Military Sex Assault Stories Overwhelm Today’s News

Kelley Beaucar Vlahos, May 07, 2013

The sex assault problem in the military is turning out to be a poison that has infected every branch, and it just seems to be getting worse as more women enlist and rise through the ranks. Just when military women were celebrating the successful storming of the citadel and into the infantry, armor and artillery ranks, the Department of Defense announces that the estimated number of sex assaults are higher than ever.

What’s high? 3,000 a year? 15,000? Try 26,000 in 2012 alone, according to a new DoD survey released today.

From the USA Today report:

According to the Pentagon survey results, only about one in 10 victims who are sexually abused stepped forward to complain last year. That amounted to 3,374 cases in 2012, of which only about 3,000 chose to press charges. “Far fewer victims report sexual assault that are estimated to experience it on an annual basis,” says a written summary of the Pentagon findings.

The full Pentagon report on sexual abuse is scheduled for release some time this week. The summary was provided to USA TODAY.

The survey revealed that while the rate of men suffering sexual abuse has remained steady since 2010, the rate of female victims increased from about one in 23 to one 16 last year.

What’s startling about this is that the number went from 19,000 last year to 26,000. And remember, these are “estimates” the DoD is providing. They are either right on the money or conservative because the Pentagon has no real interest in overstating them. This is particularly huge, considering the timing: two additional sex assault stories were reported concerning the Air Force on the same day. The Air Force, coincidentally, is already the target of a massive ongoing investigation involving 12 instructors accused of systematically assaulting, harassing and/or raping female recruits at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas.

One of the trainers, Staff Sgt. Luis Walker, was accused of 28 criminal accounts, including rape and aggravated sexual assault involving ten recruits. He is now serving a 20 year prison sentence.

On Tuesday, it was revealed that a second Air Force general — this time a female general — was responsible for overturning a rape conviction of an officer, even after a jury of military officers had found him guilty and legal counsel had advised against it. The first was in February, when Lt. Gen. Craig A. Franklin, commander of the Third Air Force in Europe, tossed out the sexual assault conviction of a “star fighter pilot.” That case is under review under the direction of Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.

The latest case involves Lt. Gen. Susan J. Helms, who intervened to grant clemency for Capt. Matthew Herrera, who was convicted of assaulting a junior non-commissioned officer in 2010.

Helms’ drew the ire of Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-MO., who looked into the previously undisclosed matter and is putting a hold on Helms’  promotion to the Air Force’s Space Command.

A woman astronaut who apparently made it all the way to the boys’ club — and now she can join them in the hot seat of shame, for ignoring legal counsel, wiping a convicted sex offender’s dirty record clean, and not having the guts to make her reasons public. In a memo quietly inserted into the case file, Helms, who has no legal background, wrote that the captain’s story was more credible than the victim’s. Case closed.

Antiwar has been writing about military sex abuse for some time. This writer has asked — somewhat rhetorically, but not really — why women are still enlisting, given that after 10 years of “shock integrating” women into traditional war roles, the military has done nothing to transform the culture so that this institutional misogyny is no longer tolerated, whether baldly with official exonerations and clemencies, or with the winks and nods that lead to harassment and abuse that is never rebuked much less reported or punished.

It’s the kind of culture that leads to this guy being busted for groping a poor girl in a parking lot, loaded out of his mind.

la-na-nn-air-force-sex-assault-20130506-001

And he was the Air Force sexual assault prevention officer.

Sec. Hagel is said to be furious over Lt. Col. Jeffrey Krusinksi’s arrest. Let’s hope he can channel that anger into something real.




21 Responses to “Military Sex Assault Stories Overwhelm Today’s News”

  1. Oh, it's simple really. The kind of violence and intense physical effort practiced in the military requires high levels of testosterone. High levels of testosterone also lead to more sexual assault. If they act to curb sexual assault, they'll also be neutering the soldiers' efficiency as killers.
    Not sure about how testosterone should be impacting the female soldiers. The girls should probably be raping the guys at gunpoint too.

  2. "Hard to Keep Up"

    That seems to be the least of Lt. Col. Jeffrey Krusinksi's problems.

  3. Yikes. Well, I couldn't keep that headline "up"

  4. Yes, double entendre should be saved for the Paula Broadwell articles.

  5. It seems like a 'double standard' the US, Israel, and NATO countries can have "rape rooms" for the military; yet no other Nations in the world seem to be 'allowed' to have them…

    I also find it interesting US 'officials' are quick to endlessly repeat mendacious claims in the run up to a 'conflict' that the 'rape room policy' is, in fact, an actual "policy"–which comes strait from the top of whatever 'flavor of the month' "regime" the US is attempting to dismantle, and nation the US is currently destabilizing, that is…. For example: Gaddafi was allegedly arming his soldiers with "Viagra", as they all must have apparently suffered from erectile dysfunction.

