From Hagel to the Hill in suit and tie, to the Service Chiefs on down in uniform; we have all heard the steady drum beat about a military that, as we look to the left and right of us, we simply do not see; a military full of barely stable combat veterans saddled with Post Traumatic Stress skulking in the shadows and/or sexually assaulting their Shipmates. As a reflection of the society it serves, of course those things are here … but why are they dominating the conversation and why are our leaders expending so much capital on it?

The PTS/PTSD hype & smear issue has a history worthy of a book (wait, that has already been done), and the sexual assault meme has been floating around in force since I was a LTJG … but what about now?

The last few days have seen two officers come forward; 2LT Dan Gomez, USA in TheGuardian and Capt. Lindsay L. Rodman, USMC in the WSJ. They are both pushing back against the drones of doom and smear, standing athwart the rising chorus and saying, “Stop.”

First let’s look at the good common sense from Gomez on PTSD, then we’ll dive in to the real touchy issue; sexual assault.

The revelations of sexual assault and harassment are only the latest in what has been a steady stream of bad news for the military. After a decade of war, we’ve read over and over about PTSD and mental health stigma, suicide, unemployment and extremism within the ranks. Without question, as a military, we have issues that we need to address.

But the things that I read about on a daily basis – all of these problems – while present and important, do not reflect the reality of what I see and experience as a soldier. In other words, this is not my army.

Yes, we’re growing and learning as an organization. We’ve been at war for over a decade, and are adapting to a rapidly changing world. America’s expectations of who we are and who we should be are also changing, and with that, problems are bubbling up to the surface that have been long ignored – and we are addressing them. But this fractured force that I read about full of misfits and miscreants is not my army.

The army I serve in is composed of brave men and women who joined the force during a time of war, fully knowing they will likely be placed in harm’s way. They’ve seen the veterans coming home with missing limbs and those who struggle to transition back to civilian life – and they still choose to sign the line. These are men and women who are unafraid to be patriotic at a time when doing so often seems out of fashion, and even looked down upon. They live the Army Values, and are just as shocked to learn about the scale of the problems we’re facing as a force – and as a nation – as the rest of America. And we want to get better. This is not a group of broken and sorry soldiers, fumbling along and victimized.

The army I serve in shows up every day and works, focusing on daily drills with a watchful eye on global hotspots, listening to the talking heads nonchalantly discuss “boots on the ground”, waiting for the call to be whisked away again to some far off place. Talk of an “Asia Pivot” or a return to a “garrison army” falls on deaf ears to the family saying tearful goodbyes to their loved one at an airfield, or to the soldier heading to Helmand province for a year. This is not to make light of the difficult problems we must face and fix, but it’s important to recognize that we here on the ground see the work being done to fix them.


For some reason, the exception has become the rule; the footnote the lead story. This is not right, and this is not what we see on a day to day basis – at sea and ashore. We see the real Navy and Marine Corps – just as Gomez sees the real Army. The issue for me is this; why aren’t we standing up more for our culture, our Shipmates – and push back against the attentions seekers, sympathy trolls, and those who want to make the hero a victim? We have let this story, again, get upside down. We are forgetting what we let happen to the Vietnam generation. We should not let that happen again.

BZ to Dan Gomez, and now let’s shift fire to someone who everyone owes a solid professional nod to; Capt. Rodman. A Marine JAG who attacks a problem as only a Marine can – clear, direct, fundamentally sound, and fact based.

As with Dan, you need to read it all … but she eviscerates those who are using bad science to attack the military for their own agendas … something we’ve seen before. Something we know better than to let go unchallenged. When all others cower in fear, it does seem that there is always a Marine who is willing to step forward and do the right thing.

Here are the core bits that leave you knowing one thing that we really already knew; the numbers being used to make the American public think the military is full of sexual predators are garbage.

In the days since the Defense Department’s May 7 release of its 2012 Annual Report on Sexual Assault in the Military, the media and lawmakers have been abuzz. The report’s estimate that last year 26,000 service members experienced unwanted sexual contact prompted many to conclude, incorrectly, that this reliably estimated the number of victims of sexual assault.

