Topic: sexual assault
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June 2, 2013 at 7:04 AM
Conversation is needed
I was surprised to read that sexual-assault issues have been covered up by our military for so long [“Senator: Fire commanders allowing sex assault,” seattletimes.com, May 26].
Most people don’t talk about sexual assault being an issue, which perpetuates us normalizing it in our society. I wonder if the Air Force officer who was arrested on charges of groping a woman even realized that what he was doing was considered sexual assault, or if anyone who has been discharged from the military on sexual-assault charges even realizes their wrongdoings.
The objectification of women in our society has perpetuated this idea that women are sex objects rather than people. This makes sexual assault seem like less of an issue than it actually is.
More and more people are speaking out about sexual assault, and I’m really glad that women in the military are doing so as well. I am glad that the military is now realizing that “cultural changes are needed when it comes to the command structure” and are taking appropriate measures to fix this problem, rather than avoiding it.
Amy Kleitsch, Bellingham
May 29, 2013 at 7:02 AM
Task force is necessary
A Northwest Voices letter in regard to the article “End the culture of silence about sexual assaults in the military” stated that a task force is unnecessary and that the reason for sexual assault in the military is due to a lack of leadership [“Task force is unnecessary,” Northwest Voices, May 23].
I agree with this latter point; there is no excuse for sexual assault to continue in the military and society at large. Leadership should have addressed this long ago.
The writer calls for tough decisions to be made, but closes by saying that we don’t need a group of experts to tell us these truths. Clearly we do because leadership has failed and will continue to fail until someone or something makes protecting the men and women who serve our country a priority.
What is currently driving leaders to action? Sexual assault and harassment have been rising in the military since it was brought to the public’s attention more than 20 years ago. Clearly “bad publicity” is not enough of a deterrent to change the culture. It’s sad that we need a group of experts to lay out a plan to stop sexual abuse in the military.
Theressa Kennedy, Seattle
May 24, 2013 at 6:33 AM
Don’t hear cases in military court
If Congress is serious about curbing rape in the military, it should remove all such cases from the military-justice system and place them in the civilian criminal court system [“End the culture of silence about sexual assaults in the military,” Opinion, May 17.
That would mitigate the victims’ fear of retaliation and provide appropriate consequences to perpetrators — namely, a felony conviction and prison instead of a slap-on-the-wrist dishonorable discharge.
James Flaherty, Seattle
May 23, 2013 at 7:32 AM
Task force is unnecessary
Rep. Gael Tarleton, D-Seattle, is right to address the plague of sexual assault occurring within the military, but wrong in her suggested remedies [“End the culture of silence about sexual assaults in the military,” Opinion, May 17].
Only an elected official in today’s all-bark, no-bite political culture, would propose “a task force to examine all laws and military statutes that define the scope of ‘civilian control of the military’.”
The president, as commander in chief, and his civilian appointees in the Department of Defense, have full operational control of the military — of the removal and appointment of officers and the issuance of executive orders that direct and regulate conduct.
The Uniform Code of Military Justice — the laws which govern service members’ conduct — was written and is amended by the U.S. Congress.
In fact, Tarleton’s concern that “civilians must have power to hold the military accountable,” is entirely unfounded, because they absolutely do. Military leaders did not choose to integrate their ranks, allow homosexuals to serve openly or expand combat roles for women, civilian leaders ordered them to do so.
What, then, is the real problem? A lack of leadership, with a capital L. Our civilian and military leaders have both failed to fully exercise their power to eradicate the crime of sexual assault.
Succeeding will require tough decisions: relieving top commanders, increasing the minimum punishment and making examples of offenders regardless of rank or billet. Surely, we do not need a group of experts to tell us these truths.
Ben Nelson, Bellingham
Take action against perpetrators
The crying shame is the fact that the two highest institutions in the United States, the military and the Catholic Church, perpetuate rape and the abuse of women and children.
As a victim of priest child abuse, my stomach does a flip-flop when I read about the crimes against women in the military and children in the Catholic Church that are covered up.
Where is power when we need it? The pope, the president, the secretary of defense — where are you? Stand up; speak out; use your power in ways that matter; say “no more violence and no more rapes of women and children.” Then, put some power behind your words. Defrock the perpetrators now.
Mary Dispenza, Bellevue
April 30, 2013 at 6:33 AM
Saratoga rapists should have been be treated like adults
As a graduate of Saratoga High School, I was disgusted and outraged by the actions taken by the school [“Editorial: Renew help for sexual-assault victims,” Opinion, April 25].
Punishment for a gang rape by three students was being kicked off the football team. When I was a student there, smoking and long hair got you kicked off the team. Now it takes a gang rape.
California’s law saying the boys can’t be tried as adults is unbelievable. What they did was an adult crime and they should be treated as adults. What they did was directly responsible for her death as were the pictures posted on the Internet. What is today’s youth coming to?
Bruce D. Loughridge, Saratoga High School Class of 1966, Bremerton
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