After last week’s announcement that the Pentagon would be moving women in the military closer to the front lines, Fox News pundit Liz Trotta took the opportunity to victim-blame women in the Armed Forces who have been sexually assaulted. Among other things, she suggested that women who are closer to the front lines should “expect” to be raped, that services for sexual assault victims in the military should not be in place, and that at the end of the day, rape in the military is essentially the fault of feminists, for pushing a “politically correct” agenda.
Trotta was reamed from every direction, including by women in the Armed Forces, and so she made another appearance on Fox this past weekend in order to
backpedal defend herself and “clarify” her remarks.
But instead of changing her tune, she reiterated her initial stance, and then some.
She called the ordeal suffered by Pfc. Jessica Lynch “fake heroism.” She suggested that a study should be done on how children feel when “mommy goes off to war.” And she repeated her assertion that rape in the military means that women shouldn’t fight, rather than that rapists shouldn’t rape.
“If common sense won’t be applied to the whole question of women in the forces, consider the escalating instances of sexual abuse at the three military academies,” she said. “And if that’s not enough, then how about a report released last month by the pentagon indicating a 64% increase in violent sexual assaults in the army since 2006…The environment of combat by definition sets up a situation where basic instincts rule. The niceties of male, female interaction fade in this arena and any scientist will tell you that testosterone rules.”
It’s not clear to which scientists she might be referring, but there is at least one group of people (other than feminists!) who unabashedly disagree with her assertion that women are being raped in the military simply because they’re present alongside men. In a statement, the Vietnam Veterans of America said, “We do not believe that all the thousands upon thousands of men and women who serve this great nation engage in behaviour that is less than honourable when placed in situations where they must coexist. Trotta’s comments are insulting to men and women alike.”
But don’t worry, Trotta has other reasons that women should be booted from the Armed Forces; by her account, females are in fact incapable of performing military duties in the first place.
“Male troops are now encumbered with the realities of feminist biology,” she said. “Women are not as strong as men. Their instincts and reactions in crisis are markedly different. There’s a reality the left will not face. Biology is destiny.”
Trotta’s entire argument here hinges on the assertion that “militant feminists,” as she calls those in favor of women’s rights, are so blinded by the desire for equality that they overlook what she deems the “reality” that women aren’t as capable as men.
The only thing is that she’s wrong. According to a 2008 report published by the Army’s own Strategic Studies Institute: “there is not the slightest doubt that women can perform their assigned duties in the combat zone, including engaging in combat actions essential to their personal and unit’s self-defense, with skill and valor equal to their male comrades.”
Having women around, in fact, doesn’t even break up the much-heralded male comeradarie that allegedly forms on the front lines. A study by the RAND Corporation from all the way back in 1997 states: “Our overall research findings are that gender differences alone did not appear to erode [unit] cohesion.”
So. Research done by the military, the voices of military personnel and studies conducted by impartial third parties all support military women’s inclusion in combat. And that’s part of the beauty of gender equality; it relies on facts and research rather than outdated, baseless stereotypes.
But don’t expect Trotta to come around to that idea any time soon. At the end of her nearly 10-minute interview, during which she relied on pre-written answers (stellar journalism as usual, Fox), Trotta summed up her fact-based opinion about why women don’t belong in the military by quoting former Marine Corps Commandant General Robert Barrow, in remarks that he made before Congress in 1991.
He said, and she quoted: “Women give life, sustain life, nurture life. They don’t take it.”
Here’s her whole interview, should you have eight and a half minutes you never want back: