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"It's not normal for chatroom irani them to date in the military," says Marica Cazares-Alvarado, 23. "You can't tell them how to treat you. They're not supposed to date military."
In 2012, the Department of Defense, which oversees US military personnel, began an open recruitment of "diverse" women, including lesbians, bisexual women and transgender people, through an effort called Recruiting Women in Combat. Women currently serve in the Marines, Army and Coast Guard.
For a decade, the US has recruited women for military duty.
Marica Cazares-Alvarado, 23, says she is in the minority in the army. The last time she saw an all-male unit was in Iraq. "They're a little scared to be a woman. You can see it in their face. You can feel it." Her mother is a doctor in Texas and her father, a Navy veteran who has also deployed. Cazares-Alvarado says she's never been bullied, but feels like there's an uncomfortable distance between her and her unit. "It's a little weird," she says, "because they have their own culture, their own language. It makes them more like themselves, like men, but when I'm talking to them, it's just weird." She says she's always tried to be like her unit — but her efforts were mostly in vain. She says she has to go into combat to avoid the stereotypes. Cazares-Alvarado and other vets say the military is a place where women are not given a fair shake and that a man who is in combat can be vulnerable to violence. "I have to stand my ground and prove my masculinity and not be a victim," Cazares-Alvarado says. In February, a military judge ruled that Cazares-Alvarado, who is an outspoken critic of the military's handling of sexual assaults, could not serve as an honor guard at a Marine Corps base in San Diego. (The court ordered her to stop using the word "she" and to stop using male pronouns when talking about fellow service members.) "It was hard," Cazares-Alvarado says of the experience. "It made me realize how much that unit meant to me, and how it's been hard to get back into it. … My thoughts have been american single girls to make sure that any soldier or Marine who is experiencing this type of sexual assault understands that this is not a normal thing. It's a thing that is wrong and we need to stop it." Cazares-Alvarado says her friends also fear for their own safety in the current climate. "When I have friends that are in the military, we're on high alert. … I don't know what to do," she says. "I can't go out with my boyfriend or with my husband. I just don't know how to talk to him. It's hard."
This is not the first time military personnel have been forced to deal with sexual assault on their bases. In September, an officer in the Marine Corps was caught on camera in a bathroom with two female marines. The officer was suspended, and the other two Marines were removed from their unit for a week. The officer's name has not been released, and there has been no word on whether she has since been relieved of duty.
"There have been other incidents of harassment in our unit," says Marine Corps spokeswoman Lt. Col. Denise Lindstrom. She says that one of the other Marines in the bathroom incident was suspended for "inappropriate conduct." "We take that very seriously, and we are taking immediate steps to address it," she says. "We will take all measures necessary to address this issue, and we are committed to ensuring that our unit is safe." Lindstrom says that a separate incident involving another Marine was reported last week, and that it will be investigated by the Marine Corps Criminal Investigation Command and a Naval Criminal Investigative Service investigator. The Marine who was attacked by her friend's boyfriend was taken to the hospital, and she thailand cupid dating said she wants to pursue legal action. "I would like to sue the Marine Corps. I don't want any more of this to happen to anyone else." Lindstrom says the incident occurred during a "party full of drinking" at the barracks in a nearby city. "This was a great time for him," she says. "He was very popular with the other Marines. He was in his prime. I have no reason to believe he would single chat online ever do something like this to another person, and I don't want to make this a case of 'I did this to make a point.' This was not about the point. It was about me." "He is going to have to be prison pen pals georgia a lot more careful," she says. "This doesn't look like a person who is capable of such a thing." Lindstrom says that after she reported the incident, she was threatened by other Marines who she says had heard the story and planned to join in on tattooed guys the harassing behavior. "I don't want other guys to think I had to do this, and it shouldn't happen to anyone else," she says. She says the Marines told her, "Your life is ruined, and no one will ever understand." In the end, she says, she had to leave the Marine Corps. In the days after the incident, I spoke to numerous other female having a boyfriend in the army Marines who have told similar stories of unwanted sexual advances. Most said they either told their superiors or reported the incidents to a higher authority at the base. "They said 'We can't do anything about it because they are the guys, " says one woman. "They said that you could have an entire barracks full of women with this kind of stuff going on. 'The Marines can't take action against this guy. He's a good Marine.' They said, 'They are the guys.'" But one thing is certain: Even if you're a Marine, and the alleged assaults were actually committed by some member of the uniformed branch, you are not a bad guy.