G.I. Josie – Nonprofit for Female PTSD & MST

What Civilians Don’t Understand About Military Sexual Harassment

One of the first things I learned in the Marines was that my male colleagues could easily blend in as one of the guys. My junior enlisted “devil dogs” traded jokey insults and shoved each other like a litter of alpha puppies, but as a female Marine officer, I learned early that our comrades’ perceptions of us were often different – and limited. At Officer Candidates School, one female sergeant instructor stalked through the squad bay and yelled at our sixty-woman platoon, “If you’re a woman in the Marine Corps,” she hollered, “you’re either a bitch, a dyke, or a ho.” A few months later, I compared notes with a male classmate, who relayed how he was taught to drill with an M-16. “You’re on a first date,” the male sergeant instructor had said, holding the rifle in front of him. “Things are goin’ good and you’re snugglin’. You decide to go for it. Now she might smack your hand away. So you gotta be quick! You gotta grab the goodies!” He’d grabbed the rifle’s handguard, a stand-in for the date’s breasts, and brought his weapon down to the position of attention.

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Laurabeth Messimer