U.S. Military Ignores Child Rape Culture In Afghanistan

U.S. Military Ignores Child Rape Culture In Afghanistan

Why the ‘It’s On Us’ message needs to apply to all areas of life, not just college campuses.
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They are called “dancing boys” to the Afghans, but to U.S. service members in Afghanistan who have had to turn a blind eye to them, they are only known as one thing: sex slaves.

To college students, they would be known as something else: completely screwed up.

The Afghani subculture of “boy play” or bacha bazi is widely popular, especially among Afghan police commanders. “Boy play” is the act of having a token young boy entertain you. If you have one, you are respected. If you do not “have” a boy, you cannot compete with other commanders for higher authority.

The sexual abuse of these young boys is nauseatingly hard to stop, specifically because the abusers are U.S.-backed Afghan police commanders. According to the New York Times, the American military is equally to blame for the continuing of this Afghani subculture because they are ordering troops to turn a blind eye to the abuse in order to maintain good relations with Afghan forces.

Stepping in against these rapes and sexual slavery apparently undermines the local government that U.S. forces are trying to help Afghan forces build. And though there is no official rule in writing to ignore human rights abuses, many members of the U.S. Army have claimed it is implied.

Just a thought, but isn’t human respect a tad more important than bruising the ego of the Afghan government? Shouldn’t they be called out for their creepy, baffling, and utterly repulsive cultural behaviors?

It is always on us to stop rape.

Two U.S. soldiers thought so too until they were dishonored by the U.S. military for jeopardizing the relationship between the Afghan forces and the U.S. forces in order to save a young boy from enduring yet another rape.

Dan Quinn, a captain in the U.S. Army, and Sgt. 1st Class Charles Martland were relieved of their duties shortly after the confrontation between them and an admitted child rapist Afghan police commander.

Martland is now involuntarily separated from the Army.

I love being an American, but this terrorizes me.

We Americans have created movements against rape on college campuses, put child sex offender labels on child rapists for a lifetime, have developed rape tests in hospitals to keep victims safe and track down perpetrators, yet in another country, human rights suddenly take the back seat.

Rape is defined as the “unlawful sexual intercourse without the consent of the victim.” It is inhumane, revolting, and nonsensical to impose sexual intercourse on someone who does not consent to the act, especially a child. Even if the country's culture suggests otherwise, rape is never okay.

Overall, it seems the U.S. military stationed in Afghanistan could learn a thing or two from college students. Sex slavery or rape is never anything to turn a blind eye to, and it is on us, as other human beings, to step in against any dehumanizing acts. It is not just about fulfilling this moral duty on college campuses, but in all areas of life.

At the end of the day, saving a child’s innocence was more important to Charles Martland than his affiliation with the U.S. Army, providing an example for all to learn from, and really spreading the message of "It’s On Us" across the world.

Cover Image Credit: http://angelagrahamwest.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/bacha-bazi-620x330.jpg

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5 Perks Of Having A Long-Distance Best Friend

The best kind of long-distance relationship.
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Sometimes, people get annoyed when girls refer to multiple people as their "best friend," but they don't understand. We have different types of best friends. There's the going out together best friend, the see each other everyday best friend and the constant, low maintenance best friend.

While I'm lucky enough to have two out of the three at the same school as me, my "low maintenance" best friend goes to college six hours from Baton Rouge.

This type of friend is special because no matter how long you go without talking or seeing each other, you're always insanely close. Even though I miss her daily, having a long-distance best friend has its perks. Here are just a few of them...

1. Getting to see each other is a special event.

Sometimes when you see someone all the time, you take that person and their friendship for granted. When you don't get to see one of your favorite people very often, the times when you're together are truly appreciated.

2. You always have someone to give unbiased advice.

This person knows you best, but they probably don't know the people you're telling them about, so they can give you better advice than anyone else.

3. You always have someone to text and FaceTime.

While there may be hundreds of miles between you, they're also just a phone call away. You know they'll always be there for you even when they can't physically be there.

4. You can plan fun trips to visit each other.

When you can visit each other, you get to meet the people you've heard so much about and experience all the places they love. You get to have your own college experience and, sometimes, theirs, too.

5. You know they will always be a part of your life.

If you can survive going to school in different states, you've both proven that your friendship will last forever. You both care enough to make time for the other in the midst of exams, social events, and homework.

The long-distance best friend is a forever friend. While I wish I could see mine more, I wouldn't trade her for anything.

Cover Image Credit: Just For Laughs-Chicago

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The Disrespectful Nature Of My Generation Needs To Stop

Why choosing phone games over a Holocaust survivor was my breaking point.

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While many students that attended Holocaust survivor Hershel Greenblat's talk were rightfully attentive, I noticed, out of the corner of my eye, a few outlier students tapping away on their phones. They were minute movements, but inappropriate nonetheless.

Immediately I became infuriated. How, I thought, fuming, did my generation become so blithely unaware to the point where we could not proffer basic respect to a survivor of one of the most horrific events in human history?

Perhaps the students were just texting their parents, telling them that the event would run a bit long. 10 minutes later, my eyes diverted from Greenblat back to the students. They were still on their phones. This time, I could see the screens being held horizontally—indicating a game or a show was being played. I wanted to get up, smack the distractions out of their hands, and ask them why they thought what they were doing was more important than a Holocaust speaker.

I will not waste any more time writing about the disrespectful few. Because they could not give Greenblat the time of their day, I will not give them mine. Instead, I want to focus on a massive trend my generation has mistakenly indulged ourselves in.

The Greenblat incident is only an example of this phenomenon I find so confusing. From young, it was instilled in me, probably via Chinese tradition, that elders should be respected. It is a title only revoked when unacceptable behavior allows it to be, and is otherwise maintained. I understand that not everybody comes from a background where respect is automatically granted to people. And I see that side of the story.

Why does age automatically warrant respect? It is the fact that they have made it this far, and have interesting stories to tell. There are exceptions, perhaps more than there are inclusions.

But this fact can be determined by the simple act of offering an elderly person your seat on public transportation. Sure, it can be for their health, but within that simple act is a meaningful sacrifice for somebody who has experienced more than you.

Age aside, at Greenblat's talk, majority of the disrespect shown might not have been agist. Instead, it could have been the behavior students just there for the check-in check-out extra credit that multiple classes and clubs were offering. While my teachers who advertised the event stressed the importance of attendance not just for the academic boost, but for the experience, I knew that some of the more distracted students there must have been those selfish, ignorant, solely academic driven cockalorums.

I stay hopeful because majority of my classmates were attentive. We knew to put aside our Chromebooks, regardless of note-taking, and simply listen to what Greenblat had to offer.

It would be wrong to label my generation as entitled— that's a misnomer for the generation before. We are still wavering between the line of automatic respect and earned respect, but we need to set a line for people whom we know the stories of. Especially a Holocaust survivor.

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