Sexual misconduct in the Brig

The Marine Corps Times reports the court-martial conviction of a female guard at Miramar Naval Consolidated Brig, CA.

Kohlman’s misconduct came to light when the prisoner, Shane Bardes, came forward last year with a detailed statement alleging she and other guards had taken advantage of his status as a prisoner to engage in various acts of sexual misconduct with him. His allegations — along with claims that his pleas for help were ignored by those in charge — were the subject of a November 2013 Marine Corps Times cover story.

One of the unnoticed issues surrounding military sexual assaults, actually sexually assaults in general is the likely frequency of female on male sexual assault.  In the case of the Brig “power” might be the motivating factor.  Interestingly this issue of abuse of power and rank and status is raised quite frequently with drill instructors, recruiters, and leaders.  The issue gets very little attention when it involves a female accused.  A cynic might argue that’s because the current attention is focussed on sexual assault as a gender crime rather than on the crime; who commits the offense – men – is the meme.

There is in fact robust research on the problem of females committing sexual assault on males and children.  There are some news articles that seek to bring the issue forward.  Slate recently published an article on this topic.  Further there is Lara Stemple and Ilan H. Meyer.  The Sexual Victimization of Men in America: New Data Challenge Old Assumptions. American Journal of Public Health: June 2014, Vol. 104, No. 6, pp. e19-e26.  Livia Gershon, When Women Sexually Assault Men. October 2014.