So the Rude Pundit was doing research to write up a snarky little piece and join in the dogpile on internet video star Sarah Palin and her family getting into some kind of stupid, drunken fight with stupid, drunken people at a stupid, drunken party over something stupid and, you know, drunken and probably involving snowmobile jousting or some such stupid, drunken bullshit that you do when you live in Alaska, you're drunk and stupid, and the thrill has gone out of shooting things.
Yeah, he was gonna go to town like everyone else in Left Blogsylvania, take the easy, merry route out on a Friday afternoon. He doesn't blame anyone for doing so. And then while checking out an article on the fisticuffs in the Alaska Dispatch News, he saw another article. It pretty much ended any hope of going comically into that gentle weekend light.
Here's the story: "[I]n 2007, Sgt. Melissa Jones was a 27-year-old specialist in her third year in the Alaska guard and hoping to go to flight school to learn to pilot helicopters. Late one weekend night, she and a group of about 15 -- fellow guardsmen and their boyfriends and girlfriends -- went to Chilkoot Charlie’s. After a couple of drinks, she said, she felt funny and decided to go home.
"Very little was clear after that, and she thinks her drink was drugged. She believes she took a taxi back to her apartment in East Anchorage. Someone else got in -- either with her, or through an unlocked door. She said she was raped multiple times but didn’t want to give details of what happened. She doesn’t know if the assaults were committed by soldiers, guardsmen or civilians."
Horrible enough, yes, but then there's what happened after. After explaining to her supervising sergeant why she was late the next day, she was advised to go talk to the chaplain. The chaplain then told her commander, who told Jones he'd have to tell her first sergeant what had happened. The reason you know Jones's name is because, as she learned after coming back from a week off to recover, the information about her rape had been leaked and pretty much everyone on base knew about it. Jones said that the sexual assault response coordinator’s office wouldn’t take her complaint “because my story had been made public." She received no treatment services and, two months later, was deployed to Iraq with three dozen other members of the Alaska guard, most of whom knew what had happened to her, perhaps even having been there or done it.
A federal investigation into the Alaska National Guard, requested by Gov. Sean Parnell (who is actually finishing his first term) and released last week, found fraud, ethical misconduct, and other problems. It also found egregious failures when it came to the treatment of victims of rape: "Since 2006, the Alaska National Guard has received 37 reports of sexual assault, some of which were investigated by the Guard but most of which were referred to local law enforcement. The report found that from 2007 to 2011, the Alaska National Guard did not manage sexual assault cases well. Records were not properly maintained or tracked, victims and leaders often were not given case updates, victims were not offered treatment services, and victim information was not kept as confidential as it should have been." Because of this, many victims did not come forward because they feared their rape being made public, as well as believing that nothing would happen. "A culture of mistrust" exists in the Alaska Guard, the report says.
The commander of the Alaska National Guard resigned last week because someone had to take the fall. It's a start.
But, yeah, sure, it's hysterical that the appalling Sarah Palin and her appalling family have finally fallen back into the habits of dishonorable thugs. It's more important that that attitude also fucks with the lives of women who made the mistake of thinking they could serve their country and be treated with respect.