The 2012 estimate was also significantly higher than the last estimate, causing some to proclaim a growing “epidemic” of sexual assault in the military. The truth is that the 26,000 figure is such bad math-derived from an unscientific sample set and extrapolated military-wide-that no conclusions can be drawn from it.

The term “sexual assault” was not used in the WGRA survey. Instead, the survey refers to “unwanted sexual contact,” which includes touching the buttocks and attempted touching.

It is disheartening to me, as a female officer in the Marine Corps and a judge advocate devoted to the professional practice of law in the military, to see Defense Department leaders and members of Congress deal with this emotionally charged issue without the benefit of solid, verifiable data. The 26,000 estimate is based on the 2012 Workplace and Gender Relations Survey of Active Duty Military. The WGRA survey was fielded throughout all branches of the military in September and November 2012. As the report indicates, “Completed surveys were received from 22,792 eligible respondents,” while “the total sample consisted of 108,478 individuals.” In other words, one in five of the active-duty military personnel to whom the survey was sent responded.

I am one of those who responded to the survey after receiving an email with an online link. None of the males in my office received the email, though nearly every other female did. We have no way of knowing the exact number of male or female respondents to the 2012 WGRA survey because that information wasn’t released.

Though the 2012 survey does not specify the gender composition of its respondents, the 2010 respondents were 42% female (10,029 women and 14,000 men).

Nevertheless, to achieve the 26,000 military-wide estimate in 2012 (and 19,000 in 2010) over half of the victims must have been male. Of course, male victims do exist, but empirically males do not constitute anywhere near the majority of victims of unwanted sexual contact-no less sexual assault. Here is what we do know: The actual number of reported sexual assaults in the military in 2012 was 3,374, up from 3,192 in 2011. These figures include reports by civilians against service members. Of the 3,374 total cases reported last year, only 12%-14% were reported by men. We also don’t know how actual sexual-assault rates in the military compare with civilian society.

Each and every sexual assault is tragic and infuriating. But given the military’s recent emphasis on awareness of the problem and insistence that victims come forward, it’s no surprise that this number has gone up.

Here is a back-story in how our silence is hurting us; we are not recruiting good people because of our decision to let lies stand.

I often talk to young men and women interested in joining the military, and I find that women especially seek me out to gain the perspective of a female officer. In the past year or so, these potential female recruits have grown increasingly wary, asking many follow-up questions about whether women are treated fairly and respectfully. I tell them that serving in the military doesn’t turn a woman into a victim. I am a proud Marine, surrounded by outstanding military personnel from every service who take this problem seriously, male and female alike.

If you want quality men and women to join the military – don’t let them think they are joining an organization hobbled with sexual assault. It isn’t.

If you really want to help those veterans returning to the civilian world – you need to help push back against the twin smears of broken-vessels and sexual-predators. It wasn’t and isn’t our military; don’t let lesser mortals try to make it seem so.

PTS/PTSD and sexual assault are real, but especially with sexual assault, if you want to let people know your are serious about addressing the issue – and not off reacting to agendas – then you have to use serious numbers and research. Research and studies that can survive the follow-on question from statisticians and a Company Grade JAGs, for starters.

May many more follow Gomez and Rodman’s example. Demand that the military at least show you the respect you deserve by treating you as an adult – and not judging you from bad studies.

Posted by CDRSalamander in Marine Corps, Navy
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  • Old Nuke

    I work in a Vet Center taking care of many of these wounded warriors. We were ‘encouraged’ to sit through a viewing of the movie “Invisible War” … in my opinion, a hit piece on the VA and military.

    That being said, I cannot believe that the US Navy that I retired from in 2001 has degraded to the point demonstrated in the movie. Seems like there are roving gangs of rapists, Commanding Officers who routinely say it is the victim’s fault. Everything swept under the rug …

    I was upset with the characters in the movie. Obviously hand-picked for their roles. Especially the Coast Guardsman who had a huge chip on her shoulder for the VA.

    Sorry, I just do not buy that our military had degraded to such a base level.

