Military Leaders Who Turn a Blind Eye to Sexual Assault Don’t Want to Mess with Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand

Schumer,_Gillibrand_and_Menendez_

In 2010, there were approximately 3,200 sexual assaults reported within the U.S. military. As you are shaking your head over that figure, consider this — research suggests that that number represents only 14 percent of the sexual assaults that actually happened in the armed forces that year.

Yet a row of military leaders with all their shining medals and awards decorating their uniforms told a Senate hearing this week that the process in place to address the 19,000 sexual assaults that are believed to have occurred in that one year is designed to “maintain order and discipline.”

One U.S. Senator isn’t buying their story. U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) could barely contain her disbelief or her anger during the testimony as she and others questioned Pentagon officials on the lack of consequences for members of the military who commit sexual assault:

I’m pretty sure Senator Gillibrand almost swore at that row of military men. Using profanity or not, the truly profane aspect is what sparked her ire in the first place –a  report about one particular episode of alleged assault:

“Lt. Col. James Wilkerson, an F-16 pilot rated by his superiors as the ‘best of the best,’ is at the center of a storm over sexual assault in the military. …

“As a trial record provided by Air Force Times shows, Wilkerson was convicted of groping a 49-year-old woman last year at Aviano Air Base in Italy. He was sentenced to one year in prison and dismissed from the Air Force.”

Wilkerson’s commanding general overturned the verdict, claiming that the evidence didn’t prove Wilkerson guilty beyond a reasonable doubt.

U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) is working on legislation to be introduced that would make it more difficult for military jury verdicts in cases like these to be reversed unilaterally, as happened in the Wilkerson case. While it is a positive move for victims of sexual assault that there are elected officials on Capitol Hill willing to take this problem seriously, it’s even more refreshing to see at least one person get visibly angry at the response by the military that they are, in essence, just following rules and doing the best that they can.

Why I Wrote “Trumping And Drinking”
Get Over Yourselves. We’re All Rory Gilmore
Hillary Clinton, Shake It Off, Taylor Swift, Hillary Clinton Campaign song
Six Reasons “Shake It Off” Should Be Hillary Clinton’s Campaign Theme Song
Nancy Reagan dies, Just Say No, Ronald Reagan
A Not-So-Positive Ode to Nancy Reagan’s Frothy “Just Say No” Campaign
I Married for Health Insurance
Why I Wrote “Trumping And Drinking”
A Case of Nixonian Deja Vu
Post-Election Munchies: What is Your Grief Snack of Choice?
Why I Wrote “Trumping And Drinking”
A Case of Nixonian Deja Vu
Trump Reality Check, Now with Actual Facts!
Fascism Facts
I Married for Health Insurance
Get Over Yourselves. We’re All Rory Gilmore
Post-Election Munchies: What is Your Grief Snack of Choice?
Women’s Elections Rights in Saudi Arabia: A Token Drop in an Abysmal Bucket & the Plight of Women Under Sharia Law
Maybe It Wasn’t Rape: Emerging Matriarchy and the Altering of Women’s Past Sexual Narratives
Paris attacks, Paris terrorism
Is Paris Burning?
Chinese government and women's reproductive rights, adopting Chinese girls, international adoption
Dear Xi Jinping, I Am Writing to You as an American Mom of a 19-Year-Old Chinese Daughter
The Vital Voice of Hillary Clinton: Part 1
Maybe It Wasn’t Rape: Emerging Matriarchy and the Altering of Women’s Past Sexual Narratives
The Eyes Have It!
Ashley Madison, Jared Fogle, sex, rape, sexual affairs
Ashley Madison vs. Jared Fogle: Rape, Sex and Hacking in America
women's viagra, Viagra, Flibanserin, sexual arousal, women's desire, sex after menopause
That “Little Pink Pill” Isn’t All It’s Cracked Up to Be

Get our new weekly email
Broadly Speaking

featuring our best words for the week + an exclusive longread