By Debbie Gregory.
Former Marine Sgt. Erin Kirk-Cuomo is a woman on a mission. One of the co-founders of Not In My Marine Corps, a support group for women who’ve been harassed while serving their country, Kirk-Cuomo is waging war against military revenge porn sites.
First in her crosshairs was “Blame Marines United (Non-Butthurt Edition)” a Facebook group that had been sharing revenge porn images complete with a link to an online Dropbox folder titled “Hoes Hoin.” The Dropbox folder contained more than 260 explicit pictures of women and their dogtags, uniforms, and other identifiable information.
Don’t bother looking for the group on Facebook anymore…they’re gone
And so is access to the Dropbox link to the explicit pictures; the company took it down and and banned it so it cannot be recirculated on Dropbox.
The original Marines United Facebook group, which shared explicit photos of female troops and other women, resulted in a scandal that prompted the Marine Corps and Navy to criminalize posting explicit pictures of people online without their consent.
Marines United counted thousands of active duty and veteran soldiers among its ranks, many of whom also posted highly misogynistic commentary on the social media platform. Some 55 Marines were punished in the ensuing blowback, which also saw top brass hauled in front of the Senate.
Kirk-Cuomo is frustrated that no one at the Defense Department seems to make a priority of finding sites like the latest incarnation of Marines United.
“I have full-time job; I’m a mother; I have my own business – and I still managed to do this in my ‘free time,’” she said.
The former combat photographer, who left the service as a sergeant after nearly five years and multiple tours in Afghanistan and Iraq, thinks that the Marines have the least female-friendly culture among the military branches.
“It’s a problem in retention for females in the Marine Corps and the other services.
Kirk-Cuomo is heartened that Congress is starting to take the welfare of female service members seriously. Post-Marines United, the sentiment is bipartisan, with everyone from Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, Sen. Jodi Ernst and Sen.Ted Cruz having pressed the military to do better.
“This has nothing to do with politics,” Kirk-Cuomo says. “It’s a fact that we need to fix our service and make the Marine Corps more inclusive and show women the respect they deserve.”