Today, in a hearing on Capitol Hill, lawmakers grilled the top brass of each branch of the military regarding the alleged problem of sexual assault in the military. While I don’t deny that sexual assaults do occur in to our people in uniform, the recent figure being thrown around of 26,000 occurring last year is suspect. First of all, this figure was arrived at through an anonymous survey and constituted less than two percent of active duty military members. The actual numbers reported are less than 3,400, and those who actually were disciplined in some form were around 1,100.
What also gets lost in the translation is that a significant level of these alleged sexual assaults involves male victims. Another missing fact is that alleged sexual assaults involving military members don’t always occur on military bases, thus subjecting the local authorities’ primary responsibility for the investigation. The definition of sexual assault in the Uniform Code of Military Justice includes everything from rape to unwanted fondling. Again, the decision is that of the victim to make. Just as in the recent example of the Department of Education’s definition of what constitutes sexual harassment, the definitions keep getting expanded.
New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand has proposed a bill that would effectively remove commanding officers from the decision making process, and turn over this responsibility to the Judge Advocate with additional civilian participation. She made a claim to Fox News how traumatizing it is for females to have to salute their attackers. That would be true if it actually happened. Please Ms. Gillibrand; give me one, just one example.
It is standard military policy in any sexual assault that the alleged victim is removed from that unit, and usually is moved to a different base altogether — in most cases to a base near their home of record. So Ms. Gillibrand’s claim of this part of the process simply does not exist. It might behoove her to actually learn of this policy before spewing this nonsense.
In a recent military.com survey of 53,000 Camp Pendleton Marines revealed that one of their primary concerns of bringing women into the combat ranks is being falsely accused of some type of sexual assault or sexual harassment. Of the many in the military with whom I served and who currently serve, many state that they refuse to work with or be placed in a scenario with a female member of the military, where they might be alone and where the possibility of a false allegation might occur.
Check the websites of any military base, and there are scores of resources for sex assault victims. Some bases even list that victims don’t have to report incidents to commanders; they can have an advocate do it for them. There are specially trained military police, investigators, medical facilities, religious support, advocates of various types, response coordinators, and virtually every type of resource that can be thought of.
Evans Georgia Attorney Michael Waddington, who specializes in military criminal defense cases, states on his website that of all cases he has defended sexual assault cases are the ones that the military goes all out to convict, regardless of evidence or validity. Politically correct commanders, when faced with a he-said she-said case, simply send the case to the Judge Advocate for court martial, not wanting to fall into that pit and being labeled some type of enabler. I am not going to claim that the system is entirely foolproof; mistakes happen, bad decisions are made, and we will have examples of bad judgment. But for the legislators in today’s hearing to make blanket statements like they did is simply wrong and another example of pandering to extremist feminist dogma.
Here is another little fact that gets lost in this discussion and that is the false allegation. It is common knowledge among the “ground pounders” that the easiest way for a female to get out of being deployed, or to get out of a deployment area is to make a claim of sexual assault. Ask any rank and file guy; especially those who have been deployed in combat zones like Iraq and Afghanistan.
The experiences they will report to you are backed up by the facts. The Washington Times recently reported that the increase in false accusations is now outpacing the increase in reported sexual assaults in the military.
Another reason for the filing of false sexual assault claims is the problem of fraternization and adultery. Recently, militarycorruption.com reported on a female non-commissioned officer at Camp Pendleton who had an affair with a male non-commissioned officer, while her warrant officer husband was away. Well her husband found out about the affair, turned his wife in, and she resorted to making a claim of sexual assault. When her story began to unravel, she attempted to impede the investigation, lied to investigators and other transgressions, and was found guilty but received a slap on the wrist for punishment.
The male non-com was cleared as it was proved that he did not know the female was married and cooperated fully with all parts of the investigation. In this case, the false allegation was discovered and the false accuser punished, but the weakness of the punishment will only invite more incidents of the same.
