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Breitbart Op-Ed: Time to End Military's Sexual Assault Epidemic

November 8, 2013 in Politics & Elections

William Wilberforce once said, ‘Having heard all of this you may choose to look the other way, but you can never say again that you didn’t know.’[1] (Note to self: Don’t forget to footnote this).
Wilberforce was speaking of the unspeakable injustice of slavery, but I think his words could apply to any injustice.
I cannot look the other way after hearing the story of a young naval recruit from Georgetown, Ky. She was raised in a military family and upon graduating from high school she chose to proudly serve in the U.S. Navy.
While at training camp in 2008, she was attacked and raped by another recruit. The assailant beat her to a pulp, pinching three nerves in her spine and bruising her hips and legs to the point of immobility. She not only suffered from physical pain, but from emotional trauma as well. For years, she harbored suicidal thoughts and continued to suffer from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.[2]
According to the Department of Defense, over 26,000 acts of unwanted sexual contact occurred in our military last year.[3] Of the 26,000, only 3,374-the equivalent of one in seven-of these incidents were reported to the authorities.[4] In contrast, over half of all rapes are reported in civilian world.[5]
This naval recruit reported her assault, however the photos of her injuries, evidence from the crime scene and rape kit were all ‘lost’ and the case was dismissed before the investigation even began.[6] Her assailant walks free today and still serves in the U.S. Navy on a base just three hours away from her home in Kentucky.[7]
To be a victim of sexual assault and to have your attacker walk free or be reprimanded with a mere slap on the wrist is a tragedy and an injustice that must be corrected.
This week, I joined Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) in a press conference to support her crusade to end sexual violence in the military.
In an arena filled with so many attacks and politics of personal destruction, it sometimes refreshing for representatives from the left and right to join forces for something good.
Some issues aren’t conservative or liberal– they are important issues of justice.
At the press conference, a young woman and former Marine told her story. I was horrified and saddened to hear how she was assaulted by two Marines who broke her door down to attack her.
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