Hundreds of Marines are under investigation for sharing nude photos of female service members and veterans less than a month after women were fully incorporated into the Marine Corps’ infantry units.
Possibly thousands of photos—most of women who did not give their consent—have changed hands through social media sites with captions like “Smash or pass?”
Many of the photos were stored in a Google Drive file that senior Marine Corps officials are now investigating. One Facebook group in particular, Marines United, circulated hundreds of nude photos of female service members and vets from all branches, each of which was stored in the same Google Drive file.
The now-deleted folders had complete dossiers of women, including their names, military branches, screenshots of their social media accounts, and nude photos, as well as images of sexual acts. The man who owned the Google Drive, a former Marine himself, was fired from his job as a government subcontractor once investigators discovered who he was and reported his conduct to his employer. At least one Marine has been discharged from active duty, and dozens more are awaiting court martials and non-judicial punishment.
This particular file-share, according to psychiatrist Dr. Frank Ochberg, is a threat to the women’s mental health.
“It impairs the ideal of a brotherhood and sisterhood, being able to count on somebody. Within the military, this is a violation of family,” says Ochberg, who founded the International Society for Traumatic Stress Studies and is the former associate director of the National Institute of Mental Health.
Because the photos were shared on Facebook, many of the service members involved in making lewd comments and re-sharing the photos are easily identifiable—and that’s helping the Marine Corps put together their cases. Most of the comments came from personal Facebook accounts that included the commenters’ names, ranks, and duty stations.
According to Marine Corps veteran Teresa Fazio, writing for Rolling Stone, she expected no less from the current culture of the Corps. She says that “toxic masculinity” runs rampant within the organization, and that Marine Corps Commandant General Robert Neller’s video address doesn’t go far enough to tackle the larger problem.
What Do You Think?
Do you think that mixing men and women in the Marine Corps and other service branches will inevitably lead to this kind of conduct, or do you think that this behavior is outside the norm? Do you think the Marine Corps and the U.S. Department of Defense are going far enough to address the problem? I’d love to hear your thoughts, so please, share them on my Facebook page or on Twitter.