Follow us on Twitter @PolliticsToday for more insight, commentary and updates concerning this blog or “LIKE” us on Facebook (click the links). Seriously, do those things, we’d love to hear from you and for you to get updates on our website. Thanks!
Remember how the Republican Party wasn’t going to be the party that no longer was somehow on the wrong side of “rape”. As we recall from the last election cycle, the Republicans had two Senate candidates who made comments regarding “legitimate rape”, “God’s will” and if the female body had ways of preventing a pregnancy in case of sexual assault.
Now, sexual assaults have taken center stage again in the American political system but this time; its figuring out solutions, not politicians sticking their feet in their mouths (well kind of). Today the Senate held a hearing between military chiefs and sexual assault victims over sexual assaults that occur in the military and how to put an end to it. It was estimated that over 26,000 sexual assaults occurred in the military in the year 2012 alone with only a shade over 3,000 actually investigated.
So its known that the military needs to not just only do a better job at thoroughly investigating sexual assaults but also do a better job at preventing them. The one positive thing from today’s hearing is that both military chiefs and Senators agree (bipartisanly) that more needs to be done in preventing and penalizing sexual assaults. Another memorable moment from today came from John McCain (R-AZ) who relayed a story on how he could not give support to a women’s daughter over joining the military because of his disgust on the sexual assaults that take place in the military.
But two of the most cringeworthy moments came from two Republican Senators. Jeff Sessions of Alabama used a new excuse that I have yet to hear and that was placing the blame on the access to pornography and how that might make men more sexually aggressive. Sessions of course did not retract his statement but I find it unlikely that watching a pornographic video or reading a Playboy will make someone prone to sexual assaults.
This is an example of one of the bigger problems in dealing with sexual assaults. Sessions of course did not say this but its almost implying that “well, boys will be boys” or which in this case is more likely, that the problem is not the sexual assaults but other things. Sexual assaults isn’t the only problem, its the military culture that is apparently willing to hush the allegations of rape or assault that is equally to blame. Getting rid of all the Playboys and enacting SafeSearch will likely not limit the amount of sexual assaults but changing the culture will make sure sexual assault cases are properly dealt with and not thrown away to save a comrade.
But it wasn’t just Sessions who made a foot-in-mouth statement but his fellow Republican Saxby Chambliss of Georgia got in on the action. Chambliss, who is retiring after his term is up in 2014, actually issued his opinion that hormone levels could be blamed for sexual assaults. Huh?
The young folks who are coming into each of your services are anywhere from 17 to 22 or 23. Gee whiz, the hormone level created by nature sets in place the possibility for these types of things to occur. So we’ve got to be very careful how we address it on our side,” Chambliss told top military officials at a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing. “But guys, we are not doing our job. You’re not doing yours, and we are not doing ours with the rates we are seeing on sexual assaults.
Yup, he said that. Boys will be boys after all, right? Now for what its worth, the end of Chambliss’s quote is completely accurate and if it weren’t for the first part, would be worthy of praise and applause.
Still, when discussing sexual assault its either blame the victim, blame outside surroundings or worse yet; just agree that “boys will be boys” and these things will happen. Yet you can never blame the institution or the culture. Hopefully this is one thing that the Senate can improve.