Casey Kitchel


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What is the best way to prevent rape in war zones?

Rape in war zones is an issue of utmost urgency and needs to be stopped.

The purpose of this debate is to find solutions to a problem with very real and horrific consequences. All are welcome to participate and contribute, all I ask is for everyone to please be thoughtful and considerate with their contributions. I look forward to seeing what solutions the TED community can come forth with. Thank you.

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    Apr 22 2013: Let's start from first principle. The best way to prevent rapes in war zones is to prevent wars.
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      Apr 22 2013: Reality check: The best way to prevent housefires is to prevent fire. Floods/Water. Car crashes/Cars. Drug abuse/Drugs. Obesity/Food. etc. etc. War is part of the Human drama. Sorry.
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        Apr 22 2013: so is rape. we should work on getting these things out of the "human drama".
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          Apr 22 2013: A noble venture but you are bucking both human nature and all of recorded history. I give you 7 billion-to-one odds against success.
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        Apr 22 2013: I believe conflict is part of the "Human drama." IMHO, war, like famine, is political.
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          Apr 22 2013: War is just crowd-sourced conflict. When wars were fought on battlefields, away from the women, there were no rapes.
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      Apr 22 2013: "The best way to prevent rapes in war zones is to prevent wars."

      That's what I'm thinking too Pabitra.

      Scott Bell mentioned something similar:


      Question: What is the Best Way to Prevent Violence?"

      Isn't it the warzone that creates the environment of instability that allows for the rape to happen? If you stop stop the warzones, then in theory, I would think one would be able to prevent a large percentage of the rapes.
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        Apr 23 2013: I think your question is not really about rape at this point so I won't deliberate on that issue save and except:
        Rape has nothing to do with sex and procreation. It's all about violence (you are right) and violation of human dignity. I believe both male and female can be victim of rape, though in case of females it has additional consequences.
        Violence is integral to systemic view of life. I'd like to be more practical and take social violence like wars, rapes, terrorism etc. as the talking point. No amount of regulation, laws, statutes can prevent such violence. The only way is to gravitate to a higher plane of enlightenment by the societies to realize that such violence cannot achieve anything worthwhile.
        Sometimes, I imagine that violence has just become unfashionable.
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    Apr 29 2013: In a situation where you have put men (and women) with the order to kill, and the reality that they will be killed. This is an environment where fear and hate and what is being called Moral Injuries flourish.I think you must work to stop war, End the use of violence to convert others to your ideas.
  • Apr 21 2013: War=Violence

    Question: What is the Best Way to Prevent Violence?
  • Apr 29 2013: I think your questions can be a little more broad as it's not just about the war's everywhere. I hear 5 year old girl being gangraped in India, a 23 year old girl got on to the city bus and was raped worst than an animal act. The latter had an iron rod inserted in her vagina...Let me reiterate it was not in the war zone. The place is Delhi capital of India. I hear the trials are still pending despite pressure from the activists, media, students and everyone alike.
    In my opinion a very sensitive approach by both the governments, police, army and the likes should be adopted. Trial and execution of the case should be within 15 days and sever punishment for adults and juveniles must be announced and executed. Along side it shoudl be publicised in the tabloids to avoid future acts of rapes happening.
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      May 10 2013: Molli,

      "I think your questions can be a little more broad as it's not just about the war's everywhere." You're right. This debate needs to be much broader beyond the scope of addressing the issue of "rape within war zones". Rape doesn't just need to be stopped in war zones, it needs to be stopped domestically all over the world.

      Those cases in India you mentioned, I can't even begin to imagine the kind of anger and frustration women in India and other places with similar predicaments are going through. Knowing the kind of corruption that runs rampant through virtually all levels of government in India, there is little hope that the government or local authorities will take action.
  • Apr 23 2013: That's a simple one. Stop the wars, and you will cut down on the rapes, if not eliminate them. And ending the wars is not easy, but it is certainly simple. It will happen almost automatically when it is a common idea that 1.) murder should illegal in ALL cases, (except for actual, jury certified self defense). 2.) War is murder. 3.) Presidents , etc. should be held responsible for what their "troops" do, just as a Mayor is responsible for what his Police do. Of course, we would have to get used to the idea of having an administration, courts, police , etc. to handle the procedures, which should be based on Legal principles. Up to now, people seem to thinki that murder is OK, as long as the Chief says so. That is the measjure of our remaing Barbarism.
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      Apr 21 2013: Kate,

      Thank you for joining in and I hope more people decide to participate, whether its to share their thoughts, provide solutions, or just to observe. The more people share, the better.

