May 12th, 2013
12:31 PM ET

Female veterans in Congress decry military's handling of sexual assaults

By CNN's Kevin Liptak

The way the military has prosecuted sexual assaults within its ranks is deplorable, two congresswomen who have served in the armed forces said Sunday, calling for a new system for reporting those kinds of crimes.

Reps. Tammy Duckworth and Tulsi Gabbard, both Democrats, said last week's report indicating a 30% rise in the number of service members anonymously reporting sexual assaults was an indication the military's leadership has failed in its duty to protect members of the armed forces.

"I want the military to be a place where women can succeed and thrive the way I was able to. And the military leadership at this point has shown that they have not been capable of fixing this problem," said Duckworth, who represents Illinois and is an Iraq War veteran.

Speaking on CNN's "State of the Union," Duckworth argued that individuals in positions of power should be able to halt the problem, but have thus far failed in their attempts to stop sexual abuse.

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soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. Inge

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    February 8, 2014 at 12:49 am | Reply
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    May 29, 2013 at 1:30 pm | Reply
  3. mique

    If you build a system where the members are told they are elite, special, better than others, blah, blah, blah, you create a situation where an "us vs. them" mentality gains hold. I see this in the military and in the cops that can't talk to a woman asking a question without hiking up their belt buckles.

    May 20, 2013 at 8:36 am | Reply
  4. S. Bonner

    Part of me wonders if there's a link here between the number of 'Murika-lovin' types (who often go into the military for ALL the wrong reasons) generally being people who also happen to think they are superior to women? This wouldn't explain everything, of course, and is CERTAINLY not a jab at people who truly want to serve our country, but I just think it's one piece to a big puzzle.

    May 16, 2013 at 4:51 pm | Reply
  5. Boomer in Mo

    Basically, if you are female and want to serve your country in uniform, you have to agree to be raped. Maybe more than once.

    May 16, 2013 at 4:05 pm | Reply
  6. wjmccartan

    If crimes have been commited against women for the last twenty years or longer, then its a complete failure of the current educational program the military has in place. The unit leader must be the first line of education of proper behaviour around women, you know women like your mothers. As a society were don't show enough respect for women, but this is a military issue, start by removing or re-educationing personnel responsible for the education. I was the leadhand for over a dozen people in the subway track, and we had people from every culture, men and women, as the leadhand I made sure that no one was treated with disrespect. The only thing I ever disriminated against was lazy. That should hold true in the military, you should never have time in your day except your professional duties. If you have time, then there is always looking to improve either the motorized occupations of the military or moral. Then finally if they've never been taught manners then they should be told how to use them in a polite professional manner. Women deserve every bit of respect and should never have to face that sort of behaviour. Mankind has for the last 2000 years has been behaving like a cyclops with one arm. It is because we have treated women as though they have had nothing to offer, and we were fools to behave so badly. Women enrich the lives of all mankind, making us as people, whole. Together we are going to change the future, two heads are better than one. By doing this dis-service too the woman of the military, you do for the rest of society as well. Man, in this world we want save for our childrenn we should instill wisdom into our children across the globe. Right and wrong are pretty simple,

    May 16, 2013 at 1:47 am | Reply
  7. Mari H

    It saddens and infuriates me to see the military has done little or nothing in the decades since I served to eliminate or at least punish this horrendous offense. I served for 5 years in the USAF Reserve and was the victim of an assault. I should have reported it to the civilian authorities but I was assured the military would handle the situation. They did not and I have lived with the trauma created by the offense since. Because I was in the Reserve I don't even get medical benefits to cover the treatment for the periodic episodes of depression that I have had to live with for the last 20 years. Even though continuing treatment was promised, my records were conveniently "misplaced" and even though my entry and exit dates are found, my actual service records are "unavailable".

    May 14, 2013 at 4:00 pm | Reply
    • USMC1371

      Not sure who you contacting about your records or if your pushing a agend. Any way all military records are kept on micro film in separate locations. Mine were burned in a fire but I got a copy from the micro film. It took 3 phone calls no biggie

      May 14, 2013 at 8:41 pm | Reply
  8. Larry

    So, I ask, how is it working out having women in the military?

    May 14, 2013 at 12:22 pm | Reply
    • Dee

      It would work out great if men (the majority) weren't such pigs.

      May 16, 2013 at 1:13 pm | Reply
    • S. Bonner

      Blame the women, give the men a pass. It's "nature." Bull, you're a sentient adult being, you can control your urges, and there should be no one else on this planet more capable of self-control than a military man.

      Nothing wrong with women in the military. Everything wrong with men in the military who think they should get a free pass because it's been the status quo.

      May 16, 2013 at 4:56 pm | Reply
  9. Jaimie

    I agree also. You can teach the troops but you can not make them comply. The Military needs to start making examples of individuals who cross the line. And I do not mean kicking them out of the military. Harsh punishment is the only way it will work.

    May 12, 2013 at 4:39 pm | Reply
    • BigShiz

      It's not about that,its about all of the inaction,all of the cover up's. The military has always had the unwritten rule of if you dont get caught red handed rape is ok. Just like the don't ask don't tell days,they have no real intention of fixing the problem. We need women Generals.

      May 13, 2013 at 12:48 pm | Reply
  10. George Patton-2

    I fully agree with both of these women. People who take advantage of this situation need to held responsible for their actions. This kind of activity should never be permitted to occur with impunity!

    May 12, 2013 at 4:33 pm | Reply

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