stigma for victims who report sexual assault, enhancing education programs and training courses that teach sexual-abuse prevention, and holding commanders accountable for perpetuating and promoting an environment where sexual abuse is prevented and victims are not blamed.
Facebook’s Community Standards state, “Safety is Facebook’s top priority. We remove content and may escalate to law enforcement when we perceive a genuine risk of physical harm, or a direct threat to public safety. You may not credibly threaten others, or organize acts of real-world violence. Organizations with a record of terrorist or violent criminal activity are not allowed to maintain a presence on our site.” Commenters on the page are flabbergasted by the page’s initial disappearance, asking why Congress is so worried about “just a Facebook page.” Ah, ignorance.
The reason for Congress’ intervention in this page is not because there is nothing better for them to do, but — as stated earlier — members of the military face an astounding amount of sexual assaults and receive little advocacy or help when they report the crimes. Our military’s job is to protect its citizens from harm. If the power structure from within the department is such that sexual assaults continue to happen to members of the military at alarming rates as nothing continues to be done to stop them, and if we cannot ensure that the members who are risking their lives for the country aren’t treated with the utmost respect, dignity, and honor, then we cannot, as a country, be lauded as the most powerful country in the world when our own military is crumbling from within.