Gillibrand: “Not every commander can distinguish between a slap on the ass and a rape”

A powerful state from Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) at the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on sexual assault in the military.

Gillibrand lectured the military command on the fact that “not every commander can distinguish between a slap on the ass and a rape.”

Kirsten-Gillibrand

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY)

Of course the military isn’t the only problem.

The Senate Armed Service Committee is doing all it can to stack the deck against women in the military.  Take today’s hearing, for example.  The Armed Services committee normally invites 4 witnesses, on average, to a hearing.  Today there were 20.  And lest you think they invited more because they care so deeply about sexual assault against women, think again.  18 of those 20 witnesses were there to testify against taking strong measures to address the problem.  Only 2 of the 20 witnesses on this Democratically-controlled committee were there to defend the reform proposals.  And of those 2, not even one was a sexual assault victim.

So, while I’m sure the military commanders are a problem, their overlords on the Senate Armed Services Committee aren’t doing women in the military any great favors either.

Wash Post:

“You have lost the trust of the men and women who rely on you that you will actually bring justice in these cases,” Gillibrand said. “They’re afraid to report. They think their careers will be over. They fear retaliation. They fear being blamed. That is our biggest challenge, right there.”

Later, she suggested that part of the problem is that “not every commander can distinguish between a slap on the ass and a rape” — a blunt assessment of how well the military is tracking the issue.


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Instagram | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the Executive Editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown; and has worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, and as a stringer for the Economist. He is a frequent TV pundit, having appeared on the O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline, AM Joy & Reliable Sources, among others. John lives in Washington, DC. .

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