In the light of the discovery that Marines are sharing nude photos of their female colleagues, the Marine Corps are under vast speculation.
The photo sharing takes place on a Facebook group called Marines United, which contains more than 30,000 Marines. Investigators are finding additional Marine-led nude photo-sharing groups, as well, including a dozen websites. A Marine veteran and Purple Heart recipient reported the scandal earlier in the month.
Gen. Robert Neller, the top officer for the Marine Corp, told Senators yesterday that he will fix the misogynistic culture of his branch. Furthermore, he addressed male marines in his statement to the Senate Armed Services Committee, asking, “What is it going to take for you to accept these Marines as Marines?”
Apparently, service men and women reported harassment multiple times in the past few years. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-New York) inquired why nobody held servicemen accountable for their actions. Neller claimed that investigators are having trouble identifying individual users, despite the photo-sharing taking place on social media.
“Who has been held responsible?” she asked. “Have you actually investigated and found anybody guilty? If we can’t crack Facebook, how are we supposed to be able to confront Russian aggression and cyber hacking throughout our military?”
In response, Gen. Neller said he is responsible for the situation and will prosecute Marines responsible for taking part in the scandal. Additionally, he is traveling to Camp Lejeune today to talk to Marines about the scandal.
Accordingly, Gillibrand said that his responses are “unsatisfactory” and they his plans of action do not go “far enough.”
Not just a Marine issue
Investigators found that the scandal is not specific to the Marine Corps. Last week, reporters found that other military branches are soliciting naked photos of servicewomen, as well, including at two service academies.
The Navy also found a nude photo-sharing phenomenon at more than a dozen commands. Anonymous internet users are collecting and distributing nude photos, primarily of women. Sites like 4Chan and Tumblr found that users are creating specific groups and pages targeting particular service members. Particularly, site users search for sailors by name, photo, job title, and rank.
Adm. John Richardson, chief of naval operations, said this is a problem that officials need to solve immediately and not look the other way.
“The discovery of online sites that degrade the female members of our team has shined a light on the fact that this problem persists,” he said. “But we get reminds of it every day when we disrespect women by crude jokes, wisecracks, sexual harassment, and in its worst manifestation, sexual assault—a serious violent crime…We’re not making progress.”