This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion
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The Marine Corps top brass were scrambling because of a junior Marine this week. A video posted onto Tik Tok by @gwotthot (her name was not released and we will not be publishing it without her permission in order to not further victimize her). In it, she explained how she had already posted a video where she was mad that her rapist was going to be released from military service with an “honorable discharge.”
As she cries, she updates us on the situation; she just discovered before the video begins that the Commanding General overruled the rest of the chain of command who all recommended “Do not retain” to approve the Marine for reenlistment despite the rapist’s admission of guilt.
(This video contains strong language.)
I believe her without question. Her story is too common.
In 2013, then-Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Amos, made his way around the globe to speak to every Marine in uniform. He was angry and upset that there was a rash of hazing, sexual assaults, and sexual harassment. He challenged every Marine eye to eye to stop the behavior.
My take on his leadership is it was as weak as the General who opted to reenlist the Marine. When I decided to become an officer I was given a book by the Colonel who recommended me for commission. The book was “The Armed Forces Officer,” by Gen. S. L. A. Marshal and the first chapter, “The Meaning of Your Commission,” inspires and drives me still today.
That chapter teaches you that to be a leader you must accept the actions of your subordinates and be responsible for them. It comes with the privilege and authority of commission. Somehow, our military’s senior officers have forgotten that.
I have seen senior officer misconduct when discovered go unpunished by the General Officer ranks. There is more on how to escape liability than what is right. The lawyers have taken over the military.
The General who signed that reenlistment paperwork did several things; he showed the Command and its Marines that the rapists conduct is both normal and accepted. That rapist isn’t just retained but is now eligible for promotion and will be promoted eventually.
If the American public knew how many of the military senior leaders had multiple rape allegations they’d be appalled. A serial sexual assaulter doesn’t become a senior leader unless that conduct is accepted by the other leaders. They protect each other. I’ve seen it for myself.
Honor is a word the Generals have tainted. It’s their fault. No one else’s. Congress needs to quickly step in and reevaluate how it screens for General officer promotions and who it gives the “special trust and confidence” of Command.
Whoever the Commanding General was who reenlisted that Marine should be immediately retired. That type of leadership is toxic and is unacceptable.
To @gwotthot I say thank you and I’m sorry. From me and on behalf of other military leaders who tried to stop bad individuals from being promoted: your rape is my fault. As an officer I accept that as a charge of my commission still today. I thank you for speaking out and I will speak out with you. I will fight to make sure what you’ve done helps so many others who will follow.
You are not alone. You are my sister-in-arms.
Michael Arthur is a writer and "Veteran Nation" show host for NRN. He's an Afghanistan Veteran and Marine Corps enlisted-to-officer mustang. After leaving active duty 2015, Arthur has remained active in several veterans organizations in his local community.