  • Matt

    The military has helped define the values of this country so in order to rewrite those values the military must be delegitimized in the eyes of the country. People will care less about the failures on the battlefields when they don’t respect the military. Obama is throwing the entire military under the buss just like he did with the Ambassador to Libya and the three other brave Americans. He wants to lose because that is his strategy in remaking our country’s soul. If Obama is willing to manipulate the IRS you better believe he is hard at work behind these lies too. Obama is now famous for using misdirection with his guerrilla war tactics.

  • Aubrey

    “The issue for me is this; why aren’t we standing up more for our culture, our Shipmates – and push back against the attentions seekers, sympathy trolls, and those who want to make the hero a victim?”

    Simply put, the answer is a highly politicized leadership. The Joint Chiefs have become more than the military advisors to POTUS, they have willingly become political adjuncts – salting military advice with gleeful assistance in social and political goals. Until the leadership of the US military once again decides to concentrate solely on being a professional military, rather than political collaborators, there will be no change.

  • navyblue12

    Actually, I have done a very comprehensive survey. I spent 9 years in the Navy and never saw sexual misconduct. My second daughter spent 11 years in the Navy and never saw sexual misconduct. And, my first daughter is a military professor at USNA – 16 years service – and has never seen it.
    I am very tired of reading about it.

    • grandpabluewater

      The XO of any major fleet amphib would be a more reliable source, if he were at liberty to say, which he isn’t. This not intended as a challenge to your veracity, but we don’t see all, or understand all, particularly in matters which occur in numbers reported “per 1000 individuals, per annum”.

      Administrative personnel are normally forbidden from discussing disciplinary or criminal matters, particularly in conjunction with the names of the accuser, witnesses, and individual charged.

      As they should be.

  • Sperrwaffe

    Interesting Stuff.
    Let’s create some momentum. I think I will get some heavy fire on that but this is for the discussion. No offense meant through my next statements:

    1. When you have to take care about the over-puritanical base of voters, you show that you are in control by having such a “reporting effort”. In a society where a lot is influenced by overreaction about sexual issues you end up with that. It is easier to show a breast surgery with every cutting detail but never the n*****s. So you are compliant to one influential base by creating a severe problem, where there is actually none.

    2. The same on the vet issue. You create a problem, divert the vets into victims and by doing so you show that you are in control of the military and it’s poor victims. Victimisation on this political level is one of the nastiest ways to degrade the achievements of the individuals.

    It’s all about politics.

    Don’t let your military become institution which is eyed sceptical, which is victimised, where soldiers will be stripped of their warriors ethos and ability to fight and serve for their country.

    You are now free to disagree on my provocation! ;))

    • xformed

      It’s a win on both sides of the aisle, the one subject “we” love to hate universally. For the Right, puritanical somewhat, to the left, feminists….

      There you have it, the perfect vote getter.

  • Phil Candreva

    It is the natural result of the overly paternalistic nature of the military. The senior ranks tell the junior folks where they can and cannot go on liberty, what to wear, who they can associate with, who they can get a car loan from; they build increasingly insular communities that provide separate places to buy food and clothes and exercise. Fences are erected and guards posted to keep them safe. So it is only natural they obsess if they think their kids might be suffering. They feel helpless and grasp for control. All the while forgetting they are not kids, but grown men and women.


    I suspect the sexual assault numbers are pure garbage. I have knowledge of 4 cases and their dispositions.

    1. Rude comment male PO1 to female PO2 of a sexual nature. Reported up the chain to the LDO ENS OIC who actually did try to squash it and retaliate against PO2 for making the report. PO2 called JAG, who called the CAPT CO of the unit. Result was PO2 transferred, PO1 and LDO ENS both fired and retired.

    2. Blotto drunk female JO filed charges because she woke up fully clothed in a hotel room bed with another fully clothed JO and “something may have happened.” Investigated and dismissed. Witnesses said nothing happened and drunk JO just passed out. No retribution.

    3. A couple of female JOs were informed by other service members at a club that they were basically (and I paraphrase for civility’s sake) “nowhere near hot enough to even try hooking up with.” Charges filed, investigated, and other service members receive punitive letters.

    4. Drunk male PO2 convinced to grind on female PO1 from behind by SCPO who was the SAVI program manager. Reported, SCPO tried to squash the report, PO1 went to XO and investigation ensued. PO2 received maximum punishment at NJP. SCPO was detached for cause with an adverse evaluation.

