Archive for Kirsten Gillibrand

Not All Military Rape Victim's Are Alike


protect out defenders

Rapes in the military have been getting much more attention and seeing more and more daylight lately. A lot of that has to do with the efforts of two women senators, Senators Kirsten Gillibrand of New York and Claire McCaskill of Missouri. It's not just the horrific tragedies of the act itself, it's the aftermath. And in too many cases, the result is suicide. So perhaps it's proper to say that one act of violence is really responsible for two.

Huffpo continues to run a periodic series of articles under the heading of Invisible Casualties, in which they shine a spotlight on suicide-prevention efforts within the military. One in particular caught my attention in an eye-opening way. Perhaps this the story or the outcome that surprised me most.

It's the story of what I thought was a rather unusual sexual assault but as it turns out, it's more common than you'd think.

Now the particulars of this tragic tale don't end with the assault, nor with the conviction. It's the aftermath of Jeremiah Arbogast's ordeal.

According to this HUFFPO story:

Men accounted for only about 12 percent of reported military sexual assault cases in fiscal year 2012. But more men than women are sexually assaulted each year in the military, given that men make up some 85 percent of service members, notes Michael Matthews, a close friend of Arbogast. Matthews' own experience as a veteran and victim of rape served as the catalyst for "Justice Denied," a documentary about male military sexual assault survivors.

In 2001, Arborgast was drugged and raped. He reported the crime committed by his staff sergeant. There was a trial and the officer was meted out military justice.

The staff sergeant was convicted by court martial in 2002, given merely a "bad conduct" discharge from the Marines. But Arbogast's ordeal went on for seven more years of severe depression, nightmares and insomnia. He had trouble concentrating; his mind would wander back to the rape. He swung abruptly from rage to numbness. He got divorced. Then got remarried. He drank. Nothing worked.

jeremiah arbogast

 Jeremiah Arbogast wearing his Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation Ribbon, Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal and Global War on Terrorism Service Medal.

In 2009, Arbogast aimed a gun "right dead in the chest, where my heart would be, where my pain was." He missed and became partially paralyzed.

And so his life continued, but as a paraplegic. It's as if his traumatic past wasn't enough.

This man, just like the many other men AND women who have braved and overcome their sexual assaults, are to be commended.

"I've been through life and death," he said. "There is gonna come a time in your life when you have to say enough is enough. You're letting that perpetrator who assaulted you rent your life for free. You're becoming a slave to what they've done to you."

Others may see his experience as a reason to want to give up. But he says it's the reason to keep living. "It's all the tragedy and the triumph between where I was and where I am today."

Bravo to you all, soldiers and protectors of our freedoms.

We face a military funding shutdown within days because of the lack of patriotism by the tea party. And there's a particularly important need to say thanks to the men and women of the military.

Lance Corporal Jeremiah Arbogast, U.S. Marine Corps, needs some help. And he's not too proud to ask for it. Here's the link to Operation Help First Response.


The ‘Hottest Politicians’ in the Country?



As much as they're upfront in their parties, I can't really imagine either one of them as being "hot", and not in a sexy way. Leaders, frontrunners etc, but not blazing any paths.

Quinnipiac University is out with a new type of poll Monday, surveying the “hottest politicians” in the country.

In the poll of voter attitudes toward the country’s major political figures, the “hottest” are New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The third place spot on Quinnipiac’s ”Thermometer of Voter Attitudes” is Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren, although the poll notes 51 percent of voters said they didn’t know enough about her to rate her.

Christie, at 53.1 degrees on the “Thermometer,” Clinton, 52.1 degrees and Warren, at 49.2 degrees, are “hotter” than President Obama, at 47.6 degrees. New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand matches the president, at 47.6 degrees, although 75 percent of voters said they didn’t know enough about her to rate her.

Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas scores 46.8 degrees, with 60 percent saying they didn’t know enough about him to rate his temperature. Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida rates 46.5 degrees and Vice President Joe Biden comes in at 46.2 degrees.


Although Christie is the “hottest” leader in the eyes of all American voters, he comes in eighth among Republican voters, at 59.8 degrees. Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, the GOP’s 2012 vice presidential candidate, “generates the most heat,” according to the survey, among Republican voters, with 68.7 degrees.


"Republicans tellingly showed zero interest in... the 19,000 sexual assaults of military servicewomen that occur each year."


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Today's L.A. Times letter to the editor, because our voices matter:

Re "Hagel hearing reopens Senate wounds," Feb. 1

By grandstanding their grievances with former Sen. Chuck Hagel for leaving the fold to serve in President Obama's administration as secretary of Defense, the neoconservative Republicans on the Senate Armed Services Committee rubbed salt in their own self-inflicted wounds. What a shameful spectacle of badgering, interrupting and berating a decorated war veteran with a stellar record of public service.

While wasting the day on cherry-picked policy positions that don't even pertain to what a Defense secretary does, Republicans tellingly showed zero interest in the one that does: the 19,000 sexual assaults of military servicewomen that occur each year. Kudos to Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) for questioning Hagel about this "invisible war," to which he promptly and correctly pledged no tolerance.

Wendy Blais

North Hills

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Kirsten Gillibrand, Barney Frank: President Obama may endorse marriage equality before the 2012 election


How nice to treat you to some great news, via The Wonk Room. From an interview with the Advocate’s Andrew Harmon:

HARMON: So I’d have to pose the same question for President Obama. Do you think it’s possible that he could come out in support of marriage equality


HARMON:…before the 2012 election?

GILLIBRAND: Definitely... [He] shows a shift in his willingness to use the power of the White House — the power of the administration — to change public perception and to change policy.

So I think we could get a very strong public statement out of him.

And this:

...Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) seemed to agree, telling a small group of activists, “This is just my intuition, but I think the President will be supportive of marriage in the states that offer it before the 2012 election.”

I can't jump up and down quite yet, or maybe I will on just one foot, but this is still promising stuff. I just hope it isn't wishful thinking.

H/t: Greg Ostravich