      As for "all sides do it but there is absolutely NO excuse", I agree completely.
    • Apr 23 2013: I am a Korea War, vet, rather lucky in avoiding most of the trauma, just by chance. I laughed at the idea that I could possible experience Combat Fatigue, or PTSD. Lately , on account of the revelaton that many of our vets are committing suicide every day, I came across some research which ought to be inducing some radical re-thinking. Going back to WW1 "Shell Shock" was of course a big interest in the military, if only defensively. But what to make of the revelation , in a British 1918 study, that only 20% of the men "out of commission" on account of S.S. had actually even BEEN in combat. But they were incapacitated just the same. And remember, in those days, we didn't have the kind of sympathetic treatment of "Slackers" that would be normal now. ( A good account of this is in the novel "The Good Soldier Schweik")
      Along with all this, I have come to believe that our whole society , from top to bottom , is showing definite sighs of PTSD. Neurotically over reacting to shadows, failing to act where it is clearly called for, various inexplicable "incidents" , like the bombing, or the school shootings,, our President bragging about torturing people (something not even the Nazis publicly admitted) A very long list of strange happenings which are consistent with ongoing, relentless over -stresses. In short, it is a Group Neurosis, like a Mass Panic. People vary in their abillity to resist this; not all soldiers get "Combat Fatigue". There is a very good sociological study on such stress, called "Future Shock" about how even changes for the BETTER are stressful, not to mention the run of the mill ones such as getting divorced, or losing your job.
      One such example of "change for the better " induced stress might be the apparently uncontrollable climate of rapes within all modern female "integrated" military services. It may welll be that all the "improvements" of the last couple of generations is more than our society can stand right now.
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        • Apr 23 2013: Thanks for the kind words Kate. It does seem that "stresses" are additive.. One of the interesting points in the book "Future Shock" was a discussion of what the individual can do to mitigate some of this, at least personally.
          As to whether some men are intimidated by competent women, that is no doubt true, but for everyone like that I would suppose, at least the men trained up by Evolution, a lot more stress would come from the dim recognition that if things got difficult , they would be expected to rescue the women, and feel bad if they couldn't. More stress. All mostly un conscious, no doubt. It's a situational thing, not anyone's fault.
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    May 20 2013: As far as soldiers committing rape, the answer is actually very simple. In NATO countries, a very high standard of military discipline is maintained. Good order and discipline, honor, and action with integrity are highly valued. Rape is an unthinkable crime for a well trained, well disciplined soldier.

    As far as irregulars or the loose-knit militias and gangs that cause problems so many places, the solution is more complex. It does no good to increase the penalty for rape, when there is no foundation of social justice to begin with. Rape is one way that terrorists dominate and control subjected populations. And that is often a planned, and systematic approach by terrorist and/or terrorist-revolutionary organizations who want to destroy the will of a conquered population.

    The only way to fight back when things get that bad is with disciplined military intervention. You start with martial law and curfews. Then you start the process of policing the streets. First soldiers, then local policemen come to the fore. Criminals, once caught, are first tried in military tribunals. Later, those tribunals are replaced by local authorities. People will organize their own lives in a positive and successful way if given the chance. You just have to get rid of the criminals who own their own armies and use them in the name of power and terror.
  • Apr 26 2013: Inflict higher punishment on the rapist. It doesn't matter if you're serving in the military or not. You rape someone in a war zone, you're no longer human and you do not value the well being of others; particularly women. Punishment should be death by hanging or imprisonment for life.

