In his daily email to members yesterday, Family Research Council president Tony Perkins doubled down on his totally unfounded claim that the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell led to a spike in sexual assaults in the military.
Perkins writes that “most” servicemembers have become “victims — not just of assault, but of this new sexually-charged environment,” adding, absurdly, that when Congress repealed Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell it “made sexual attraction a qualification for military service — on par with academic performance, community service, physical fitness, or moral standing.”
We’ll repeat: a study one year after the policy was repealed found that allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly has had no negative effect on the military.
It must have taken a lot of restraint for America’s top military leaders to sit through yesterday’s Senate hearing on sexual assault and never say the one thing on everyone’s minds: “We told you so.” A little over two years ago, the same Senate ignored the warnings of many of the men assembled Tuesday and charged ahead with its repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” against the military’s advice. Now, a year and half into this post-DADT era, these Senators demand to know why sexual attacks are through the roof.
Isn’t it obvious? The Pentagon downplayed the effects of open homosexuality when it was implemented in 2011 — something it will have a tough time doing now, with the rate of male-on-male assaults at a record high. While the media rightly highlights the female victims, the Pentagon’s 1,400-page report explains that service men are just as affected — if not more so. According to the Defense Department’s own numbers, military men suffered 2,000 more sexual attacks than their female counterparts in 2012, the first full year that open homosexuality was tolerated. All together, “unwanted sexual conduct” climbed to 26,000 cases (up from 19,000 in 2010) — a 37% spike in two years. And some believe that’s a low estimate — in part because men are so reluctant to report abuse, especially from other men.
Pentagon spokeswoman Cynthia Smith said a “focus” of the assault office “is specifically geared toward male survivors and will include why male survivors report at much lower rates than female survivors…” Unfortunately, most are victims — not just of assault, but of this new sexually-charged environment. And while the military could certainly do a better job of cracking down on abuse, lawmakers are blasting service chiefs for a problem that, in many ways, they helped create! Senators like Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), for example, led the charge to overturn DADT — and then spent yesterday’s hearing complaining about the result.
Of course, the liberal members of the Armed Services Committee were careful to dance around the same-sex assault issue, but there’s no mistaking the elephant in the room. The White House has spent Barack Obama’s entire presidency sexualizing the military, beginning with the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that when Congress made sexual attraction a qualification for military service — on par with academic performance, community service, physical fitness, or moral standing — it radically altered America’s fighting force.