Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) is at war with the culture in the military that allows for tens of thousands of sexual assaults to occur within the military and go unreported in a single year. She tore into military officials at a Senate hearing on this issue.
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) is at war with the culture in the military that allows for tens of thousands of sexual assaults to occur within the military and go unreported in a single year. She tore into military officials at a Senate hearing on this issue:
“This is a regard in which there is clearly insufficient training, insufficient understanding,” Gillibrand said. “If the man in charge for the Air Force of preventing sexual assault is being alleged to have committed a sexual assault this weekend, obviously there is a failing in training and understanding of what sexual assault is and how corrosive and damaging it is to good order and discipline — and how it is undermining the credibility of the greatest military force in the world. This is not good enough.”
The military, for their part, is not handling this situation with grace. Air Force Chief of Staff Mark
Welch spoke about the sexual assault issue and blamed it on, not the chain of command system, not a pervasive culture of sexism, not the stigma associated with reporting a sexual assault, Welch blamed the epidemic of sexual assaults in the military on...high school hookup culture. He also managed to awkwardly out his own kids.
"Some of it is the hookup culture in junior high and even high school which my children could tell you about...from watching their friends."
If your neural circuits are struggling to draw a line between teenagers making out and sexual assaults in the military, don't bother. There is none. The only thing we learned from Mark Welch in his little speech there is that he is uncomfortable with his kids getting it on with other people. This was not lost on Gillibrand, who expressed her outrage to Andrea Mitchell on her show on MSNBC:
"To attribute sexual assault in the military to hookup culture in high school is beyond belief that those statements were just uttered. We're talking about violent crimes...this is not a date gone badly."
The military has likely allowed this abhorrent behavior for years without much scrutiny. Thankfully that is changing, and not a moment too soon.