With a large military presence here in the Midlands, most of us are stunned by a Pentagon report exposing the military sexual assault crisis. A culture of increasing sexual violence and fear of retribution is compounded by the Defense Department's ineptitude at addressing and preventing these crimes. Case in point -- the officer in charge of sexual assault prevention for the Air Force was recently arrested and charged with sexual battery.
This is an absolute outrage and embarrassment for the men and women who proudly serve our country. President Obama stated that military personnel who commit these crimes are "betraying the uniform they're wearing." Changing this culture is a tall task, but one thing seems certain….we can no longer let the fox watch over the henhouse. Adjudicating military sexual assault cases must be taken outside the chain of command of victims and placed in the hands of impartial military prosecutors.
This troubling crisis is receiving a lot of attention but screams for bold leadership and public outcry. We cannot continue to allow a cultural of sexual assault to fester within our armed forces.