KAISA KA Stands with Okinawan Women in Denouncing Rape by US Military Personnel

(Unity of Women for Freedom– Philippines)

Kaisa Ka National Office: # 22-A Domingo Guevarra St. Highway Hills, Mandaluyong City, Philippines 1501

Telefax: (632) 717 3262 Email: kaisakakalayaan@gmail.com

Press Statement
October 23, 2012
Contact Person: Atty. Virginia Suarez-Pinlac #639209190267

KAISA KA Stands with Okinawan Women in Denouncing Rape by US Military Personnel

KAISA KA, a transformational, multi-sector women’s organization in the Philippines is enraged by another rape committed by two US servicemen against a Japanese woman in Okinawa, October 16 this year. It is sending the victim its sincere sympathies. Its members stand in solidarity with all the Okinawan and Japanese women who have been opposing US militarism and abuse.

The US Armed Forces Commander in Japan, Salvatore Angelella, has imposed a curfew for all the 47,000 US soldiers in that country and has promised that “core value retraining will take place”. KAISA KA sees these as ways of cooling off the issue but not as serious steps to prevent a repeat of the incident.

Every time a sexual assault is committed outside of its territory, the US military takes such steps and would promise to “cooperate in every way possible….” But the contrary happens. The US military would always do its best to protect its soldiers from the laws of host countries as it continuously asserts US’dominace in the whole world.

The US is well aware that cases of rape are a big problem in the discipline of its troops. These include not only rape of Japanese, Korean, Filipino and Iraqi women but also the rape by US male soldiers of their own male and female soldiers. DOD Secretary Leon Panetta estimated in January this year that sexual assaults within the military could be somewhere around 19,000 in 2011 alone.

It is a culture of sexual assault that the US military has to demolish if it wants to curb incidence of military rape. But they have this “boys’ club culture” and the code of silence among male officers and soldiers about incidents of rape. They have a long history of using women’s bodies as prizes for soldiers’ perseverance and bravery or as toys, with which soldiers relieve boredom in camps. Drill instructors make soldiers recite misogynistic rhymes or chants. These all contribute in the continuing predominance of the patriarchal culture of sexual assault.

As the US is undertaking a rebalancing of its focus and forces and is tranferring a bigger portion of its troops and military hardware in Asia and the Pacific, the women in this region, most especially in places where US troops are almost permanently stationed, are more prone to military sexual assault. The Filipino women, like the Japanese women are also gravely threatened.

KAISA KA, supports the Okinawan women’s demand for apology to the woman victim by US military authorities, punishment for the two perpetrators under Japanese laws and the withdrawal of US troops from Okinawa.

KAISA KA opposes continued US militarism in Asia and the Pacific. ###

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