    In two of four cases, the chain of command did attempt to squash the report and retaliate. That action only resulted in them getting punished with the perpetrators.

    Two of the four cases were pretty lame accusations but did consume plenty of time and effort and one of them ended with punitive letters although the offense was “being rude” not “sexual assault.”

    One of the cases involved inappropriate touching of a sexual nature, but whether this would be a crime the civilian world would prosecute is pretty questionable as it involved no hands, lasted 5 seconds, and everyone was fully clothed throughout.

    I think that it’s possible that when civilians hear “sexual assault,” they think of “Law and Order SVU” level crimes from television. They don’t realize we punish rude and offensive comments as “sexual assault.” We are right to hold our people to a higher standard and punish those who do what they do, but what we consider a “crime” is what happens all the time in civilian society and while disgusting, probably would be never pursued at all. Good luck getting a conviction for these things outside the military.

    We have succeeded in raising the behavior bar high enough that we have criminalized rude behavior, and that leads to a perception distortion in the civilian world. While we’re punishing rude jerks for telling women they’re not worth pursuing, we use the term sexual assault and civilians are thinking every case is a brutal rape.

  • Jeannette Haynie

    The headlines anger me, and the use of interpolated–by various means–data to support a sexual assault epidemic in the military is problematic, to put it nicely. So how would you propose getting more accurate numbers? Because the problem is there, and I have yet to run across a method that I would term even reasonably accurate.

    I’d agree that the increasing numbers seen recently (actual numbers vs estimated ones) are due to more awareness vs an actual growing number of assaults. But…

    Semi-short story: for a long time, I thought that people who reported sexual assaults were probably weak victim-types, unable to take care of themselves and unable to otherwise handle unwanted advances. Then a number of years ago, I was volun-told (they needed a female officer…I was the only one in the unit) to attend Uniform Victim Advocate training to become the unit’s UVA. After 2 days of “training,” I was deemed fit to be a front-line advocate for any members of my unit who were sexually assaulted (and came forward about it). Through my time as a unit UVA, I learned how wrong I was. This whole thing is a post in itself that I should write, actually. Suffice it to say that yes, sexual assault is a real problem, the way we as a military handle it is a real problem, and of the cases I handled, 100% of them did not want to follow up (some were upset that even I knew). This was not because they were lying, or having next-day regrets. It’s because they were too scared to do more than hunch down and try to pretend it didn’t happen.

    Are we bunch of sex-crazed fiends waiting in darkness for the right unsuspecting victim to walk by? No, at least not the vast majority of us. But neither are most sexual assaults laughable, fake, or inflated, from my experience.

    • Sperrwaffe

      After reloading the page my last direct comment to Jeannette’s post is no longer present. Also not shown on disqus. I hope it is not lost, or I have to see if I can recall all points I wanted to make…

    • Sperrwaffe

      Ok, it seems my first comment to you is lost in space. So I will try to recall my ideas from yesterday and from now on I will draft my comments as a doc before putting it into disqus…. Is was not the first time I got busted by this program…. Nice

      Let’s concentrate on the harassment issue. We are facing some problems in approaching this. First there are the political approaches in highlighting, reporting and numbering of cases. Besides my provocative approach below, the points I wanted to make was first society and its influence on valuation of sexual acts. And second that this political focus hinders the accounting of incidents by the victims. They are put into focus and as you say they are scared or blocked or worse. Because in the military personal weakness is still viewed rather sceptical or to say a little constrained in handling. A warrior has to be strong…But such an event leads to personal weakness of the individual. And that is not the individuals fault per se.
      I absolutely concur that we the military are not a bunch of sex-crazed fiends!

