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While the entire world is a-buzz with the scandal of CIA Director David Petraeus, one of the largest sex scandals in the history has been largely sidelined- a scandal that envelopes at least eight US commanders and nearly 50 possible victims.
In a recently released report by the Air Force on the scandal at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas, some extremely horrifying and alarming details have emerged. Investigations of at least 25 military training instructors have led to charges against 11, and have also resulted in five convictions, ranging from rape to inappropriate conduct with recruits.
According to Air Force Gen. Edward A. Rice Jr., commander of Air Education and Training Command, “We are committed to doing everything we can to make our basic military training program the world’s finest example of military professionalism.”
Prior to Petraeus and John Allen scandals, the Pentagon had come under fire for what advocates, victims and even members of Congress have termed as a ‘culture of impunity and an epidemic of sexual military assault’.
Critics said that they were concerned that the Lackland scandal, like others before it would yield little accountability for the accused and little justice for victims. Anu Bhagwati, executive director of Service Women’s Action Network and a former Marine Corps captain, in a statement said, “The military far too often retaliates against victims and fails to hold perpetrators accountable.”
On the flip side, objections are already being raised on the report with Rep. Jackie Speier, who serves on the House Oversight and Government Reform and Armed Services committees in an email said that the report by Air Force was incomplete since the victims who have stepped forward were not interviewed.
So far, as many as one in three servicewomen have been sexually assaulted. In the year 2010 the Pentagon estimated over 19,000 cases of assault. The looming gravity of the situation demands urgent and timely attention from military as well as civil establishments to curb any further problems from taking place.