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As we've mentioned once or twenty times, the Pentagon has a bit of a problem with rape. Just how bad a problem with rape? Hard to say -- a 2013 Defense Department report estimated that about 26,000 members of the military were raped in 2012. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand has been trying to find out more about how the Pentagon deals with sexual assaults, so last year she asked the DoD for files on sexual assault at each of the four major services' largest bases from 2009 to 2013. After dragging its feet forever, the Pentagon finally gave her 107 case files -- from one year only, 2013. And even that limited information turned up a far greater problem with sexual assault in the military than the Pentagon has been willing to acknowledge, according to Gillibrand's report on the files, released late last week.


Even with the Pentagon's less-than-full cooperation, the files revealed serious problems, Gillibrand told the Associated Press:

The senator said her analysis of 107 sexual assault cases found punishments that were too lenient and the word of the alleged assailant was more likely to be believed than the victim. Less than a quarter of the cases went to trial and just 11 resulted in conviction for a sex crime. Female civilians were the victims in more than half the cases, said Gillibrand, an outspoken advocate for an overhaul of the military justice system.

Oh, and to make you that much more likely to throw your coffee mug across the room,* Gillibrand discovered that civilian women -- both spouses of service members and women who work or live near bases -- are often victims of sexual assaults by service members, but aren't even included in official DoD tallies of military sexual assaults. But that's not the Pentagon's fault, explained DoD spokeswoman Laura Seal, because Defense "does not have authority to include civilians in its surveys." It's not like civilian victims don't matter -- unless you look at how they end up getting treated in military rape investigations, maybe.

Take for instance the case of an Air Force enlisted man whose case Gillibrand reviewed (caution: awful details follow, because Jesus Christ these assholes):

In one of the cases ... an airman allegedly pinned his ex-girlfriend down and then raped her. During the investigation, two other civilian victims stepped forward to accuse the same airman of sexual assault. One of them, the wife of another service member, awoke in the night to find the airman in bed with her. Two of his fingers were inside her vagina. The investigating officer recommended the airman be court-martialed. If convicted, he faced a lengthy prison term.

But the investigator's superiors decided against a trial and used administrative procedures to discharge the airman under "other than honorable conditions." The Air Force said the victims preferred this course of action. Two of them had decided they "wanted no part in the case," according to the Air Force, while the third said she did not want to testify.

To Gillibrand, the outcome was suspicious and suggested the victims may have been intimidated.

It's also a fine example of the interfering fuckery by higher officers that led Gillibrand to introduce legislation that would have barred commanding officers from deciding whether serious crimes would go forward to court martial, and shifting such charging decisions to a panel of military prosecutors. That proposal was defeated in the Senate last year, but she plans to keep pushing for it, even though military types fret that it will interfere with the all-important "chain of command." Heavens, if commanders can't decide to let their men get away with rape, why even have a military? As All-American Torture Hero Allen West explained a while back, letting a bunch of radical feminists force the military to actually prosecute rape would be "an assault against the United States military." We'd make a joke about that, but Allen West is almost as impervious to irony as he is to logic and facts, so why bother?

Also too, Sen. Gillibrand is fairly certain that even the 107 redacted case files the Pentagon did turn over to her -- only after intervention by Carl Levin, the former chair of the Senate Armed Services Committee -- don't even reflect the full scope of sexual assault at the four biggest bases; she also plans to continue to press for the files from the other four years that she originally requested.

Yr Wonkette wishes Sen. Gillibrand luck in her continued investigations -- if only she could find a way to link them to Benghazi! -- but we're not terribly optimistic. After all, as any fool knows, that one Rolling Stone story was full of terribly shoddy journalism, so the growing consensus is that rape isn't a real thing anyway.

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*Replacements for angrily hurled mugs available here. You're welcome.

[AP / Kirsten Gillibrand report on Sexual Assault Report Files]

Doktor Zoom

Doktor Zoom's real name is Marty Kelley, and he lives in the wilds of Boise, Idaho. He is not a medical doctor, but does have a real PhD in Rhetoric. You should definitely donate some money to this little mommyblog where he has finally found acceptance and cat pictures. He is on maternity leave until 2033. Here is his Twitter, also. His quest to avoid prolixity is not going so great.

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