U.S. Senator Saxby Chambliss suggested that the dismaying rate of sexual assaults in the military may simply be due to the “hormones” of youthful soldiers.
“The young folks that are coming into each of your services are anywhere from 17 to 22, or 23. Gee whiz, the level — 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 of how we address it on our side.”
Being a retired Air Force Officer, I reflected upon when I was 18 years old and based overseas. All those hormones and still I never once assaulted a fellow Airman or Officer. Maybe times have changed but can Chambliss simply claim “hormones” caused:
- Two male officers convicted by courts martial of sexual assault were given clemency without explanation by respective three-star generals, Gens. Craig Franklin of the Third Air Force and Susan Helms of the 14th Air Force.
- Air Force lieutenant colonel Jeffrey Krusinski, the officer in charge of sexual assault prevention programs for the Air Force was being investigated for sexual battery.
- An Army sergeant first class assigned to the sexual assault prevention unit at Fort Hood, Texas, is being investigated for alleged sexual assault, pandering, abusive sexual contact and maltreatment of subordinates.
- In early May, an Air Force officer who worked with an assault prevention unit was charged with sexual battery after being accused of grabbing a woman and groping her buttocks and breasts in a parking lot not far from his Washington office.
- Three U.S. Naval Academy football players are under investigation in an alleged sex assault involving a female midshipman at an off-campus “football house” party in April 2012, according to a Defense Department official. The victim says she learned from friends and social media that the players claimed to have had sexual intercourse with her while she was intoxicated, her lawyer said.
From my perspective, the pedophilia scandal in the Catholic Church, the child sex abuse scandal in the US Hasidic Jewish community, ongoing sexual assault problems of the military and recent sexual assault allegations of Buddhist Zen masters has demonstrated, the disparity between leadership and mentors can have tragic consequences. There is something about our beliefs, our faith and religion, that allows one to dismiss the victims, to cast aside shame and allow the scales of justice to be unfavorably balanced.
Let’s be clear, this is not a hormone problem. This is not a consensual misunderstanding. This is rape, assault and abuse. This is a violation of our inherent human goodness, violence against humanity. We must vow not to repeat inaction and a lack of compassion.
If you are a victim of sexual and need assistance, contact National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE or the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) at 1-877-739-3895.