    It's also interesting US 'officials' seem obsessed with what happens in other Nation's prisons… I've personally never been to prison myself; but there's a running joke in the US warning people "never drop the soap" here in a US prison…and that's just regular old domestic prison… There might be a lot worse things to worry about in US 'military prisons'…who knows?

    http://ww1.hdnux.com/photos/10/27/41/2193476/5/62

    Ah….the virtues of infallible almighty "democracy"…it's a magical thing, isn't it?

  6. What a shame!

  7. "Capt. Matthew Herrera, who was convicted of assaulting a junior non-commissioned officer in 2010." — NOT TRUE. He was convicted by a jury of assaulting a 1st Lt.

    "intervened to grant clemency for Capt. Matthew Herrera"–NOT TRUE, Gen Helms exercised Art 60 power, created by Congress

    Your site is a joke. Ben C is a moron.None of you have the complete set of facts, yet you choose to opine on a lack of info armed with minimal intelligence. Go to hell!

  8. Figures….You wont post my comment because you CENSOR other views. Great site!!

  9. Most of the article is inaccurate. Herrera was convicted by a jury of assaulting a 1st Lt, not a junior NCO. Gen Helms didnt "intervene," she exercised a power created by Congress and one of those Lackland "rapists" that just plead guilty last week was a woman. Your site is a joke.

  10. Ron, it is partly that. But other fighting armies don't have the same level of sexual assault. The U.S. Army however is full of society's dreg, after the invasions started and applicants melted away. (They might actually have to fight, instead of just pretending to fight and collect a paycheck for it.) The Army had to take any applicants it could get.

    For example, they now have a large number of gangbangers in the ranks. You can see them in pictures, posing in their uniforms while doing gang signals with their fingers. To show the level of absurdity, there are Iraqi children who have started acting "gangsta" because they have been taught the signals and swagger from U.S. soldiers. (That's the U.S. exporting democracy's values right there.)

  11. Thanks for posting IHATEHIPPIES comments. It's always enlightening, if not refreshing, to see in writing, the ideas held by so many Americans these days. He(she?) states his(her) views well. When you wonder why and how the United States has sunk to such low levels in the opinion of most of the planet, just review the words above, it all becomes clear.

    And, IHATEHIPPIES, be sure to thank those in uniform for "their service to the country" and offer your daughters as their dates.

  12. Good thing so many resources are being put into nabbing Assange for having consensual sex in Sweden.

    The woman who put the hurt on Jeffrey Krusinksi needs to be made the grand marshal of a major parade, or something.

  13. What does the US military do? defend America? no. they rape and pillage other countries on behalf of the um… we'll refer to them as the central bankers. You join a gang of rapists and killers, you should expect to be raped. simple as that.

  14. I'd be angry in the beginning obviously but the most crucial factor could be my child and so i would approach them and then try to discuss it, bring them to some physician for his or her mental health, and visit the government bodies to make certain the individual couldn't harm every other children. Or I'll just call a <ahref="http://www.blackchapman.com/">medford attorney and get rid of this rapists once and for all.

  15. Kelly,

    Your question as to why do women continue to enlist in the military? The answer is pretty simple: Financial self-preservation, PERIOD. Newsflash, in case you have not noticed, the Asylum States of Amerika does not entertain creating jobs for its citizens in the private sector. This means the government dole is the only means of survival. Barring SSDI, TANF, and Food Stamp Debit cards, the only other "work" that provides a paycheck for "services rendered" is the Asylum States Military. Solve the private sector jobs crisis and you will eliminate the need for men and women to enlist in the military to kill and be killed.

  16. Oswaldwasalefty,

    I think she should have put him out of his misery, PERMANENTLY………….

  17. [...] Leer el artículo completo [...]

  18. [...] Kelley Vlahos delved into the suffering of Iraq’s children in the aftermath of America’s war there. At the blog, she wrote about the military’s sex assault epidemic. [...]

  19. [...] you thought it couldn’t get worse, The Washington Post reports this week that in addition to the escalating sexual assault problem in the the military, there have been an uncomfortable number of sex crimes, convictions and what can only be called [...]

  20. I think they have to take strict action on it..

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