Wednesday, May 8, 2013

It's time for a change; sexual assaults in the military MUST end

There won't be anything witty about this particular blog, folks. I know you come here looking for witticisms, but alas, you won't find any here today.

The recent revelation about the rise of sexual assault in the military has me disgusted. More than disgusted, even. I'm steamed, heated, and pissed off to the fact that there are a number of individuals--notice I'm not using an ad hominem attack--that wear our country's uniform and defend us who, I'm sad to say, have no regard or use for the word "no."

This isn't false indignation, folks. This hits close to home for me, and according to the article, it hits home to the 26,000 soldiers that have dealt with inappropriate sexual contact during their time in the service.

I've written that my cousin Tara is my hero. Tara's four years older than I am, and I've always looked up to her, even though now I tower over her by a good five inches or so (OK, one witticism sneaked through the censors). When Tara was a senior in high school in the early 1990's, the late Senator Ted Kennedy nominated her to be one of Massachusetts' representatives to the Air Force Academy. We were all thrilled for her. She wanted to become an astronaut, and I hoped that her dream would come true one day.

But during her time in Colorado Springs, something occurred to her. I think you know what that is. She was sexually assaulted in 1994. Ten years or so ago, she testified before a Congressional committee about sexual assaults in the military.

As you can see by the recent revelation, nothing has been done: if anything had been done, the number of sexual assaults would have decreased instead of increased. At least that's what logic tells me.

So what should be done? Where do we begin? My cousin wants solutions. She wants this to end. I want this to end. I don't want anyone else to be a statistic.

We have a huge problem in this country. It's called violence. We are a violent society. This really isn't a secret. But when a huge secret is exposed, like the secret exposed recently, it's time to come up with solutions. Some may mock and say there isn't a problem, or that I'm bashing the military, but numbers do not lie: 26,000 soldiers experienced unwanted sexual, violent conduct between 2010 and 2012.

That is 26,000 too many.

That could be your brother, your sister, your cousin, sexually assaulted while serving your country. An aunt or an uncle. It could be your best friend, and they can't tell you. Do you really want this for them, or do you want change?

I have one solution: it's time to change the way we do business. It's time for some transparency between the military and the public so we can figure out how to solve this problem. Tomorrow wouldn't be soon enough to start changing this. I urge you to contact your senators and your representatives in Congress.

It is time to change, before anyone else becomes harmed by this.