Sexual assault in the military has been the overflowing pot of hot, boiling water on the stove of America’s socio-political issues. It has been a quietly boiling pot, but since President Obama and New York State Senator Kirsten Gillibrand spoke out on the issue, the pot is whistling.
The Department of Defense has promised reform and organizations such as the Service Women’s Action Network have formed to empower women. There have been numerous special news reports everywhere from ABC to NBC, articles in the New York Times, and even an Oscar-nominated documentary (The Invisible War) on the subject. In fact, I recently wrote an article called “Films highlight the plight of women around the world” for Syracuse University’s Stone Canoe Journal, comparing the documentary The Invisible War with the short film Undesired.
Then the Pentagon reported that in spite of unzipping the lips, sexual assault in the military increased 12 percent in the year 2012. Now whether incidents have increased, or whether reporting has increased has not yet been determined. Still, there have been numerous instances of women reporting a sexual assault and then being forced to resign, being chastised by fellow soldiers, their reports not being taken seriously, and even being assaulted again for telling. Some women have even said that their perpetrators were promoted after the assault OR even worse that the person they were supposed to report assault to was also their rapist.
It’s no secret that the Air Force has had high instances of sexual assault for a long time (just Google it, it’s sick). Just a couple of days ago an Air Force officer in charge of reporting assaults, was arrested for sexual assault.
President Obama is the first president to speak out about this issue, even though it has been going on since women were first allowed to serve in the military. This is a disgrace to our country and our honor, and we must act now. Every soldier is also a civilian.
Here is the full video of the President’s press conference. He talks about sexual assault at the 25:00 point.