I am a female. I was an Army soldier. I was trained in a lot of things but mostly I was trained the same as men were and alongside of men. I was trained at a time when training women for combat was new for a lot of people. I can handle weapons as easily as a man and in some cases better than most. I have never had to kill but I'm confident if lives depended on it I could even though I'm an old "lady".
As far as sexual assault goes, it was going on then and will continue as long as females and males do not stand up for themselves.
While I was in basic training I had drill sgts who offered to "ease my tension" as they called it. I never had one insist when I said no. I did see a lot of stuff going on that I didn't approve of but for the most part I think it was all consensual. I did notice that a lot of other girls told me if I wanted to get pot I should get put on KP. I never did drugs of any kind and detested KP so that wasn't for me.
Later other things happened that would probably have happened had I been not in the Army or had my ex not been in at the time.
First, when I was at AIT I was a friend to a young male who I later found out was gay. His "friends" grabbed me one night and stuck me head first in a snow bank. I was saved from what might have happened by some Army firemen who saw it happening. Nothing happened to those guys that did that, even though I told my platoon Sgt.
About a year later I was in Colorado and married to another soldier. I had returned from a trip to my parents and was staying in a motel while we hunted for an apartment. One afternoon while my husband was on duty one of his Sgts came to me saying he had a message from my husband. I let him him. He didn't have one. He shoved me on the bed and proceeded to attempt to rape me. I fought back with what I had on hand which was something really dumb sounding when I think back. My husband was a cook and he had brought home in his pocket a meat thermometer with a sharp point. It was on the night stand. I grabbed it and shoved the point into his neck just enough to let him know it was there. I told him calmly that if he didn't get off me immediately it would go in all the way.
I was lucky. He ran out the door screaming at me please don't tell my husband.
My point is that no matter where you are or what you are doing there will always be men who want what they want and its up to women to be prepared for that.
Sexual assaults happen all the time no matter who, no matter where, no matter your job. No woman should let that scare her into not being what ever she wants to be. It's archaic to say or think that we can't do the job a man can because we are afraid of sexual assault. It is our job to be able to take whatever is at hand and defend ourselves.
As for fellow male soldiers wanting to protect fellow female soldiers just because they are female is also an archaic assumption. Perhaps back in WW2 that might have been true. I would like to hope that soldiers of today are better taught their jobs. It is the duty of each soldier to do his assigned task or job and not to worry about coddling another soldier even if that soldier is female. That female soldier is taught her job as well and wouldn't be there in the first place had she not shown she was capable of the task. Nobody held her hand when she was in training and nobody should patting the "little lady" now and saying they will protect her. In most cases she could protect them should the need arise.
When you are a trained soldier you have a job to do. You are fully trained whether you are male of female and that job should come first not protecting the "little lady" cause she might break a nail. Women are a lot tougher than most guys think they are.
I'm going to go polish my nails now. I think I chipped one typing that. Ouu. Someone protect me....