Nearly 20,000 military personnel are raped or sexually assaulted each year, a crisis discussed on Tuesday at a Senate Armed Services hearing.
Unfortunately the hearing featured no testimony from victims at all. Witnesses opposed military reform 18-2, BuzzFeed reports.
Military witnesses insisted that the military could deal with sexual assaults within their own ranks, and didn't need civilian help. Unnervingly, some military witnesses made some misleading statements in their arguments against reform. For instance, Marine Col. Tracy King said that "[Rape] reporting in the civilian community is even worse" than in the military, which is simply not true.
In other countries where sexual assault reporting was taken out of the military chain of command, reporting increased by 80%, according to Senator Kirsten Gillibrand.
AZ Senator John McCain had strong words for the current situation. "Just last night, a woman came to me and said her daughter wanted to join the military and could I give my unqualified support for her doing so. I could not," said McCain.
"We have to ask ourselves: if left uncorrected, what impact will this problem have on recruitment and retention of qualified men and women?" McCain asked. "I cannot overstate my disgust and disappointment over continued reports of sexual misconduct in our military."
Under questioning from McCain, Army Gen. Martin Dempsey admitted that people with histories of sexual assault are sometimes allowed to enlist and serve. Other senators panned the military's record-keeping, which doesn't distinguish between sexual harassment and rape.