Book Review of “Honor Betrayed: Sexual Abuse in America’s Military” By Dr. Mic Hunter (Review By Michele Babcock-Nice)

“Honor Betrayed: Sexual Abuse in America’s Military” By: Dr. Mic Hunter

In Honor Betrayed: Sexual Abuse in America’s Military, Dr. Mic Hunter provides extensive information, citations, and experiences of some of his clients related to sexual assault, sexual abuse, and sexual harassment within the U.S. military.¬† In his book, Dr. Hunter covers many topics related to these issues, including hypermasculinity; hazing; homophobia; gender and status bias;¬†sexism; aggression; misogyny toward women and homosexuals; domestic violence; and use of and even staging of prostitution in the military.¬† Overall difficulties and rejections experienced by veterans in seeking support, therapy, and aid from Veteran’s Administration hospitals in treating post-traumatic stress disorder or other anxiety disorders as a result of sexual trauma experienced in the military are also presented.

Dr. Hunter has so extensively researched and written on the topics of sexual harassment, sexual abuse, and sexual assault within America’s military that I can hardly begin to incorporate all of his topics in my review of his book, though I will make my best attempt at doing so.¬† My best suggestion is to read his book since every page – page after page – is chock full of relevant, honest, direct information to his work.¬† For readers who may be unsure or doubtful as to the great extent of sex crimes that occur in America’s military, Dr. Hunter’s book can be a shocking and/or painful eye-opener to the truth of what occurs.¬† Dr. Hunter directly, professionally, and expertly deals with all of the issues presented, not treating the issue lightly, nor with kid gloves.

As I began reading Dr. Hunter’s book, some of my first thoughts about many military men’s views about women include that most of the men believe that, due to their physical strength, sexuality, and attitudes, they are superior to women.¬† They believe they are more powerful and influential than women, and that they have the capability to inflict more damage on those whom they believe are inferior.¬†

Many military men believe that because aggression and violence are part of their job description in wartime, these negative, destructive, and criminal behaviors can also be employed in everyday interactions with others.¬† And, in general, it is incorrect for men to believe that just because a woman does not “protest” something, does not mean she “agrees” with it.¬† This is because many women have learned that the more they protest something, the greater and more intense and severe the wrongs that are committed against them.

Early on in his book, Dr. Hunter provides many positive reasons for military recruits to enlist.¬† To the outside world – the general public and society that has not had experience in or with the military – these reasons appear to be very healthy, beneficial, and helpful reasons for joining the military.¬† Once one becomes a member of the military, however, it’s true nature is often revealed in very negative, traumatic, and criminal ways – with one’s own peers and/or superiors committing sexual attrocities against them; instilling them with injury, fear, and a sense of betrayal; and denying them the health, medical, and mental assistance that is needed for their optimum recovery.

In his book, Honor Betrayed: Sexual Abuse in America’s Military, Dr. Hunter further identifies and shares “reasons” for men’s backlash against women, why they sexually harass women, and why rapists rape women or men.¬† Dr. Hunter also shares that there is an exaggerated and unreasonable¬†fear of homosexuals in the military, and that most men who are heterosexuals are responsible for the greatest amount of sexual harassment.¬† He also states that “heterosexual” men are more likely to rape – a woman or a man – than are homosexuals.¬†

Later in his book, Dr. Hunter further states that the impact of rape¬†seems to be¬†higher on men than on women.¬† In this, he means that the emotional toll of this sex crime appears to be more severe when experienced by men since men generally believe they should be strong enough to ward of their attackers, and that they should be “man” enough to protect themselves, even though they may be handcuffed, restrained, and gang raped by several men in a¬†brutal sexual attack.