      I would be really interested in the expansion of your experiences in the respective units you served in. So please think about a detailed post. Why so?
      I have a personal interest for this topic. This is mainly based on my personal experiences and situation.
      When careers for women were opened in our forces in 2001 (before they were only allowed to serve as medical personnel) I was responsible for the execution of arrangements needed in my squadron. During that period I was XO on several vessels and we were given the task by our Com SQN to look into possible issues in daily life onboard. One aspect to be taken into account was that on our mcm boats there is no real separation (with regard to changing clothes, showers, you name it) possible. 60m give no space to hide. A little bit different on the larger platforms of course. From the MoD DEU armed forces were “supported” by stupid paperwork with regard to “sexuality in the forces”. Unbelievable cover your ass political paperwork.
      So we intentionally skipped the papers and came up with some pragmatic approaches and rules.
      Main rule: No f****** on my boat.
      And for the rest we believed in acting with people like grown up adults, knowing the facts of life with a sane attitude to service onboard. And if nature and hormons hit,no problem, look to the main rule (go to hotel during liberty port but follow the rule) and please tell your CO. Together with the installation of curtains (change there, but still the bunk above you or below in the 8men deck will be occupied be a male crew mate. And if you are an OOW or chief you will share your chamber with a male OOW or chief, so find a way!) we sorted out things on the working level and said to our CO’s and CoS and COM: “Done, let us do the work and it will work.” And it worked. The women had no problem with the situation on board. They new what it would be like. It was more the men, and there the older comrades who had some issues in the beginning. And after MoD came back to sanity the paperwork eased and became more pragmatic.
      During my whole career I personally never saw any problems with sexual harassment in the units I served. Not that there were and are not any problems at all. But they are in a per mill scale so to say. Even at places like the armed forces universities in Hamburg and Munich where the percentage of women (officers career) is the highest in the forces, there were no cases when I studied there from 2003-2007 after having qualified for CO in the fleet. Relationships are more common, yes but not sexual harassment. Even if our press and critics would like to see some more of that in order to have another point to beat on us war mongering killer types.
      The second point is even more personal, since I am no longer in active duty and changed to reserve.
      My wife is a MP-Officer currently CO of a MP company and during her whole career she never faced any personal problems of that matter. And she started as the first class of women for the MP. Of course there were some issues with Stone Age instructors in the beginning. And that throughout the forces. But not serious harassment. There was a small adjustment of use of bad language established :)) And since MP in Germany is responsible for the investigation of cases, I can state that we are still in a rather comfortable situation within our forces. You see the that during deployments there are these short term relationsships and other stuff. This is mostly tolerated as long as it does not interfere with daily routine and task. And if it does it is and will be sanctioned. My wife repatriated on of her senior seargeants while she was provost marshal, because he did not follow the rules. Furthermore some good friends of ours are women serving mostly in the Navy and some in the MP. Their experience also supports the thesis that it’s not about sex-crazed fiends…

      It’s mostly about stupidity if I might say so.

      Maybe I find some time to get deeper into the Veterans and PTSD issue but enough for the moment. And this time I saved my boring monologue properly before I have to rewrite everything and write even more than now….;)))
      With regards,

      • Jeannette Haynie

        Sperwaffe–sorry, my younger two kids just woke up and it’s time to get the oldest at school…I’ll address your questions next time I get to a computer! I’m slow–it may not be till tomorrow or so…

      • Sperrwaffe

        Take your time. I just put our son to bed an hour ago and now we are looking for the rest of the evening. My time zone is Alfa. And tomorrow is full until evening. So no need to hurry at all.

      • Jeannette Haynie

        Wow–that’s a lot to answer. I’ve been bitten by disqus myself today, so I hear you.

        I cannot go into detail on my experiences as a UVA since it doesn’t work that way. I can say, though, that what I saw in that capacity changed my opinion (about 180 degrees) on how sexual assault can happen, and who it happens to.

        There’s also a world of difference between a 26-year-old (or whatever) USMC captain and a 19-year-old lance corporal. Strong peer groups, rank differences, there’s a reason the vast majority of those assaulted are junior enlisted women.

        Living conditions–I don’t have a great answer here. For us, it was common sense. When someone needed to change in the tent in Iraq, or Thailand, or I needed to jump out of the front seat and make a head call at a fueling point (minus the presence of an actual bathroom), you just do it. Someone would yelling “going naked” and I’d (happily) look elsewhere. I’ve been in confined quarters with no other women, and it was fine. Just required a bit of creativity. I tend to feel that that will work for the vast majority of us and most situations–common sense, don’t overthink the stuff, and set the bar high.

        I agree with CDR Salamander that the headlines in the media do not reflect the reality we see; I also feel that many within the services do not really understand the depths of the problems.

