Webcast of the hearing yesterday on sexual assaults in the military.
On the one hand, I so strongly support this. On the other hand, it’s hard not to be cynical— oh, Congress, you say you don’t want rape in the military?! Sure thing, we’ll just go eradicate sexual assaults, no problem, why didn’t you say so sooner.
Low reporting rates of sexual assault and low prosecution rates of sexual assault are not a military problem—they are a societal problem. Being in the military does not cause people to be sexual predators, nor the kind of people who blame or harass victims. These people already exist. (Believe it or not, they are your friends, neighbors, family.) Of course, there is always room for improvement in terms of culture, but the U.S. military is just a microcosm of American society at large. Bad things will happen in the military too. And sexual assault cases routinely get prosecuted in the military that would never get prosecuted in the civilian world. There just tends not to be much corroborating evidence in sexual assault cases. And sexual predators are really good at picking victims that are prone not to come off as credible witnesses. These are hard realities, but unless we want to throw out the rules of evidence that protect defendants, we are going to continue to see statistically few cases brought to trial, and statistically few convictions. The good news: historically, positive developments in the military tend to trickle out into society at large.
Senator Gillabrand and Senator McCaskill, I applaud you.