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Military Temporarily Suspends Tuition AssistanceSexual assault is rampant in the military according to a new Pentagon report. The Department of Defense’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office found more than 26,000 instances of sexual assault in 2012, leading to a rise of 6 percent in reported instances. Thousands of instances are unreported though, leaving some of the numbers uncertain.

ThinkProgress reports:

The disparity in the total number of instances of Military Sexual Trauma (MST) compared to those fully reported — where the victim fills out an official report and action is taken — can be seen as being due to victims’ fears of retaliation, including possible discharge from service or being overlooked for a promotion. The new results line up with those seen in a 2011 Pentagon health survey released in April. According to that report, more female service members were willing to come forward about sexual abuse and assault, with roughly one in five women saying they were victims of unwanted sexual contact from another member of the military, but under reporting remains a serious issue.

The rape culture in the military is a microcosm of a more extensive issue permeating other social institutions including colleges, but the United States military is taking a no-tolerance stance on this latest report.

“Sexual assault has no place in the United States military,” Pentagon spokesman George Little said in a statement. He was speaking in response to the arrest of Lt. Col. Jeff Krusinski, the Air Force’s chief of sexual assault prevention. Krusinski was charged with sexual assault.

Little continued. “The American people, including our service members, should expect a culture of absolutely no tolerance for this deplorable behavior that violates not only the law, but basic principles of respect, honor, and dignity in our society and its military.”

ThinkProgress reports high-profile sexual assault scandals are hampering the military’s commitment to this issue.

The government is also moving forward on this issue. President Obama has said he has no tolerance for sexual assault and Secretary of Defense, Chuck Hagel, agrees.

“We’re all outraged and disgusted over these very troubling allegations,” Hagel said in a Pentagon briefing Tuesday.

“We may very well be nearing a stage where the frequency of this crime and the perception there is tolerance of it could very well undermine [the mission],” he continued. “That is unacceptable to me and the leaders of this institution, and it should be unacceptable to anyone associated with the U.S. military.”

Hagel unveiled a strategic plan aiming to combat sexual assault on several levels. The military’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office (SAPRO) hopes to offer solutions that will “enhance commander accountability, improve response to victims and reassess if the military justice system is properly equipped to handle these cases.”

Congress is also attempting to intervene.

Sens. Patty Murray (D-WA) and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH) responded to his decree by introducing the Combat Military Sexual Assault (MSA) Act of 2013.

“It’s inexcusable for us to wait any longer to address this issue and I’m glad this bipartisan legislation is taking meaningful steps to do right by our nation’s heroes,” Murray said in a statement.

The bill will provide all victims a Special Victims’ Counsel to combat post-traumatic stress, move sexual assaults to the general court martial and expand SAPRO’s authority.

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  • Nika

    I personally knew Lt. Col. Jeff Krusinski, when I was in the Air Force. He came across as a decent guy. When I heard of his behavior I was in disbelief.
    I can only imagine now that he was a wolf in sheeps clothing. However, in my 8 year Air Force career, I never felt that there was this huge culture of sexual harassment. I’m a very attractive female and yes, I got hit on, but not once did I feel uncomfortable around my male peers. I will say this though, I joined the military when I was 24. I had already worked in corporate America for 5 years and I knew how to handle jerks of all forms and being in the military didn’t make me afraid of the men. I was head strong and not up for taking BS and it showed.
    I think sexual predators prey on women they perceive as weak and this is often true of younger women who find themselves in the position of being intoxicated and outnumbered by a group of men they previously considered friends. In all the cases I heard about and knew about on a personal level, alcohol was almost always a factor.
    The one thing I miss the most about the military is the comraderie and having people around who I knew had my back. When you surround yourself with good people, they will protect you. My girlfriends and I always made sure we each made it home safely and never allowed each other to leave with strangers. As adults we must be aware of the company we keep. As women, we must be equally aware (beware) of the men we chose to drink around. I had to ask myself a number of times if I should finish that last drink or call it a night. It could be the difference between being too intoxicated to make a sound decision.
    As a former military journalist, I wrote countless articles about the benifits of the Sexual Assault Program knowing full well that it was nothing more than a bandaid on a knife wound. I always thought it strange that these cases were being handled by mostly males who lack the sympathy and compassion required for this type of work. They always attacked the females character and her sexual history was always a factor. I always felt that major crimes should be handled by outside civilian departments with unbiased opinions on each case. In most of the cases I knew about, the female almost always got to the point where the process was too emotionally draining to continue and the guy walked scott free. I feel for these women. But my advice to young military women is to be especially careful of where you go, what you ingest while you’re there and watch who you chose to be around. It could make all the difference.

  • Irv

    USA – from Puritans to Impure-itans

    Is there a connection between beautiful New England and entire American cities turned into smoking rubble? There is.
    Take same-sex marriage. I would have guessed that a “sin” city (San Francisco? Las Vegas?) would have been the first to legalize it.
    Oddly it’s been the place where America started that’s wanted to be the first place to help bring about the end of America and its values! It’s been a Nor’easter of Perversion (helping to fulfill the end time “days of Lot” predicted in Luke 17) that began in (you guessed it) Boston in 2004.
    New England has gone from the Mayflower Compact to the Gay Power Impact, from Providence to decadence, from Bible thumpers to God dumpers, from university to diversity to perversity, and from the land of the Great Awakening to God’s Future Shakening that will make the Boston bombings look like Walden Pond ripples by comparison!
    The same Nor’easter has been spreading south and as far west as Washington State where, after swelling up with pride, Mt. Rainier may wish to celebrate shame-sex marriage by having a blast that Seaddlepated folks can share in lava-land!
    The same Luke 17 prediction is tied to the Book of Revelation which speaks of the cities that God will flatten because of same-sexism – including American cities – a scenario I’ll have to accept since I can’t create my own universe and decree rules for it.
    I’ve just been analyzing the world’s terminal “religion” that has its “god,” its accessories, its “rites,” and even a flag. It’s an obsession that the infected converts are willing to live for, fight for – and even die for!
    Want more facts? Google “God to Same-Sexers: Hurry Up” and “Government-Approved Illegals.”