        Kind of a long, convoluted non-answer, so I don’t know that I actually helped you. I do think I feel a new post coming soon.

    • grandpabluewater

      Just a brief corroboration of one your points, Ma’am. I repeatedly saw fearful young female sailors hunch down and dummy up when trying to get the truth with the variety of improper, rude, inappropriate, insulting and criminal behaviors lumped under “sexual assault” brought to the attention of the chain of command with limited accompanying evidence.

      Now this is (about) twenty-five years ago, so others must make the call if it still remains pertinent. Much of the alleged offenses content was chaff, large children (17, 18, first year or so aboard first ship, GCT/ARI = go to first ship now) who had literally never been taught basic manners. Why shoot a puppy for piddling on the carpet? Growl, apply the rolled up newspaper, and tell them they had been bad, but reform would forestall the blood curdling doom that awaited a second occurrence. Then impose same on (six, six and a kick – or just bad paper discharge, actually) upon the stupid and obdurate, err, repeaters, of whom there were some very few.

      “Single men in barracks don’t grow into plaster saints”. but they can be made into good petty officers who walk on the sidewalk and keep off the grass. Kick ’em day by day, as appropriate.

      But comma pause, the baseline assumption by the girls and young women was that the terrifying old hatchetman would punish them for reporting the issue (said Ogre really was less than 40 or just above it and had two teenage daughters, and a record of arranging a quick and tidy GCM, and trip to Leavenworth, for genuine sexual assault cases, pink ribbon around the Duck Dinner no charge, when previously in command).

      But they didn’t know that, and most dummied up quick. So you, do what you can, keep a good case file, and wait. Real sexual aggressors ALWAYS repeat. You will get a better opportunity, be ready for it. Then swing for the fence.

      Life requires a measure of spine to obtain justice, civil or military, male or female. Any working Detective knows it. If immediately reported, a rape kit and DNA is pretty open and shut, along with the necessary words by the Doctor concerning the other evidences of force seen in his/her examination. Nobody wants a rapist aboard, or in the outfit. Maybe that has changed,….maybe.

      Senior petty officers, pretty rare aboard ship back then, were made of sterner stuff, generally. One poor fool, drunk and vile, tangled with the MA1, a woman in her late thirties, straight, with steady boyfriend (another story, that), strong, solid, plain and apparently fearless; on board, with her in a duty status. Well, the HMC demonstrated the skill of a good corner man for heavyweight boxing, on the somewhat worse for wear male enroute the brig (we still had our own on board). The Report and Disposition of Offense form was a thing of beauty. The wheels ground, exceeding fine. So there was a continuum and both ends existed.

      I also saw one rape I’m convinced the offender got away with. Superb defense lawyer. The offender, emboldened, got a FAIR TRIAL and out, next time around. The victim was transferred to the other coast, it seems Mother Navy tracks both individuals in all such cases, no matter the verdict, and they NEVER go to the same home port ever again.

      All ancecdotal. Conclusion, continuing problem is…we recruit from the human race. Statistics, I dunno. SWAG 6-12 per thousand real or really attempted rapes, maybe as high as 24 – though I doubt it – per thousand, per annum or twice that interval.

      False accusations, buyers remorse, caught sleeping her way to
      the next paygrade and lying to cover, about the same, give or take. It happens. Admitted guesswork, and long ago.

      The accused is innocent until PROVEN guilty. If you can’t get them in court, well, no solution available.

      But you aren’t wrong, it happens. Unfortunately, timidity guarantees victimization.

      Is the Navy the right place for the timid? Ponder. Glad to be retired.

      • Jeannette Haynie

        I think this topic deserves more than I can give it in a comment reply. Is it timidity, though? Or something different entirely?

      • grandpabluewater

        That I leave for those who must take what is, and make it into what will be, hopefully with needed improvements incorporated.
        When I went home and took my sailor suit off for the last time, I thought I was handing over in much better shape than I walked in as an idealistic boy. I wish the same for you, despite our many differences.

      • Jeannette Haynie

        Likewise. And I think it certainly is better and will hopefully continue to improve over time. That is the idea, after all. Differences are good as long as we can remember that the vast majority of us just want the best for our services and our country.

