I have soldiers from all over the Earth doing their military deployment protecting fledgling human colonies on other planets from aliens. In a way, they're comparable to UN Peacekeepers, in that their a multinational force, deployed to protect civilians, far from their home countries. However, unlike UN Peacekeepers, they are often engaged in active combat, and trained accordingly.


Soldiers raping the civilians they've been sent to protect is the last thing I want. This issue is a major problem with UN Peacekeepers.


What can be done to avoid this? What structural/societal mechanisms would need to be in place for rape (and for that matter other human rights violations) not to happen?

Additional Information

While there are women as well as men serving, due to the physical demands on combatants, there would necessarily be more men than women on a military base. (I am aware of logistics staff, medical staff, etc. Still significantly more men than women. Say 75% men.)

While soldiers would get furloughs on a space station, actual earth visits would be every 18 months. Which would increase detachment from normal society, and exacerbate the problem I'm trying to solve.


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    $\begingroup$ This is a pretty big real life problem. If it could be sorted, realistically, without being broken in some way then I would love to hear it. I'm not sure you'll find a flawless answer here though. $\endgroup$ – Lio Elbammalf Feb 20 '18 at 18:32
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    $\begingroup$ What permits abuse by peacekeepers is general lawlessness of the region that needs to be kept in peace. If your colonies are run tightly like Israeli settlements, opportunities for abuse would be almost non-existent. $\endgroup$ – Alexander Feb 20 '18 at 18:36
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    $\begingroup$ Use eunuchs.... $\endgroup$ – Kilisi Feb 20 '18 at 19:17
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    $\begingroup$ Honestly, what I find interesting is to take these crimes, and look at what kind of action they really are. Then look at what is required to kill as a soldier, and look at what kind of action that really is. Your job will be to split these two kinds of actions as far apart as possible. The more they overlap, the more trouble one must have with such crimes, because the actions always reflect on the internal nature of the actors. $\endgroup$ – Cort Ammon Feb 20 '18 at 19:18
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    $\begingroup$ Teach them about morality and service for the others. Punish harshly those who do not follow the rules. Give them honorary titles, if they are something better, then they would not waste their time with the low lifes. Propaganda. Scare them with STDs. $\endgroup$ – Nuloen The Seeker Feb 20 '18 at 20:38

Expanding on kingledion's answer, we need to ensure that the soldiers come from a cultural setting where rule of law, obedience to orders and discipline (both self imposed and externally imposed) are strongly imbued in the population. Soldiers coming from cultures where rule of law is weak, or discipline is either only imposed from the top or not at all in the absence of the chain of command will likely use their power to take what they want or need.

The other aspect is the military force needs to be a functioning military. Sad to say, many of the third world nations which contribute "troops" to the UN Peacekeeping missions are not sending trained soldiers, and these soldiers are not sent with functioning logistics trains to keep them well supplied in the field, ensure they get paid on time or even ensure treatment of medical issues. For the national leadership, each person they send as a "soldier" to a UN Peacekeeping mission means they receive a sum from the UN. This allowance is supposed to pay the soldiers, but generally goes into someone else's pockets instead.

With the lack of a functioning chain of command or logistical train to support the soldiers, and themselves coming from cultures where it is expected and indeed normal for armed men to come and take what they want, it is hardly surprising the UN Peacekeeping missions of today have devolved into such disasters.

The only true answer is a strong and effective first world military force, where soldiers are properly trained and equipped, and have functioning chains of command, and are culturally imbued from childhood that "might" does not make "right" (and indeed their role is to ensure the lawful use of "might" to oppose the unlawful use of force against the colonists). We are not looking at the UN peacekeepers, but something like the US Marines or contingents of soldiers sent on Peacekeeping roles by nations like Canada, France, the Nordic nations or the UK (among others).

This also leads to another question, why are the nations creating these colonies not sending their own national armed forces to guard the colonies? American colonists will likely be rather perturbed if the US Space Force is not in orbit and US Marines are not guarding the colony, and British colonists will also have the same questions if the Royal Space Force and Royal Marine Commandos are not guarding the British colony (rinse and repeat for whatever nationality you have).