Dr. Hunter provides a chart that lists and identifies the effects of rape and sexual assault.  Incredibly, the military courts generally do not convict those members of the military who have committed sex crimes, providing them with a clean record when they leave military service and re-enter civilian life.  For those sex offenders in the military who are convicted of rape, their sentences generally amount to only a few months in jail.  When men think and act aggressively and violently with their penises rather than rationally and respectfully with their brains, such a travesty of justice appears to be common in the military regarding military sex offenders.

For these and other reasons, there are women in the military who encourage other women not to report being raped, gang raped, sexually assaulted, sexually abused, and/or sexually harassed.  It would therefore appear that sex crimes are the norm in the military, and that most sex offenders in the military get away with their crimes, only to commit them again, and perhaps with greater severity in the future, to potentially include the death of their victims.

Dr. Hunter reports that nearly all of those who rape others generally have no problem with what they have done.  And, in fact, the rapists feel good about having raped another person, despite the damage, injury, fear, and/or even death caused to their victims! 

The organizational culture of the military and attitudes of many military personnel, Dr. Hunter believes, are responsible for the tolerance and acceptance of, and lack of seriousness toward sex crimes that occur in the military, between members of the military.  Such a culture goes far beyond sexual harassment, sexual objectificiation, homophobia, and hazing, to include the encouragement and acceptance of institutionalized sexual violence and aggression by military members toward other military members. 

Such an institutionalized, organizational culture that is desensitized toward respecting the physical and sexual rights of others, including it’s own, has also indirectly led to the deaths of female servicewomen.¬† An example of this is reflected in a situation in which female servicewomen would not leave their tents to use restroom facilities while stationed in the Middle East due to fears of being raped by their own “comrades,” contributing to their deaths from dehydration in 120 degree F or higher heat during sleep.

The end of Dr. Hunter’s book spotlights military members experiences with having been sexually abused and/or assaulted, and the effects such sex crimes have had in their lives.¬† Several military veterans share heart-wrenching, extremely painful, and agonizing stories of their experiences.¬† One veteran shared a statement of fearing comrades more than the enemy in war.¬† Another grapples with being able to forgive himself for having been sexually assaulted, in order to move on in his life in a more healthy manner, mentally.¬† The assumption that can be made upon reading all of the survivors’ stories is that anything goes in the American military because most military sex offenders can and do get away with their crimes.

Honor Betrayed: Sexual Abuse in America’s Military, by Dr. Mic Hunter is a wonderfully ground-breaking and extensive work on the problem of sexual harassment, sexual abuse, and sexual assault within the military of the United States.¬† Dr. Hunter’s approximately 35 years of experience as a psychotherapist, primarily treating individuals who have addictions and/or who have experienced sex crimes, contribute to making him an authority on sexual assault, sexual abuse, and sexual harassment, including that which occurs within the military since he has treated¬†many veterans who are clients coming to him for assistance and support regarding their experiences.¬†

Dr. Hunter’s book is an amazing, well-written, and beneficial resource for all those who are coping with the effects of sex crimes, for those who are supporting others who have experienced sex crimes, for those who are interested in military history, and for all those who are considering military enlistment.¬† I recommend Honor Betrayed: Sexual Abuse in America’s Military, by Dr. Mic Hunter, highly and without reservation as another of his must-read works regarding sexual trauma.

Reference

Hunter, M. (2007).¬† Honor Betrayed: Sexual Abuse in America’s Military.¬† Barricade Books: Fort Lee, New Jersey.

Book Review of “Conscious Contact: The Twelve Steps as Prayer” (Dr. Mic Hunter); Review and Personal Reflections by: Michele Babcock-Nice

Book Review of:

Conscious Contact: The Twelve Steps as Prayer (Dr. Mic Hunter)

Book Review and Personal Reflections by: Michele Babcock-Nice

In his new book, Conscious Contact: The Twelve Steps as Prayer, Dr. Mic Hunter¬†reveals to¬†readers¬†an inspirational spiritual awakening in his guidance for utilizing the Twelve Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous in daily prayers for building strength of character, spiritual development, and resistance to vices present in our lives.¬† Dr. Hunter’s nearly¬†thirty-five years of working with those who have addictions provides both professional and personal meaning, significance, and experience¬†to the writings he offers in his book.¬†