  • Jeannette Haynie

    “You have a scientific survey done by professionals with proper regression analysis conducted by people who understand statistics. Additionally, you publish the full data set so others can verify the data and run their own regression analysis if they wish.” All well and good, and a no-brainer. But that does not actually fix the problem, which is that many do not actually report, or ever tell anyone, that they have been assaulted. So how do you addres that?

    The numbers vary–I’ve seen everything from 50% (police statistics) to almost 90%–but the idea is that most assaults are never reported or addressed, so any “scientific survey” work, unless it surveys the entire population–and guarantees honesty from all–will not capture the question at hand. So again, how do you address that?

    “No one is saying that … but if you want to pull that thread … ” On the contrary, two commenters did, and I was addressing them with that statement. There’s your thread pulling. I have yet to figure out how to carve out enough time to individually address every comment while making one of my own. Your blog did not say any such thing, so I apologize for any confusion.

    As for the unfounded allegations–one of my closest friends was hit with unfounded allegations a few years back. I was with him throughout the process and saw, in painful, close detail, the wreck it made of his life. But I have also seen, similarly at close hand, the absolute wreck a sexual assault can make of someone’s life and career. I’ve only known one who pursued her attacker, and it ruined things for her. I’ve seen many more do nothing, and have seen the price they paid. Let’s put it this way, having sat on both sides, I can say categorically, again, that it is a problem in the military, and how we handle it is pretty bad, too.

    • Jeannette,

      “.. that does not actually fix the problem, which is that many do not actually report, or ever tell anyone, that they have been assaulted. So how do you addres (sic) that?” – This, along with many of your points, are ligit … but they are a societal problem – not a military problem. The military reflects the society it comes from, generally. In any event, that is a different topic for a different post. The issue at hand is this; this report is garbage yet it is not being countered by leadership and it is shaping debate. We are being smeared by garbage. No one is debating if it is an issue or not – the issue is that we need to debate with facts, not garbage and emotion based on shoddy science.

      • Jeannette Haynie

        I made an earlier comment that has not appeared–perhaps it will at some point, but I’ll attempt to repeat it.

        Interesting topic, military problem vs society problem. Article in the WSJ blog section addressed this very issue yesterday. I linked it in my earlier comment, which may be why the comment has not appeared. Google “our military, ourselves” and it will pop up. It takes issue with the idea that these problems are societal vs military. I don’t agree with the entire article, but yes, topic for a different post.

        I saw the 1-in-6 stats in the SAPR report, yet in the same report (p 53) you can see that DoD estimates about 85% of assaults go unreported. Which mirrors the civilian sector, and dwarfs the 1-in-6 stat. Not excusing that 1 in 6 (far from it, as I said earlier). I agreed with most of your original post, but take issue with those who would inflate those 1-in-6, or would cast off others, which I saw in the comments. People actually are debating whether it’s an issue or not, and that’s what I just don’t get.

        I agree–we are being smeared in the media, but you can’t just get or use better numbers. Don’t know a researcher in the world who wouldn’t rather have better data, but the problem is it’s just not there due to the nonreporting. Which was my original point, way up there. How do we get at that? And still combat the media bias?

        I apologize for typos, tend to be typing with a kid on my lap. (Although I believe “ligit” should be spelled “legit”)

  • FoilHatWearer

    The biggest problem is that our leaders jump in with both feet and join in the military-bashing. I haven’t heard one single senior leader say, “Hey, this isn’t representative of our military people. I’m not saying that we should bury our head in the sand, but let’s not over-inflate the problem, either.” No, they attend women’s rights conferences, look at their shoes, nod through the presentations, then go out and make public statements about what a bunch of horrible sex-abusers their subordinates are.

  • Brian Grubbs

    So here is a hard statistic which you could probably come up with. My anecdotal story is that in my 13 year active/12 year reserve career to date, I’ve had at least one (if not more becuase it wasn’t documented somewhere) training on sexual assualt/harrasement prevention. In my 12 year civillian career, I’ve had one. What are the annual hours/person of training received in the military compared to your average civillian workplace.
    We in the military are just a subset of the civillan population that feeds us.
    I often bring this up with civillians I talk to and they are suprised. I tell them that in the course of a year I will have at least a one hour training/discussion on the following topics: suicide prevention, alcohol abuse, drug abuse, sexual assualt/harassment prevention, trafficking in persons (most civillians don’t even know what that is). Did I miss any?

