The Twist in the Rise of Military Sexual Assaults

It was September 2011, when President Obama ended “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” in the U.S. military, thus allowing homosexuals to serve openly in uniform. Obama claimed the 18-year-old law forced ‘gay and lesbian’ service members to “lie about who they are.”

At the time, there were questions about whether disciplinary rules would be adequate to deal with any future instances of harassment in the ranks. Professor Michael Corgan of Boston University and U.S. Naval Academy graduate, claimed the problem would come down to a matter of leadership.

“Discipline problems that might arise from gays serving with an overwhelmingly straight population in the military should be able to be handled the way any other disciplinary problems are, if commanders are up to their jobs,” Corgan said.

He couldn’t have been more right.

Recently, Defense Secretary Ashton Carter told a group of ROTC cadets that sexual assault is a “particular challenge and a particular disgrace” to the U.S. military. He noted that last year, far more men than women “experienced unwanted sexual contact.”

“Last year, we estimated that at least 18,900 service members — 10,400 men and 8,500 women — experienced unwanted sexual contact.”

Carter added that “too few” men report the incidents as sexual assault.

They fail to report it as ‘sexual assault’ because not even Secretary of Defense Carter can find the courage to call it what it is – sexual assault. Instead he uses the politically correct term ‘unwanted sexual contact,’ effectively tying commander’s hands when meting out discipline.

Carter also claimed that dirty jokes are among the military behaviors that need to be corrected to stop sexual assault in the ranks.

“Our military is based on an ethos of honor, and this is dishonorable,” Carter said. “And second, we’re based on trust. We have to have trust.”

Dirty jokes are not the problem. The problem comes down to the fact that Department of Defense Directive 1332.14 which deals with homosexual conduct, and Article 125 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice which talks about sodomy, aren’t being applied anymore.

As Elaine Donnelly, president of the Center for Military Readiness, points out: “The increases do seem to coincide with repeal of the law regarding gays in the military in 2010. It went into effect about 18 months after that, and that’s when the numbers started to go up.”

This is what happens when the Commander-in-Chief of the U.S. military leads from behind.

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