You have aggressive people, with inhibitions against hurting others somewhat removed. Many of them are probably on the higher border or above, when we talk about testosterone levels, as testosterone helps with physical endurance (that's why it is considered doping in sports), and that's one of the things you are looking for in soldiers. You would have really hard time to force them to go without sex for 18 months, or longer because probably no one is waiting for them at home. It is practically impossible — as seen in the real world reports, for example ones linked in question. Sure, many of them can, but not all, and all is what you asked for...

Their female friends are probably just "one of the guys" that don't count, no matter what are regulations. And even if, you don't have nearly enough female soldiers for every male to be sure to get a nookie.

So, no sex is not a viable option and sex in military base isn't one, either. What is left is rape or consensual sex with civilians. To avoid former you need to assure later. What you need is, basically, housing for their girlfriends and wives, and affordable brothels with good looking staff for military personnel without ones. Or just colonist girls really, really wanting to expand gene pools with any male outsider who is willing. Then you will not have a rape problem, but local males may be less than happy and it may increase civilian deaths, so brothels seems less complicated option.

DISCLAIMER Of course not all soldiers will rape when no other opportunities for sex are available. Not most. Not even many. But the fact is, as linked in question, that enough of them, for it to be a problem. And for those OP must find a solution. Sadly, it is impossible to predict who will become rapist before it actually happens, and then it's to late.

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    $\begingroup$ +1 for setting up and directing your soldiers to brothels. It's precisely what the american army did after japan's surrender during the second world war and it worked spectacularly (not perfectly, of course, but indeed very well). $\endgroup$ – AngelPray Feb 20 '18 at 18:48
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    $\begingroup$ This answer is pretty speculative and does a lot of generalizing. Can you back up some of your assumptions with sources? $\endgroup$ – Hans Z Feb 20 '18 at 18:50
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    $\begingroup$ You assume, among other things: 1. higher testoserone makes better soldiers 2. it is impossible to force people to go without sex for 18 months 3. female friends are "one of the guys" and "don't count" 4. "sex in military base" is not a viable option 5. "colonist girls really, really wanting to expand gene pools with any male outsider who is willing" 6. something about increasing civilian deaths $\endgroup$ – Hans Z Feb 20 '18 at 18:54
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    $\begingroup$ @AngelPray: My knowledge of post-war Japan is sparse, but without any aspersions cast my understanding is that the word "worked" needs to be heavily qualified. I'll add that rape, while common, and sometimes tactically deliberate, is not necessarily as universal in warfare as many assume. There are many examples of modern and even premodern people limiting or even prohibiting sexual violence. I'd hazard that rape in war needs to be seen within the local dynamics of power, gender, and grievance. $\endgroup$ – Era Feb 20 '18 at 19:20
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    $\begingroup$ @dot_Sp0T you're making the same assumptions that I'm challenging. Why does testosterone equal "fit and healthy"? Why do you assume high-testosterone people can't control their libidos? These are all classic gender-role biased assumptions that don't hold up under actual scientific scrutiny. $\endgroup$ – Hans Z Feb 20 '18 at 20:20

Culture matters

Not all soldiers commit lots of rape.

The US military releases annual reports on sexual assault. Of 739 reports of sexual assault on non-service members, 186 were actually rape. Of those reports, there were 86 on foreign nationals, and a further 38 that were on 'unclassified' persons. I would assume that most of the unclassifieds happen overseas on deployments, and further that most of the foreign sexual assaults are rape to get reported. There is always the threat of under-reporting, but lets estimate at least 100 rapes carried out by US soldiers abroad.

According to wikipedia, there are 224,641 soldiers stations overseas. This gives a rape rate of 45 per 100,000. Wikipedia has a chart of rape rate by country; rape rate in the us is around 28 per 100,000. Assuming the pool of potential rape commit-ers in the US is the same as the us population, this is number is the rate of rape perpetrators, an apples-to-apples comparison with our calculated military rape rate.

While the rape rate per solider is high compared to national averages, it isn't necessarily that high compared to other people of the same age group. Its hard to find data on perpetrators based on their age, but it is easier to find data on victims. According to the Department of Justice, there were 31,302 student victims of rape, on average, per year from 1995 to 2013, aged 18-24. There are currently 8.9 million male college students in the US; if you assume that only the male students commit those 31,302 rapes, that gives you a rape rate of 352 per 100,000.


