Thu11272014

Last updateMon, 27 Nov 2017 12am

   201411metrocastweb

A breach of trust - Sexual assault in the military

Not too long ago, a friend of mine told me that his daughter wanted to join the military. She hadn’t decided on a branch of the service, at least not yet, but his quandary wasn’t in advising his daughter about whether to choose the Navy over the Army or to suggest the Air Force or the Marines.

No, his concern was whether or not to advise the military as a career choice at all. He didn’t have any qualms about military service. He is a retired officer. No, his concern was about her safety. Not from an enemy or from hazardous duty but, rather from within the ranks. The numbers are startling. No, they’re worse than that. They represent a national crisis. Last year there were 26,000 charges or complaints of sexual assaults in the U.S. Military. They range from attacks during training, in the field, and even in office situations. It’s a scandal, it’s a major breakdown in military discipline, and it’s disgraceful, but the U.S. Military has failed utterly to address the problem.

In some respects what’s going on in the U.S. military with regard to sexual assault bears a startling resemblance to the Catholic Churches long standing cover-up of child abuse by priests. Like the church the U.S. military, from its smallest commands to the Pentagon, has done its best to put a lid on this issue.

Perpetrators are sometimes transferred, or quietly discharged, before charges can be made. Complainants are reminded that filing charges will be bad for their careers. And commanders, knowing that having sexual assault charges on-going in their command could hurt their careers as well, have often done their best to quash the cases.

The numbers tell a powerful story. But the personal stories, both here at home, in training, and in far off service in Afghanistan and Iraq, are the most compelling. They represent a sort of moral bankruptcy that could well undermine our nation’s military and our national security. Sexual assault has become common. The military has done its best to play down the issue. In hearings before Congressional Committees uniformed witnesses have claimed that the numbers aren’t as bad as they seem and that many charges aren’t valid. But, it’s hard to get away from the sheer volume of complaints. Even if only half were true, it would still be a shocking number. When pushed into a corner, the Pentagon senior leadership is more contrite. They will readily agree with an angry Member of Congress that it is a national crisis at which point they commit themselves to a zero tolerance policy. What happens next is a little action, but not much, and something the Pentagon just loves, new databases to better understand the problem. In the meantime, the sexual assaults on women service members continue.

Something has to change and it has to change soon. A bill being considered in the Senate that may help is sponsored by Senator Kirstine Gillibrand of New York. It’s simple enough. It refers a sexual assault victim to a special legal officer outside her present command. This takes the issue out of the hands of the local commander and gives it an independent airing. Sounds fair enough, but that hasn’t been the reaction of the military. They feel it violates the sanctity of the chain-of-command and undermines discipline. Well, if the chain-of-command was working and discipline maintained, then none of this would be necessary. The bill has a host of bi-partisan supporters, including Senator Rand Paul, but also has its bi-partisan opponents. It probably won’t become law. The House is likely to oppose it, and so far, the President hasn’t offered his support either. But it may pass the Senate, and fear that if change doesn’t occur within, it will then be forced on them, may encourage the military leadership to do more about this crisis.

In years past, I would have enthusiastically supported the idea that young women should consider the service as their career. Now, or at least until this problem is properly dealt with, I am not so sure.
You may reach David Kerr at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

narfe

Contact Lori Deem

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

540-709-7495 • 540-775-2024


 

Quikey

Bulletline


 

Balloon House


 link4

Wedding invitations and other announcements

201410chamber

201410getaway

 

201409pr

Contact Us

The Journal Press, Inc. P. O. Box 409, 10250 Kings Hwy. King George, VA 22485

EDITORIAL
Robert Berczuk
540-775-2024 Main

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

REPORTING
Leonard Banks
540-469-4196

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Phyllis Cook
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Linda Farneth
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Richard Leggitt
540-993-7460
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

PRODUCTION
Drue Murray
540-709-7288
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Leonard Banks
540-469-4196

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

ADVERTISING
Tanya M
540-775-2024 Main
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

ADVERTISING SALES
Charlene Franks
540-709-7075
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Carla Gutridge
540-709-7061
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Dennis Verdak
540-709-7076
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

COMMERCIAL PRINTING & SALES
Lori Deem, Print Shop
540-709-7495
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Tanya M.
540-775-2024 (Main)
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

OFFICE
Jessica Herrink
540-775-2024 (main)

540-469-4031
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Robert Berczuk
540-775-2024
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Drue Murray
540-709-7288
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

SUBSCRIPTIONS
Bonnie Gouvisis

540-775-2024
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

COMMUNITY &
CHURCH DIRECTORY

Lori Deem
540-709-7495
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

PUBLIC NOTICES
& LEGALS

Charle Franks
540-709-7075
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.