Dr. Hunter’s insights and expansion on the Twelve Steps as prayers offer everyone – not only those who may be struggling and/or recovering from addictions – to mentally, spiritually, emotionally, and physically¬†benefit from being both “in touch” and honest with themselves, others, and God.¬† Though I have personally not been afflicted with addictions to alcohol or drugs, I recognize that I am fallible due to my mere existence and humanity; and therefore, Dr. Hunter’s writing has personal and spiritual meaning for me in a manner that guides and leads me into a closer and more intimate relationship with God, myself, and others.

Dr. Hunter first begins his book by listing Alcoholics’ Anonymous’ Twelve Steps, as well as an adapted version of the Steps.¬† The Steps provide the basis and foundation for his book, leading the reader to focus on one’s own needs, desires, defects, and spirituality.¬† Dr. Hunter’s book is directly meant for those who are truly commited to making positive change in their lives, and can be utilized for a wide variety of reasons.

Throughout the next several chapters and versions of prayers in his book, Dr. Hunter writes insightfully and provides the reader much guidance and examples in using models and examples of prayers, as well as in developing and shaping them for one’s own personal use.¬† Dr. Hunter continually calls the reader to contemplate and recognize certain overall beliefs that we may hold about ourselves, as well as the fact that practicing and performing rituals – such as attending church, for example – may become insignificant, ineffective, or boring without the addition to them of things that have personal meaning – such as prayers that directly reflect our own personal ideas, requests, or needs.¬†

This is definitely as aspect of religion to which I can relate, particularly since I regularly attend church and participate in the same rituals week after week, month after month, and year after year.  Of course, there is nothing wrong with those rituals and I maintain a respect and appreciation for them, however, after forty years, they have, indeed, lost their impact on me to a great extent. 

In any absence of the opportunities to more personally and intimately participate in my church worship celebrations, the religious rituals designed to give thanks to the Creator have become empty and hollow.  As a result, I have personally recognized my robotic, obligatory, and expected responses and actions to them.  These feelings and actions, have therefore caused me to seek increased participation in my church services and activities, in which I regularly read, serve Eucharist, sing, or participate in other ways, such as in the instruction of children.

Praying Holy Child Figurine

Importantly, Dr. Hunters calls the reader to engage in prayers that will assist him or her in becoming a better person and in being victorious over his or her addictions.¬† Dr. Hunter also correctly observes that, while people do pray, they may not often take the time to listen to and perform the will for them of the Creator.¬† I was also importantly reminded of that while reading Dr. Hunter’s book.¬†

In developing one’s prayers, Dr. Hunter recommends his method of asking and answering several questions that he developed.¬† The questions include:”Is the focus on my behavior?; Is it simple?; Is it something I can do now or soon?; Does it align with my principles?; Would I be comfortable telling others?; [and] Do I have a sense of peace when I think about it?”¬†(p.33).Dr. Hunter then goes into more detail about his questions by assisting the reader with formulating answers to the questions, as well as developing them into prayers.¬†

Within the Twelve Steps is information intended for people to personally apply to themselves regarding recognizing the existence of the Higher Power; asking for God to remove their faults; being honest about themselves, their character, and their flaws; being open to the care and guidance of others; asking forgiveness for those whom they may have harmed in some way; continually taking a personal inventory of our character and actions; improving our spiritual connection with God; and reaching a spiritual awakening through the practice of the Steps.  

Dr. Hunter shares examples of formulated prayers, both in general and those more personally-related, that include the aims and goals of each of the Twelve Steps.  Thus, the reader is both provided with the groundwork for using the prayers, given general models to begin practicing, and later, encouraged to more personally and intimately relate the prayers to his or her own needs and reflections. 