Some time back there was a national hysteria about the prevalence about rape at the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. Congress got involved and screamed and yelled and demanded changes and all kinds of accountability. The way Congress made it sound was that every Air Force cadet was drooling and lurking in the bushes with a butcher knife, leaping at the first female who walked by. A Congressionally ordered 2004 Air Force Office of Inspector General investigation was launched and of 142 incidents reported over 10 years between 1993 and 2003, revealed that not one claim of sexual assault was intentionally mishandled. All were investigated properly.
During that inquiry, the Air Force Academy found sufficient evidence to investigate 56 out of those 142 incidents. Of those, six resulted in Courts-Martial with one cadet being acquitted. In about 11 other cases cadets were expelled or received Non-Judicial Punishment (Article 15). This should put to rest the claim the AFA never punished a male cadet for sexual offenses, or intentionally mishandled a claim of sexual assault; and that was a decade ago.
During the course of the Inspector General’s inquiry, many of the alleged victims changed their stories over time and could not be corroborated by witnesses, making prosecution difficult. At least one soaked topless in a hot tub with her alleged rapist after the alleged rape. Others wrote e-mails indicating the sex was consensual. Others when faced with potential lie detector tests recanted or claimed they didn’t remember. The questions that arose suggested that some female cadets may have filed false charges to cover up their own misconduct, to manipulate cadets or to leave the Academy without having to pay for their Ivy League education.
One member of a Board of Regents of a California university, and an attorney who wished to remain anonymous spoke about the issue of false claims of sexual assault on college campuses. In some cases, part of the recovery process involves offers by the university to pay for the alleged victims tuition and expenses. He indicated that this expenditure is discussed routinely at all colleges across the country in the context of finances and budgeting concerns. He also indicated that false claims of sexual assault are being more commonly used, and in subsequent claims by victims against the school, a free tuition is part of the settlement package.
Neither I nor anyone else I know is going to deny that sexual assaults in the military do occur. When actual assaults occur and the evidence is present, then the appropriate measures are to taken, and the appropriate punishment is levied. By all accounts, that is what has been happening and what continues to happen. In the times that it doesn’t, it is rare, not common.
What we are seeing; just as in the scenario of the whole rape hysteria at the Air Force Academy more than a decade ago is another hysteria, using controversial statistics, and claiming that there is an epidemic, and that the brass is sitting on their hands. Senator Gillibrand’s assertion that a rape victim has to salute her attacker is just plain false. Any alleged victim is immediately removed from the unit and usually the base. In a combat deployment area, female victims are always, and sometimes males are immediately removed from the deployment area. Females are usually deployed back to a base near their home, and males are usually deployed back to their original unit. There may be exceptions based on the circumstances.
We also forget that a great many of the victims are male. Also missing are the numbers of female perpetrators. And of course with the expanded definitions of what constitutes a sexual assault, and the incidence of false allegations, what is the actual number?
There are approximately 1.3 million active duty military members. Even if we use this fantasy figure of 26,000 sexual assaults, that constitutes a .02 percentage of the military population. If we go by the actual reported incidents of approximately 3,400, then that drops to .0026 percentage of the military population. And if we figure in the actual number of disciplinary actions of approximately 1,100, that number drops again to .000084 percent of the military population. These are hardly numbers that justify hysteria and a drastic change in policy and drastic reduction of morale.
I watched some of the hearings today, but had to turn it off when I had to listen to this drivel by legislators with comments like “it’s not about sex, it’s about power and dominance,” “women have to salute their attackers” and the entire line of agitprop about hormones and testosterone.
Well folks, I want our fighting men, our combat troops, our warriors, our brave who are willing to go out there putting their lives on the line to have that level of hormones and testosterone to kick ass and take names against those who want to do our country harm; those who want to kill us. I want them to have whatever it takes to survive that environment and return home safe to their families.
Rather than having know-nothing feminists legislators (male and female) spewing all kinds of anonymous statistics and proposing legislation to remove commanders from these important decisions, they should get realistic and remind the troops that although we will not tolerate sexual assaults, we will not become so blind or politicized in that pursuit that we trample on rights, violate constitutional protections and forsake due process as outlined in the Constitution; that little piece of paper for which our soldiers now stand ready to give their lives.