My Lai, Sexual Assault and the Black Blouse Girl: Forty-Five Years Later, One of America’s Most Iconic Photos Hides Truth in Pla
Rape is a Violent Crime. Rape is a Tool of War.
It is a not a misunderstanding, nor a way to procreate.
American Soldiers have proven no different that soldiers everywhere.
To understand why the photo has become generalized, one needs to understand how the role of rape and sexual violence at My Lai has been downplayed and noted only generally, the significance slipping away with the years.
What happened to the Black Blouse Girl was not the only incident of sexual violence that happened at My Lai. In their historical overview of the massacre, James Olson and Randy Roberts compile information about sexual violence from the Peers Inquiry to produce a list of 20 acts of rape based on eyewitness testimony. The victims documented on this list ranged from age 10-45. Of these women and girls, nine were under the age of eighteen. Many of these assaults were gang rapes and many involved sexual torture. This list does not even include attempted rapes, such as the assault of the girl in the black blouse, and given that most witnesses were killed during the massacre, we may only guess at how many other women and girls experienced sexual violence in the final minutes before their deaths.
Despite the prevalence of sexual violence and ample documentation, not one of these rapes was prosecuted, according to Susan Brownmiller, who has written a history of rape and rape laws in U.S. culture. Perhaps the failure to prosecute is one reason that the traditional media has increasingly downplayed or omitted sexual assault at My Lai, mentioning it only in passing or not at all.