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Letters to the editor: Sexual assaults

May. 29, 2013 - 05:02PM   |  
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TREAT WOMEN EQUALLY

Regarding your editorial, “Wrong fight, wrong time,” in the May 9 issue: I was dismayed to see the Air Force Times’ editorial dismissing the MARCH for Military Women Act as “a solution in search of a problem,” and “a political football.” This is a misleading and unfair characterization that contributes to and is a part of a military culture in great need of close examination.

My long history of work protecting members of our military speaks for itself, from my successful fight to recall 16,000 pieces of faulty body armor from Iraq that left our soldiers vulnerable to injury and death, to my advocacy in preventing sexual assault in the ranks, most notably the provisions of my Force Readiness Protection Act, which became law in 2012, giving women in the military who are sexually assaulted access to a proper support network and the right to an expedited base transfer.

The MARCH for Military Women Act of 2013 would simply extend to women in the military the same rights civilian women have when it comes to their reproductive health.

When women tasked with defending our Constitution are having their Constitutional rights restricted, that is a problem in search of a solution, not the other way around. Just last year, women in the military were granted the right to insurance coverage for an abortion in the case of rape or incest, thanks to provisions drawn from a previous version of this legislation.

It is unfathomable that it took until 2012 to treat our servicewomen in these circumstances fairly, especially since it is estimated that 300 military women become pregnant as a result of rape each year.

The MARCH for Military Women Act of 2013 will be an important step toward treating our servicewomen equitably by allowing them fair access to their constitutionally protected choice to use their own financial resources in seeking reproductive health care.

I refuse to apologize for fighting for the equal and fair treatment of the women and men who so honorably serve our nation.

Rep. Louise M. Slaughter, D-N.Y.

Washington, D.C.

WHY SO MANY ASSAULTS?

This week, the New York Times headline was “Sexual Assaults in Military Raise Alarm.”

The Washington Post cited: “The estimated number of military personnel victimized by sexual assault has surged by about 35 percent in the last two years.”

What could have possibly brought about such an explosion in sexual assaults?

Two years ago, Obama forced the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell against the advice of his Joint Chiefs and the will of our troops.

The reports about the 35 percent increase included a 33 percent increase in men reporting “unwanted sexual contact,” mostly from other men.

The Pentagon’s report says male victims are 12 percent of all victims making “unrestricted” reports, and 13 percent of those making “restricted” (confidential) reports.

Then there is the recent Air Force Times story [“Lt. col. charged with crime he was supposed to prevent,” May 20] about Lt. Col. Jeffrey Krusinski, the man who was in charge of sexual assault prevention for the Air Force who is now on trial for that crime.

How does the Defense Department address this growing epidemic?

How about a push to put more women in combat positions. Let’s not let base chapels talk about sex. Let’s pull Bibles out of base hotels.

Well ... that’s just great. We will all act surprised when the lights come on and the problem is even worse.

Senior Airman Joey Ford

St. Petersburg, Fla.

TAPE NOT 'GOOD ENOUGH'

With all due respect to recently retired Army Gen. Mark Hertling’s comments about the tape measurement being “good enough” [“Experts grade the tape test,” May 20] to determine fitness and therefore the ability to keep one’s career, being busy and with a lot to do are not reasons to end a career.

Considering the exacting detail that was expected from me to perform my duties as an aircraft structural maintenance technician, and to every other member who goes above and beyond, utilizing a tape-test measurement that is simply “good enough” is absolutely not good enough when it can lead to my career ending.

Your comments are hypocritical and offensive.

Tech. Sgt. Phillip Textor (ret.)

Dayton, Ohio

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