Sexual Assault Against Prisoners of War: Female and Otherwise

Women’s ENews ran a lengthy article in early April about the risks of sexual assault against prisoners of war. Much of this tends to focus on what is perceived to be the special risk of sexual assault against female soldiers, with some opponents of women serving in the military going so far as to suggest that women shouldn’t be put in front line positions precisely because of the risk of sexual assault.

The single best comment on that I’ve seen was by Rhonda Cornum, a flight surgeon who was captured during the first Persian Gulf War and sexually assaulted by her Iraqi captors. When asked on a news program whether the risk of sexual assault was a major concern of female soldiers should they be captured, Cornum didn’t miss a beat when pointing out that sexual assault was not gender-specific, but also a very real possibility for men captured in war.

In fact, the reader who makes it to the 17th paragraph(!) of the Women’s ENews article will learn that, “most [sexual assault victims] Veteran affairs deals with are male as they make up the majority of the military population.”

The story quotes Capt. Lory Manning of The Women’s Research and Education Institute as suggesting that male victims of sexual assault in the military may be afraid to come forward due to the “male-dominated military culture”, but how is that any different than the feminist-dominated culture at Women’s ENews that spends 16 paragraphs focusing on sexual assault among POWs as if it is a female-specific condition and then almost as an afterthought included a section about oh, by the way, “Men Are Victims Too”?


POWs likely to endure sexual assault. Gretchen Cook, Women’s ENews, April 6, 2003.

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