As a former civilian social worker for the Air Force, I cannot help but weigh in on the national debate about how to reform the Department of Defense’s sexual assault policies.
Military servicewomen fight for our country and our rights yet are denied access to basic reproductive health care. They face shockingly high rates of sexual assault and rape, yet are denied access to legal services. We urge policymakers in 2012 to put politics aside and support the women serving our country through policies that put their needs and wellbeing first, as they do ours.
Part of the blame for the reluctance to report sexual crimes in the military rests with an unsympathetic military chaplaincy, one of the few places soldiers, sailors, reservists, national guardians, and marines can turn for counseling.
In an outrageous demonstration of just how little they know about sexual violence and rape, Concerned Women for America sent Senators a letter asserting raped servicewomen should not be offered abortion care as a “cure-all.” Saying abortion is a “cure-all” for rape is like saying a band aid is a cure-all for cancer. Tell CWA that there is no “cure-all” for rape and send them a band aid.
Servicewomen rely on the military for their health care, but under current policy they are left to fend for themselves if they become pregnant after being raped.
A new Presidential Proclamation makes no mention of the epidemic of rape in the military.