UPDATE — 3/20, 4:36 p.m. EDT: U.S. Marine Corps commandant, Gen. Robert Neller, issued a new social media policy for the service branch recently that requires members to sign a statement which says he or she has agreed to the updated guidelines.
According to AP, the new rules state that Marine personnel can be prosecuted under the Uniform Code of Military Justice for participating in what constitutes indecent online behavior.
Specifically, the policy defines offensive conduct to include defamation of character, which some Marines allegedly perpetrated by posting nude photos of their female counterparts on a private Facebook page that was recently shut down.
An online nude photo scandal that involves hundreds of U.S. Marines may also touch other branches of the military according to recent reports.
Marines were sharing nude pictures of other female Corps members in an online Facebook group called “Marine United.” The scandal was uncovered by a veteran who now works as an investigative reporter.
Many of the explicit pictures appear to be shared without permission, causing an outcry as to the morality and legally of the shared images. Over 500 users accessed the photos in an online community that was meant to provide support and encouragement for those serving.
In one case, photos found in the group were part of the stalking of one servicewoman. The Naval Criminal Investigative Service has said that over 50 women have come forward and identified themselves as victims after news of the photos went public.
General Robert Neller, head of the Marine Corps, told the Senate Armed Services Committee in a hearing Tuesday he was committed to finding those responsible and correcting the culture that led to the posting of the photos, and subsequent sexist comments.
“We have to commit to get rid of this perversion to our culture. Enough is enough,” Neller said. “We will take action to correct this stain on our Marine Corps.”
Even with the Pentagon’s promised investigation of the scandal, the Senate committee seemed unimpressed with Neller’s declarations. The military has struggled for years to fix a culture of sexism that has resulted in thousands of sexual assault and harassment complaints from women serving in the military.
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) voiced the panel’s collective skepticism.
“This committee has heard these kinds of statements before. It’s hard to believe something is really going to be done,” she said. “Why should we believe it’s going to be different this time than it has in the past?”
With the scandal threatening to spread beyond the Marines, many will look to see what actions newly appointed Defense Secretary James Mattis might take in the wake of these new revelations.
If the Senate committee was any indication, the general public is tired of lots of talk, but little change. For those women serving, cultural reform is the least they deserve.
[NPR] [Military.com] [AP] [Photo courtesy Fairydetox]