“Just last night a woman came to me and said her daughter wanted to join the military and could I give my unqualified support for her doing so. I could not.” – Senator John McCain
FEMALE SENATORS gave military chiefs a harsh tongue lashing in a hearing on the continued sexual assault scandal that permeates the U.S. Armed Forces. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand continues to lead on the push to take the decisions on sexual assault away from the military chain of command, which, yesterday, fell on deaf male ears.
Gillibrand was undaunted, emphasizing that commanders would be removed from the process only for the most serious crimes, such as rape and murder.
She said she agreed with the military chiefs that “the chain of command is essential for setting the climate,” but there is a difference between setting a tone and dealing with serious crime, especially when one of the compounding factors in reporting sexual assault is a lack of trust.
“You have lost the trust of the men and women who rely on you, that you will actually bring justice in these cases,” Gillibrand said. “They’re afraid to report. They think their careers will be over.”
Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Virginia, said 90% of victims who don’t report said they didn’t do so out of fear of retaliation or because they were deterred after witnessing the treatment of other victims who reported sexual assaults.
Gillibrand said there are commanders who are not objective, who don’t want women in the military in the first place, who don’t know the difference between a “slap on the ass and rape.”
Senator Claire McCaskill was unflinching in her criticism.
“It sounds like you all are very bullish on the status quo,” the senator said, calling the status quo “not acceptable.”
Senator Kelly Ayotte called taking the decisions on military assault out of the chain of command was “common sense.”
The female senators, which now number 20 in the U.S. Senate, have done their best to change the dynamic inside the military on sexual assaults, but the old school male protection racket in the military, besides failing on making sexual assault a crime that is punishable, still rules.
The military chiefs disgraced themselves yesterday by submitting that the U.S. military would suffer if sexual predators are held accountable, which is basically what this amounts to, because the military chiefs have failed to do it themselves, as has every SecDef appointed, including Chuck Hagel. The time has long past and they have all lost their moral authority on sexual assaults.