US college students are something like an order of magnitude more likely to rape someone than US troops stationed overseas. Your mileage may vary on the acceptable amount of rape, but it can generally be seen that if the troops are well trained and with high morale, and come from a culture that isn't accepting of rape, then they probably won't commit that many rapes.

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    $\begingroup$ Generally countries, like the US, with strong judicial laws, and strict military discipline are less prone to having soldiers committing rape, murder and other crimes. In the last two decades most of the UN peace keepers have came from countries with weaker law enforcement, where bribes and nepotism could decide if someone is guilty or not of a crime. The lack of discipline and training definitely shows. $\endgroup$ – Dan Clarke Feb 20 '18 at 19:23
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    $\begingroup$ You basically stated that problem doesn't exist. But it does, as even statistically "normal" levels of rape are disastrous in terms of PR. Also, with all sexual crimes, there is a really hard to judge, but probably quite big, discrepancy between number of crimes and number of reported crimes. It might be even better than usual when one victim has to report to wears the same uniform rapist did, or uniform of allied force... $\endgroup$ – Mołot Feb 20 '18 at 19:25
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    $\begingroup$ @Mołot You can read whatever inference into what I said that you like. But don't accuse me of basically stating something that I don't state explicitly. Please edit your comment to remove that false accusation. The factual point that I demonstrate with data is that US soliders commit fewer rapes than their civilian peers. $\endgroup$ – kingledion Feb 20 '18 at 19:27
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    $\begingroup$ mmmh...while one should agree that the answer to OP's question can not be 'replace all soldiers with students', you should agree that it can also not be 'tell everyone they are lucky the soldiers are not students'...,) $\endgroup$ – t.ry Feb 20 '18 at 19:35
  • $\begingroup$ I didn't "accuse" you of anything other than posting frame challenge that doesn't actually answer the question. OP wants to base his soldiers on the ones that clearly have this issue. You may disagree with me if it is a frame challenge or not, but last time I checked discussing it was perfectly within the scope of community moderation, just as pointing out weaknesses in data was. By the way, you should know by now that comments cease to be editable pretty fast... What's the point in making impossible demands? For me, this is the end of this comment thread. $\endgroup$ – Mołot Feb 20 '18 at 20:11

In Game of Thrones there are a bunch of guys called the Unsullied. Basically they're taken as little boys and their privates are removed. This is very extreme of course, but maybe your future society is kinda effed up this way.

The Unsullied are some of the most fierce warriors in the GoT universe. I assume the thinking there was that if they didn't have "other urges" that they would devote themselves solely to practice and war.

I imagine that a futuristic society might have more humane ways of doing the same. Chemical neutering. Mental conditioning. Its all messed up stuff, but I think you have go extreme to basically get rid off men's "horniness". The majority of us have self control, but not all of us...

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    $\begingroup$ You might want to consider replacing the GoT reference with a description and additional reference to eunuchs which is the common term for the kind of people you try describing. $\endgroup$ – dot_Sp0T Feb 20 '18 at 19:05
  • $\begingroup$ @dot_Sp0T Were the eunuchs typically the most feared warriors in all the land? I feel the GoT reference fits nicely with the OP's war-like plans. $\endgroup$ – Cort Ammon Feb 20 '18 at 19:13
  • $\begingroup$ @CortAmmon then the fact that these Unsullied are warriors, and whatnot would probably make a good addition to the current content of the answers. I had to look up what they were and really just read that they're Eunuchs - I had to look it up again and look closer to understand the reference to warriors. $\endgroup$ – dot_Sp0T Feb 20 '18 at 19:15
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    $\begingroup$ It's worth noting that (especially post-pubertal) castration is not as effective at suppressing sex drive as common sense would have you believe. It can inhibit erectile function, but I strongly suspect that conscripted and castrated (and therefore angry) soldiers can work out another way to sexually brutalize someone. $\endgroup$ – SudoSedWinifred Feb 20 '18 at 19:56
  • $\begingroup$ @dot_Sp0T, I'll amend $\endgroup$ – Len Feb 20 '18 at 20:31

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