Combating Military Rape

Jesse Ellison has the latest on a new lawsuit against the current and previous defense secretaries on behalf of 19 raped servicemembers:

The key problem, the lawsuit says, is "permitting the ‘chain-of-command’ (i.e., a single individual) to control which sexual assault allegations are fully investigated and prosecuted. They have not eliminated the ability of a single officer to prevent a victim from accessing the military’s judicial system. The reality is that this officer may well be a sexual predator himself."

James Kitfield recently explored how military hierarchy and culture create an environment ripe for the nearly 20,000 sexual assaults that happen each year:

The problem of sexual predators in the military has festered for 25 years, [Rep. Jackie] Speier says, and even though Congress holds hearings about each scandal, it always moves on to other issues. "The Pentagon responds much like the Catholic Church—moving people around like shuffling cards in a deck and tinkering at the edges with so-called reforms," she says. More people should be bothered, she argues, by the fact that only 14 percent of victims report these crimes. "We should be troubled that when victims are deposed, they are asked about their sexual histories, as if that were relevant to being raped, and that there are no sentencing guidelines for military juries in sexual-assault and rape cases, where the predators often get slapped with 30 days in jail or demotion in rank, and then it’s business as usual." For that reason, Speier points out, Australia, Canada, and Great Britain have removed these cases from the military chain of command.

Previous Dish coverage here.