NOW pickets Bartlett's office

May 18, 1997


Staff writer

Carrying signs saying "Segregate rapists, not military women," and "Stop the war on women," nearly 20 members of the local National Organization of Women chapter picketed the office of U.S. Rep. Roscoe Bartlett, R-Md. in Hagerstown Saturday, protesting his stand against coed military training.

Beverly Kipe, president of the local NOW group, said the protesters were responding Bartlett's recent introduction of a bill that would ban mixed-sex training . The bill was filed in the wake of a series of rapes and sexual assaults against women recruits by the drill instructors at Army training bases.

"It's blaming the victim," Kipe said. "Just because a woman is raped does not mean that women should be separated from men. Men have to be responsible for their own actions."


The time of segregating men from women in the military is over, Kipe said. "Women want equal rights and opportunities, even in combat," she said.

Bartlett, who has said that mixed training would create a catastrophe for the military, could not be reached for comment Saturday.

Kipe said she didn't know what if any effect the protest will have. "One little protest may not make a difference, but if it gets enough people talking it will. It was just a drop in the bucket, but it takes drops to fill a bucket," she said.

She said most passersby supported the pickets. "A few gave us negative gestures," she said.

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