Ashley, a young American woman, decided that she wanted to join the US Navy in 2014. Making such a choice is no small decision. For the next 8 years you place the Department of Defense in charge of your life decisions. That is true even if you only sign a 4 year contract, because the second 4 years you are obligated to inactive service where you must attend muster at a minimum of once a year and then don the uniform again should the military deem you necessary to the mission, despite what may be going on in your life.
That is the sacrifice that Ashley, among a small amount of other citizens in the nation, had decided was for her. So she began doing what any potential recruit would do – getting in shape so that she could pass the physical requirements necessary for basic training. Like any person who trains athletically she was proud of her accomplishments and decided to post a picture on instagram to show what all her hard work had accomplished.
The photo was shared on the facebook page for her local Delayed Entry Program – someone enters the DEP when they have signed the contract but still have to wait an appointed amount of time to enter basic training due to the job they picked, when the schoolhouse is picking up, or just when the recruiter needs to make a quote – which really should have not been a big issue at all.
An active duty sailor threatened to rape her for posting a picture of herself in workout attire. Nicholas Lord is a nuclear electrician in the US Navy, stationed in Washington State – possibly aboard the USS Nimitz. Nicholas is married and apparently his wife also has no problem with him making random rape threats – as she liked his explanation that he posted on his facebook page explaining that he was “just trolling feminist pages.” That’s funny! I don’t recall the Delayed Entry Program being an advocate for anything other than joining the military.
It is no secret the US Military has a huge problem with rape and sexual assault, with the number of sexual assaults in the military hovering around 20,000 annually but only about 4,000 or so reported each year. It’s not just women that are the recipients of these rapes and sexual assaults as 53-56% of the victims are men, the percentage varies depending on the year and the study. This is another glaring example of the problem that the military has and must continue to address.
Fortunately, the outcry from other service members against Mr. Lord was overwhelming condemnation. Many of them researched who he was, where he was stationed, what chain of command he fell under, and within a few short hours after the comment Naval Criminal Investigation Service (NCIS), his chain of command, the Sexual Assault Prevention & Response Coordinator (SAPR), and the HQ and higher levels of the Navy were all notified. The official response from the US Navy is that they are “investigating.”
Depending upon how far the investigation reaches it is unlikely we will know the outcome of this investigation. Since this may not warrant a court martial, depending upon the Commander - as it is his discretion on the matter, this may only result in a Non-Judicial Punishment (NJP). Non-Judicial Punishment is an internal punishment not available for public record.
This does not mean that the NJP is a weak punishment. He may spend up to 60 days on restriction, get a reduction in rank, and lose half pay for 2 months; or receive 45 days restriction, 45 days extra punitive duty, reduction in rank, and 2 months half pay. Those are the two harshest scenarios he will be facing under NJP. However, that doesn’t mean an NJP will be that severe. They could NJP the Sailor while waiving all the punishments – so that the NJP remains on his record, but he has to serve no time for any of his actions. It all depends upon the Commander.
If he is Court Martialed then all the aspects of the case will be available for public record.
The question is – what punishment does someone who threatens rape in an environment like the military deserve? What precedent does this set? Especially when it’s to a current civilian who is about to join the same branch of service that he is in.
Yes, Ashley, I agree with you. What this man did is not representative of all in uniform. A parade of uniformed personnel stood up and found every legal means possible to report him for his actions. Let’s hope that corrective action is taken.