    There is no sugar coating when it comes to offenses like that. You can't unrape somebody, and it causes a lot of psychological trauma to the victim. Animals should be dealt with like animals. We're in 2013, there is no excuse for anyone to reach down to such a primitive state of thinking. When you repeatedly remove other human beings from existence, it gets to you and you can no longer go back to a peaceful mind state.
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    Apr 23 2013: I was unaware i was making said excuses. I dont believe i did. I was just giving a thought, a reason or explanation, a possible realization of the subject, not making excuses. Im not "down playing" rape at all (well that is not my intentions) im not trying to make it seem like it should be more tolerable, i am just wondering if maybe we need to look at it in different ways and attack the issue with different methods. I agree there is no excuse for rape, however there may be a better understanding of it and in turn a better way to stop it from happening. I disagree that rape is only about power and control. Yes there are many cases where these two factors have played a major role, yet it is not only about those two things. Drug addicts who fully know that the drug is illegal, completely understand and realize the drug is killing them and ruinning their life still turn around and sell their soul for another hit. Although we dont fully understand it to any measure we do know/have the idea that addiction is a neurological disorder, people with bad cases literally cannot control themselves and may need emense support, help and care, along with therapy and even certain (medical) drugs to be able to live day to day. Now im not saying any rapist is neurologically addicted to it, im just highlighting the possibility that rape may be something complex we do not yet fully understand, know how to diagnose, treate and deal with. Just as with addicts will power and consequences sometimes do not always prevent them from feeding their addiction. Before it was just tough love, suck it up and just say no, refuse it, be strong. We have advanced and grown to know that this really is a brain disorder of some sort. Now i dont know what is true at the moment, we just dont know yet. All in all however i am fully for any act or change that reduces the rates of rape. We always must do our best with what we have, that includes doing our best to not be bad
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    Apr 22 2013: What if there is none? As much as we want to say will power, discipline, and laws can change this, what if they cant? Rape is a difficult subject, it isnt something you can talk about with certainty. You can talk about rocks, test them, know what minerals make it up and when it formed, all of these certain facts, where as rape is almost like an addiction. (some people are addicted to sex, or i suppose could be addicted to rape) We dont know enough about the brain, the way it works and its inner cogs and wheels to be able to figure things out like addiction. Rape has gone on since the beginning of man, specially in war times. Where did rape even come from? As we evolved sex was primarily for reproduction, now we dont see it as just that, its recreation, fun, almost a high to us.We need to understand these inner brain workings of what causes rape. Im not saying that every human has it hard wired in their brain to rape people but no matter what if you have a population of 1000, a few may be mentally challenged, some may have physicaly deformations, and who knows there could be a few that no matter what theres something in them, a loose wire or something that causes them to rape. (wether they get a high from it, need to feel the domination, or are just to weak willed to not do it given the opportunity. Also as far as increasin the penalties of such crimes im not sure that will work.(i mean it will to an extent, but only to an extent) If rape is something we cant figure out in our brain then regardless of the penalty someone somehwhere still may do it, same as us having strict penalties on drugs, yet that does not detour people from using them illegally. So i dont know, im not sure at this point we are advanced in our knowledge of our own brain to tackle such a problem, but i do agree with others on their ideas to at least slow down this staggering trend.
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    Apr 21 2013: Casey, I am retired military and also a veteran of wars. There is no simple answer. I have seen action from both men and women in uniform and civilians which lead to undesirable ends. We could blame the abuse of alcohol, the lack of disclipine, women in a male dominated environment, poor leadership, and the examples of superiors. If it was OK for my commander in chief then why not me ... the Clinton syndrom. The chief of the CIA and a four star can get away with it why not me .... look at the Kennedys ... and the list goes on. Rank and wealth have priviladges the rest do not. Congress has declared themselves elete ... the administration is elete. When the laws are enforced at all levels with the same strength and vigor much of this will stop. Then again there is always some idiot that thinks he knows better and does what is wrong anyway. From the highest in the land to the lowest in the land all laws should be administered equally. If I can be tried for a offense then a person holding a public trust should receive the same or even a more harsh penality. Perhaps a additional penality for the violation of the public trust. Elected officials work for us and should not be exempt or profit from their elected position. When the administration and Congress opted out of Obama care themselves they told us it was a rotten deal and good enough for the peons but certainly not good enough for the elete.

    Casey I am afraid that rape and crime will always occur ... but a common law and penality for ALL would reduce it.

    If the citizens would demand that ALL laws apply to ALL from the top down it would be a giant step in the prevention of many crimes including crimes against women. Further that pay and priviladge only applies when in office ... no longer
    ... apply term limits and do away with extreme retirements and benefits as well.

    In short start from the top and work out the problems all the way down.

    I wish you well. Bob.
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    Apr 21 2013: What is a "warzone"? Are Boston and Manhattan warzones? The methods of terrorism have replaced chivalry with cowardice. Gutless psycho zealots prowl our cities waiting for orders to wreak havoc on non-combatant women, children, disabled, and elderly citizens. We are too liberal to profile immigrants as a way to keep these vermin off our soil so we have to live with the new definition of what constitutes a warzone. Any business center, any federal building, any aircraft, and sporting event is the new warzone. As Mr. Bell mentions below, war is violence and rape is a subset of violence. If we cannot restore the ways of war where females were isolated from combat zones then we will not solve this problem. Sad but true.
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    Apr 21 2013: Some great responses so far! I can't wait to hear what others have to say!
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    Apr 21 2013: There is a very simple answer :
    Don't make soldier go into battle wearing another uniform with a new "social identity" (otherwise known as : "De-individuation of self".)
    Or make a code of honor, between warriors.
    I mean if you got rid of these 4 psychological mechanisms, rape would decrease (along with possibly encouraging it with economic incentives!) :

    - The obedience to authority. (Commander says it's "okay".)
    - The group polarization. (I don't want to be left out!)
    - The dehumanization of the enemy. (The enemy are just slugs to be crushed)
    - The diffusion of personal responsibility of the soldier. (group 'gang' mentality!)

    And reduce the "Conflicts of Interest" in the act of rape. Create social norms which make it undesirable to rape the enemy. Also be cautious of " Will Power Depletion", and that soldiers may have "urges". (Sound odd doesn't it?) :P

    I mean these two TED talks may give you some reasons as how to prevent violence :

    • Philip Zimbardo: The psychology of evil :

    • Steven Pinker: The surprising decline in violence :

    They should probably answer your question. (Most of the points above, I got from these two TED talks, and their books!)
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    Apr 21 2013: Saltpeter in the coffee