“Unlike other habits that the military efficiently drills out of its members, there’s no effort to do the same when it comes to sexist behavior.”

—Marine veteran Dr. Kate Hendricks Thomas and Army reservist Paula Broadwell

The first women were assigned to a Marine infantry unit on Jan. 5, fulfilling the 2015 Department of Defense mandate that all military service jobs, including combat, be open to women.

By late January, a Google Drive link with photos of nude and barely dressed Marine servicewomen was postedto the Marines United Facebook page without the knowledge of the women involved. Postings also divulged their names, ranks and military duties.

Marines United, a male-only site for current and former Marines, U.S. Navy corpsmen and British Royal Marines, has a following of some 30,000 members whose bases span the globe. Members describe it as a site that helps vets find jobs and assists those feeling suicidal. It also carries degrading commentary about women. The news of nonconsensual nude photos with woman-hating commentary erupted into national media in March.

By then, 2,500 comments, some threatening rape and other sadistic sexual torture—couched in weaponized humor—had been posted to the site.

The Marines United rules of conduct—no racist or illegal posts, no threats, harm or harassment—and the Marines’ hallowed motto semper fi (“always faithful”) apparently do not apply to its treatment of women. Why? Because from basic training onward, women are stereotyped as “bitches,” “sluts” or “lesbians,” as one 23-year-old Marine veteran testified at a recent congressional hearing.

The Marines United story exploded like a roadside bomb run over by a convoy truck. Journalist and Marine veteran Thomas Brennan, who broke the story, and other veterans have since tracked the electronic dodges, feints and shifting Facebook sites of Marines United more nimbly than military officials have. Top Marine brass, under heavy fire from female legislators for other pornographic Facebook sites, confessed four years ago that they lacked “manpower” and “technological resources” to counter electronic sexual assault on their female members.

Baffling, isn’t it, that a military with the best cyberwar capabilities in the world and a defense budget larger than the next eight countries combined can’t control a cyberattack on women within its own ranks?

CONTINUES

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