Female Marines United
Join us to raise money for Headstrong, which helps provide free mental healthcare for veterans, and to take a stand to end misogyny throughout our military.
On March 4th, Marine Corps Purple Heart recipient and journalist Thomas James Brennan exposed Marines United, a private Facebook group with 30,000 members who used the page to solicit and share over hundreds of nude photographs of female Marines and women of other military services which include both officers and enlisted service members.
The journalist who revealed this story, has since received several threats on his life and the well-being of his wife and daughter.
In addition to more than 2,500 derogatory comments related to sexual assault and rape, the page also identified women by their full name, rank, and where they were stationed. This led to widespread harassment both online and offline, including one woman who was followed and photographed at Camp Lejeune without her acknowledgement.
Membership was limited to male Marines, Navy Corpsmen, and British Royal Marines, who used a private Google Drive created by a Marine veteran to host and distribute the photos. According to the Marine Corps, that Marine has since been fired from the government subcontractor he worked for.
Social media accounts behind the page have been deleted by Facebook and Google at the request of the Marine Corps, and a formal investigation by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service has been launched.
The administrators of the page have not commented and have not been named publicly, but many women have come out and identified themselves as victims of Marines United or similar harassment online.
But we can do more to stand up against this injustice in support of the women who were victimized in the name of their service. Online harassment of this nature isn't new, but there have been many instances when women have felt that they couldn't stand up for themselves or other women, and remained silent.
In response to Marines United and its 30,000 members, with the Female Marines United campaign we can show that there are more people out there who support women in the armed forces and demand respect for all women who have met the standards asked of them in service of their country.
By asking $5 per supporter, we want women who have dealt with issues of online harassment, sexism, and feeling marginalized to know that they are not alone, and that there are men and women in addition to a number of organizations and individuals who support the military, but condemn Marines United and other sites that have dehumanized women in service. By donating more, you show the depth of your support to our cause and your opposition to the conduct of Marines United.
Donations will go to Headstrong, an organization that has been of great service to women in the military and veterans who continue to struggle with mental health issues and the military-to-civilian transition.
We ask that instead of donating as an Anonymous Donor, if you are willing, that you proudly include your name and your connection to the military because we are better than those who choose to remain anonymous and unnamed in their hateful actions.
By identifying yourself, we will understand the true scope of the different types of supporters and organizations that proudly stand by these women and others who have been victimized by online bullying and sexual assault and harassment.
Thank you for your support, your service, and helping us continue to serve.
This campaign is not officially endorsed or sponsored by the United States Marine Corps.
- Washington Post
- New York Times
- Marine Corps Times
Headstrong, founded in 2012 by a combat veteran, provides confidential, cost-free, and frictionless mental health care treatment for post-9/11 veterans that works. In partnership with Weill Cornell Medical College, one of the Nation’s leading mental health care centers, Headstrong developed an effective, individually tailored and comprehensive treatment program for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD); Addiction Treatment; Anxiety & Depression; Trauma, Grief and Loss; and Anger Management, and Military Sexual Trauma. Headstrong currently serves the New York Metro area, San Diego and Riverside County, Houston, Chicago, and Washington, D.C., with plans to expand to Colorado and Washington. To learn more, please visit www.getheadstrong.org
I would like to thank each and every one of you for donating and supporting this campaign. When I first started this venture, I didn't know what to expect. I just knew that when news of the Marines United Facebook group broke out, amongst all the negativity, I wanted to be a positive force.
I had seen so many negative comments on ‘how women should conduct themselves if they wanted to join a boys club’, and how the military should not be a ‘social experiment’ whose strength would weaken with the integration of women.
But I believe differently. And I am not alone.
Next year marks the 100th anniversary of women being eligible to join the Marine Corps, during which time we have gone from strength to strength serving our nation with pride and distinction. In that time, women have earned the right to respect and have proven their effectiveness. I believe that any institution in 2017, military or civilian, must respect women for the contribution they bring to the mission and as fellow human beings.
And I believe America believes this too - in fewer than 100 days, there has been progress:
In early March during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing, congressional representatives on both sides of the aisle spoke out passionately on this issue and want to see appropriate action taken. Calling for respect towards women in uniform is not a partisan issue. Senator Thom Tillis (R -NC) went as far as suggesting the removal of Veterans Benefits for those who are guilty of online misconduct.
In mid-March U.S. Marine Corps Commandant General Robert Neller also released a new social media policy, effectively stating that the Uniform Code of Military Justice can be used to prosecute offensive, indecent, and disrespectful online activities by U.S. Marines.
Then, on April 13th, Foreign Policy published the article, "The Marines United scandal should be seen as a national security issue," written by Marines Jeannette Haynie and Kyleanne Hunter. The article highlights that in order to execute the broad national strategies of the United States, our nation requires a military that reflects the values of our society, and that both men and women have the right to participate in our democracy because America's strength lies in our diversity.
On April 19th, Acting Secretary of the Navy Sean J. Stackley released an interim revision to Navy regulations that effectively criminalizes sharing nude photos of fellow service members without their consent.
On April 21st, Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps General Glenn Walters met with leaders from Veteran Service Organizations at the Pentagon to discuss gender bias and online misconduct. Representatives included Female Marines for Actionable Change, the Women Marines Association, and Not In My Marine Corps. General Walters is leading a 75-person task force to implement immediate and long-term actions to address the root causes of this behavior.
On April 28th, Marine Corps Times reported that over 30 Marines could face punishments for being connected with ongoing investigations into the Marines United scandal. Additionally, NCIS has 20 ongoing investigations into possible felony-related crimes.
Today, we have raised just over $23,000 to assist veterans in receiving cost-free mental health care treatment.
Please continue to raise awareness and share this campaign as we work towards our goal of raising $30,000 – enough to continue to provide confidential, cost-free, and frictionless mental health care treatment in partnership with one of the nation's leading mental health care centers for veterans battling Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Anxiety and Depression, and Military Sexual Trauma.
And tomorrow and in the days following, we will continue to support the actions and organizations that encourage the cultural change needed to end misogyny in our military, and to support those who have sacrificed a part of themselves on behalf of this nation.
Thank you for standing with me, and being a positive force.
My Best Regards,