Of significance and addressed in his book, Dr. Hunter recognizes that we, as people, are human and have fallibilities.¬† He also recognizes that those strengths and weaknesses make us who we are.¬† In those individuals who are recovering addicts, Dr. Hunter addresses how he believes people should recognize their weakness and continue onward toward recovery should they experience a relapse.¬† It is important, therefore, for people to recognize that there is fallibility in our humanity – that’s what makes us human.¬† Not to recognize it is a danger, as is being too harsh or critical on ourselves for our mistakes, faults, and errors.¬†¬†

To quote Dr. Hunter regarding relapse in his book, he states:”I have always thought there ought to be a word to describe a relapse that leads to improved recovery.¬† A word that indicates something valuable has been learned that makes future relapse less likely.¬† However, far too many people don’t learn from their relapse; either they don’t take the slip seriously and continue on as they had before, changing nothing, somehow expecting that another relapse won’t happen, or they take it far too seriously and are so hard on themselves for having relapsed that their guilt and shame drives them into a binge” (p. 81).¬†

Of further importance throughout the next two pages of his book, Dr. Hunter describes the manner by which people may grow and develop in their humanity, character, and spirituality, becoming better and more compassionate individuals.  He writes that through our weakness, grief, injury, and/or pain, we have opportunities to grow into people who are stronger and more caring and compassionate toward ourselves and others.  Dr. Hunter also identifies within those pages the needs that we have of God, as well as the hopes, feelings, and actions that we offer to God.  

As an individual who has taken inventory of my own character flaws and about what I would like to change and improve, pages 82-83 of Dr. Hunter’s book are those that most “spoke” to me, personally.¬† Throughout our lives, everyone experiences good, mediocre, bad, and even tragic situations.¬† Each of those situations is an opportunity for us to increase our spirituality, become better people, reach out to God and others for guidance and assistance, provide leadership and confidence, and be open to God’s will in our lives.¬†¬†

In my own life, Dr. Hunter’s book pertains directly to me because I can relate and utilize his writings and developed prayers toward my own faults, including the desire for too much materialism, too little healthy eating and exercise, wanting my own way, being too independent, not being open enough to or trusting of others (but this is also exercised with caution), negative thinking and worrying, having unrealistic expectations,¬†and other flaws.¬† Dr. Hunter’s book, Conscious Contact: The Twelve Steps as Prayer, thus, has personal and spiritual meaning to me because I can insert my own fallibilities, needs, and shortcomings into the prayers provided.¬†¬†

Dr. Hunter’s book has given me a much-needed spiritual jolt in my general daily prayers, previous to which I had often given up due to their lack of meaning and eventual belief that little or no good was accomplished from them.¬† Though I do believe that prayer is helpful, over the years, it had just lost so much personal significance for me, causing me to give up hope that such meaning would ever be re-introduced.¬†¬†

Conscious Contact: The Twelve Steps as Prayer is another of Dr. Hunter’s books that I will keep closely at hand, referring to it regularly in the redevelopment and enhancement of my own spiritual life and personal daily prayers.¬† Thus again, Dr. Hunter’s book has provided me with needed rejuvenation and revitalization in my own faith, prayers, and spiritual life.¬† More importantly for me, by sharing about his own humanity, Dr. Hunter¬†has again renewed my faith in others, showing me that there are those in our world who truly care about the needs, feelings, and lives of others.¬†

Whether you are a person who is recovering from an addiction, or an individual who is seeking to re-energize your spirituality, Conscious Contact: The Twelve Steps as Prayer is another of Dr. Hunter’s must-reads!¬† Dr. Hunter has proven, yet again, that truly being “in-touch” with one’s inner self is the key to being in conscious contact with God, themself, and others.¬†¬†¬†

Source 

Hunter, M. (2012).  Conscious Contact: The Twelve Steps as Prayer.  Charleston, South Carolina: Mic Hunter.