Nick Meleby Nick Mele
Pax Christi USA National Council member

Recently, I had the opportunity to meet with a woman from the Philippines, herself a former sex worker, who had founded an organization to help women in the sex trade in what was once the U.S. naval base in Subic Bay. My conversation with her reminded me of a comment I read (perhaps by Anthony Swofford in Jarhead) about the connection between pornography and the military. I wondered at the time what that connection is, and listening to Alma Bulawan of BUKLOD, I felt closer to the answer. Since our conversation, I have been pondering the connection between militarism and pornography, prostitution and rape.

In pornography, women (and men) are stripped of their personhood and humanity and become toys and fantasy objects. In prostitution, the same thing happens more directly. In the military, in order to desensitize recruits to their supposed enemy’s humanity and personhood, soldiers and sailors are similar presented with “enemies” stripped of their humanity and individual personhood. (One military officer and psychologist wrote an excellent book on this aspect of training: On Killing by Dave Grossman.) In all of the places where American troops are stationed, either combatant or combat ready, the local people are also the “enemy” and they all are given derogatory nicknames by our military, for example, “haji,” which takes a religious title of honor in Islamic cultures and reduces it to a term of caricature and contempt. This parallels the reduction of women to toys or objects in pornography and prostitution…

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One thought on “REFLECTION: Sex and violence

  1. Until we stop teaching the art of killing we will have rape and sexual abuse. Only when we decide to love will we overcome sexual abuse (violence).

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