    • grandpabluewater

      Tactical priorities and realistic training to carry out one’s command’s notional number’s responsibility after M day (Oh, that’s
      right, we never do that in any organized way. Sorry, I lost my head….)

  • Karma

    I spent 5.5 years in the Navy, was the second group of females to go to the region special operations department and they are SEXIST beyond believe there. They based they’re entire judgement off of two bad females the command had before I got there and it only got worse for us from there. They would stalk us and check up on us…spread rumors, etc. it was worth than middle school drama and I’m about as laid back as it gets…I avoid that at all costs. The males were told not to communicate/speak/teach the group of females that came straight from A-school and they were all (including myself) treated VERY different than the males, like dirt, to be exact. I did everything in my power to gain respect for the females but the problem was we had poor female leaders (which are also held to a WAY higher standard than males). I’ve seen some amazing Chiefs, don’t get me wrong but the problem is ‘Once a Chief, always a Chief’. I’d go cruising they’d want to know that too, etc. saw a chief at my command go to mast for fraternizing and he was forced to our department (this was after I suffered a traumatic shoulder and neck injury and was fighting to be able to leave Japan)…and NOTHING happened..,then he made things up, saying I never “checked out with the right person”, to go to physical therapy WHICH I HAD PROOF OF etc. mind you at this time I’m a 2nd Class and that’s when I stopped caring anymore. That’s when I knew that I am done. Mind you , that was the second surgery, (the first one the doctor put 2 anchors instead of 5 and the two he didn’t put in the right place) LONG overdue to leave Japan anyways and they were waiting for my EAOS so I wouldn’t be medically what did I do, not knowing any better, I re-enlisted because I wanted to stay in.

  • Duane

    It seems like everybody today is a hothouse flower … both the military critics and fault finders, and the members who seem so offended that anyone would dare cast aspersions on they and their fellow service members. Relax, this is absolutely nothing to lose sleep over.

    As a Vietnam era vet (naval service in nuke submarines), I can testify we were all used to be being labeled by society as nothing less than crazed baby killers. The popular Hollywood and societal image of service members in the 70s and through the 80s was that of not mere PTSD sufferers who are experiencing stress and having trouble adjusting to civilian life as vets, or who might be engaging in unwanted sexual contact with their fellow service members … but rather, service members were generally thought of as outright murderers and rapers of innocent women, children, and old men a la Lt. Calley at My Lai, or as the crazed weaponized vet in “Rambo”, or as the thoroughly corrupted and loony murderers of “Platoon” and “Apocalypse Now” and their love of the smell of napalm in the morning air.

    It was so bad that in those days we Navy members were advised not to wear uniforms in public. Boarding a commercial airliner in those days while in uniform was more likely to get evil eye looks from fellow passengers, if not getting spit at, rather than having first class passengers give up their seats to service members, or having the entire passenger contingent spontaneously applauding the service members as today.

    We were never told “thanks for your service”.

    And by the way, throughout most of American history, and indeed most of western European history, war vets were generally treated with a combination of disdain and pity, if even acknowledged at all. It was the expectation of virtually all Naval officers throughout all wars to be beached upon the conclusion of hostilities, and at best, maybe eke out a living on half pay .. for non-officers, it was much worse than that, generally having to settle for a life of crime or begging once the armistice was signed, because few were the demands for the skills of the average Jack on a man’o war once the shooting was over. Legions of American Civil War vets on both sides ended up populating the ranks of criminals, and few if any were ever thanked for their service.

    I’m not complaining – just explaining … that as bad as this author thinks things are for service members today, it ain’t nuthin. Get over yourselves.

    You don’t serve, and should not expect to serve, for the purpose of being treated with special respect by society. That’s not why you serve. You serve because it’s a calling, because it’s about duty. It’s always nice when you generate respect for your service, but don’t ever think that you’re entitled to respect, because that’s not how it’s been for most of the history of this nation and and of mankind.