There is an understandable flap over the recent disclosure that myriads of explicit photos of female Marines have been posted on a closed, secret Facebook account that apparently has a membership of over 30,000. There have been hearings on the Hill, the NCIS is investigating, and yes, it appears we have another scandal to handle.
Here are some statements made by officials with regard to positions and portending actions that are going to be taken:
The chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives Armed Services Committee, Republican Mac Thornberry of Texas, and the panel’s senior Democrat, Adam Smith of Washington State, separately called for a complete investigation. “Degrading behavior of this kind is entirely unacceptable,” Thornberry said in a statement. “I expect the Marine Corps to investigate this matter fully with appropriate consequences for those who willingly participated.”
There are times when I feel like the little kid in the crowd who cries out in the fairy tale, “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” that the Emperor is indeed naked, much to the chagrin of the crowd. This is one of those times, and I realize I could very well be accused of “blaming the victim” when I ask the obvious: “Honey(s), what in the ‘Billy Blue Sam Hill’ were you thinking when you either allowed the pictures to be taken or took them yourself in the first place? Did you have an expectation of privacy on Facebook???”
When I was in Iraq, there was a theatre wide regulation that was known as General Order Number One. The short version of the order was basically, “No booze, no porn, no proselytizing.” Did soldiers ever violate the booze/porn prohibition? Yep, right cleverly, I might add, and I locked horns with them when they did. And, here’s my JAG question in the age of social media: Are the women who knowingly caused to be published explicit photos of themselves to be held culpable as well? Should they be recipients of what Thornberry calls “appropriate consequences?”
Just to be clear, I am not in any way trying to be dismissive toward the dreadful comments that were posted underneath the pics. And anyone who knows me knows that I have no tolerance for true sexual harassment. I am not a “boys-will-be-boys” kind of gal. Allegedly there were threatening comments posted that sounded like something an “un-sub” would say under interrogation on an episode of Criminal Minds. There were also things like addresses, Social Security numbers, duty station locations, and more that constitute potential identity theft, which is a felony, and operational security violations, which can land you in Leavenworth. There were also pictures that were taken unknowingly, and voyeurism, whether cyber or physical is inarguably illegal.
I genuinely felt bad for General Robert Neller as he was being grilled at a hearing by NY Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, (D) because in her estimation he had no good answer as to why no one had been punished yet. I couldn’t help but think, “Is he floundering because he wants to raise the issue of culpability on the part of the females for the source of the porn in the first place, but knows he’ll be excoriated as a misogynistic Marine?”
There is a problem here, to be sure. Men who behave viciously toward women, fellow Marines or civilians, do not deserve the title of Marine, and they do not exemplify “Semper Fi” because there’s no “forever faithful” to be found in that type of behavior. And, if holding Marines to a higher standard is going to be insisted upon, then the Jarhead Janes need to take their lumps for sullying the saying on the recruitment posters of “The Few. The Proud. The Marines.” by flashing folks. It swings both ways, Marines. Now, clean it up.
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner