Sen. John McCain said today that the state of sexual assault in the military is in such disrepair that he can no longer recommend that young women join the military.
The Senate Armed Services Committee’s most prominent Republican said at today’s hearing on sexual assault that a woman recently approached him and asked if he could give his “unqualified support” should her daughter want to join the military.
The legendary former Naval aviator said no.
McCain said his “disgust and disappointment” with reports of sexual assault in the military could not be understated.
The Joint Chiefs of Staff are testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee to answer questions about the military’s terrible record on prosecuting rape and sexual assault.
This comes as the Pentagon announced last month that reports of “unwanted sexual contact” have jumped 35 per cent between 2010 and 2012, from 19,000 to 24,000. In 2006, they were a whopping 34,000.
The biggest trouble lawmakers perceive though is the military litigation process: 97.5 per cent of military sexual assaults go unpunished.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) has introduced legislation to completely remove sexual assault cases from the military’s chain of command. Currently commanders have the discretion to not prosecute crimes within the unit, should they so choose.
In late February, an Air Force general overturned the conviction of a lieutenant colonel who had been found guilty by an all-male jury. The general offered no explanation for his decision.
Gillibrand’s proposal would place the decision to prosecute in the hands of military panels of officers colonels and above who have prosecutorial experience. Her bill has 18 co-sponsors, four of whom are Republicans.
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