‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ Repeal Blamed For Rise In Sexual Assaults

The “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal has been blamed for a rise in sexual assaults in a recent post from Family Research Council (FRC) president Tony Perkins.

Citing a Pentagon report that showed the number of sexual assaults on men (14,000) was higher than those experienced by women (12,000), Perkins stated, “President Obama is finally admitting that sexual assault is a serious problem in the military — but what he hasn’t conceded is that his policy on homosexuality helped create it.”

Asking how such a statistic could occur, Perkins concluded that “the Obama administration ordered military leaders to embrace homosexuality [through the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal blamed] — completely dismissing the concerns that it could be a problem to have people attracted to the same sex, living in close quarters.”

He also warned, citing a WSJ article from Marine Captain Lindsay Rodman, that “the statistics aren’t reliable and may be hiding thousands more cases of service-based abuse.”

“‘The truth is,’ she writes in the Wall Street Journal, ‘that the 26,000 figure [of victims] is such bad math — derived from an unscientific sample set and extrapolated military-wide — that no conclusions can be drawn from it,'” Perkins quotes. “Except one, perhaps, which is that groups like FRC were right to be concerned about the overturning of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.'”

Salon‘s Katie McDonough took issue with the FRC head’s conclusion, referring to Perkins as a “noted homophobe and famous banana brain.”

While McDonough agreed that the underreporting of sexual assault in the military is a real issue, she found Perkins’ conclusion “woefully incorrect (and clearly motivated by homophobic bulls***),” adding that it was “an affront to the very survivors of military sexual assault — gay and straight — who [Perkins] pretends to support.”

The Pentagon estimate of 26,000 sexual assaults in 2012 was a sharp increase from 19,000 for 2011.

Still, the New York Times noted, recorded cases were considerably lower at 3,374 in 2012 and 3,192 in 2011, “suggesting that many sexual assault victims continue not to report the crimes for fear of retribution or a lack of justice under the department’s system for prosecuting them.”

Compared to a similar report in 2010, the percentages of sexual assaults on both military men and women have risen, though the steeper percentage increase was for women. In 2010, approximately 4.4 percent of active duty women were victims compared to around six percent in 2012. For men, the number rose from 0.9 percent in 2010 to just under 1.2 percent last year.

There are currently 203,000 women on active duty and 1.2 million men.

Earlier this month, an Air Force sex scandal broke when the lead investigator looking in to allegations of sexual abuse was arrested and charged with grabbing a civilian woman by the breasts and buttocks.

President Obama said he has “no tolerance” for military sexual assault. “If we find out somebody’s engaging in this, they’ve got to be held accountable — prosecuted, stripped of their positions, court martialed, fired, dishonorably discharged. Period.”

Given the stats, what do you think about the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal being blamed for the rise in sexual assaults?

[Image via Wikipedia Commons]