Chambliss: 'Hormones' a factor in military sex assault

US military commanders assemble for a congressional hearing on recent sexual assault cases in Washington DC, 4 June 2013

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A US Republican senator has been criticised for telling a congressional hearing military sex assault is partly down to "hormone levels".

Georgia Senator Saxby Chambliss made the remark at a panel on the issue, attended by military top brass.

Debbie Wasserman Schultz, chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, called on him to apologise.

It comes after a wave of sex assault cases and Pentagon data showing a rise in cases, from groping to rape.

"The young folks that are coming in to each of your services are anywhere from 17 to 22 or 23," Sen Chambliss told military commanders at Tuesday's hearing.

"Gee whiz, that's the level, the hormone level created by nature sets in place the possibility for these types of things to occur. So we've got to be very careful in how we address it on our side."

'Not about sex'

The senator added: "But guys, we're not doing our job. You're not doing yours and we're not doing ours with the rates that we are seeing on sexual assaults."

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This is not just absurd - it is outrageous”

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Senator Claire McCaskill, who has previously worked as a prosecutor on sex crimes, told the hearing "this isn't about sex".

"My years of experience in this area tell me they are committing crimes of domination and violence," the Missouri Democrat said.

After the hearing, Ms Wasserman Schultz took aim at Sen Chambliss.

"I think he should think about whether if, God forbid, a sexual assault happens to a daughter of his, would he think it's OK for a senator to just chalk the assault up to raging hormones," she told the MSNBC news channel.

Sen Chambliss' remarks came as other members of the Senate armed services committee expressed concern over the situation.

Senator John McCain said he could not "overstate my disgust and disappointment" over reports of sexual misconduct.

The Senate armed services committee is currently examining seven legislative proposals aimed at curbing the problem of sexual assault in the military.

One plan, put forward by New York Democrat Kirsten Gillibrand, calls for external special prosecutors to deal with military sexual assault cases, instead of continuing to let military commanders oversee the investigations.

But military commanders told Tuesday's hearing this would not be the right approach.

Senator Kay Hagan says no service person should have to fear assault

Some military leaders support a proposal from Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel that would stop commanders from overturning a military sexual assault verdict.

In recent weeks two military officers charged with curbing sexual assault in their ranks have been arrested for alleged abuse or harassment.

The Air Force has also been hit with allegations from dozens of female and male recruits that they were sexually harassed or raped by their instructors at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas.

Meanwhile, a Pentagon report released in May said 26,000 military personnel may have been sexually assaulted in 2012.

It said the number of reported incidents rose 6% to 3,374 in 2012, but that thousands more victims were unwilling to come forward.


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  • Comment number 36.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 35.

    28. DrRatters
    1 HOUR AGO
    Our beloved Prince Philip should join the Republican Party as an honorary member so he could speak freely and fit right in.
    Prince Philip had a highly impressive war record. Unlike Sen McCaskill Phil knows what he's talking about in matters military.

  • rate this

    Comment number 34.

    Sen. McCaskill is absolutely right in stating this is not about sex, but about domination and violence. The rapist who attacked me was so violent I truly thought I would be killed. He talked about sex, but he was enraged and angry. And, yes, he was a stranger to me. Sen. Chambliss is not clueless; he is willfully ignorant and incapable of representing his constituents.

  • rate this

    Comment number 33.

    Ok, let's assume the good senator is serious in this absurd statement. Assume that testosterone is the issue. Then, perhaps, we can seriously suggest that castration is the solution. That way, the senator might have enough balls to apologise.

  • Comment number 32.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 31.

    48 Minutes ago
    Its odd that there has been a "wave" of sex related assaults, rather than sporadic cases.


    The "wave" exists only because all the individual cases have been held back and that dam is finally being breached.

  • rate this

    Comment number 30.

    This is all because of forgetting the teachings of our Lord, Jesus the Christ. We must not depart from original Christian values. Women should take care of their families and children not go to do things which God has assigned as duties of men,

  • rate this

    Comment number 29.

    31 Minutes ago

    Did anyone notice five link new agencies 'Sen. Slammed'??!!


    I Did, but who expects corporate USA to show variation in headlines?

  • rate this

    Comment number 28.

    Our beloved Prince Philip should join the Republican Party as an honorary member so he could speak freely and fit right in. These people are unbelievable.

  • rate this

    Comment number 27.

    I think people should be careful to draw a line between someone saying 'look, this is part of the reason behind X, and while nothing can justify X, we should take that into account when looking at a solution", and someone trying to justify X and dilute the perpetrator's responsibility. From this man's statement, it's not so clear that he's in the latter category

  • rate this

    Comment number 26.

    @ubya308. Em, wanting money is what causes bank robbery. You think it is something else?
    Don't see what the big problem is here, putting forward a theory like this isn't a crime and shouldn't make the news in a country thousands of miles away, must do better BBC.

  • rate this

    Comment number 25.

    Examine all crime stats in military versus general population.
    Exam bio variables, phernomes, etc. Look at hypothalimus as example in human temperature management.
    See hearings as whipping post.
    Pray military can shoot possible as opposed to contemplating navel and other enlightenment.
    P.S. I'm bookmarking the 'extinct frog' article.
    Did anyone notice five link new agencies 'Sen. Slammed'??!!

  • rate this

    Comment number 24.

    Possible, if he means of power.

  • rate this

    Comment number 23.

    Its odd that there has been a "wave" of sex related assaults, rather than sporadic cases. Perhaps the military are putting something in their coffee, to make them more combative. Side effect being a flood of hormones that a soldier finds hard to manage.

  • rate this

    Comment number 22.

    Utterly idiotic comment. Yes the fact is that hormones make people want to have sex, but using them to excuse or even explain an horrific act is to dilute responsibility.

    Bank Robbers want more money, but wanting more money does not cause bank robbery.


  • rate this

    Comment number 21.

    As I write this, our male cat is cuddled up next to me. His habit of spraying urine around the house (driven by his hormones) was compromising his welcome.

    Removal of the source of the disruptive hormones has solved the problem.

  • rate this

    Comment number 20.

    When will USA deal with the tradition of rape and sexual assault in its schools colleges and unuversities? These harm a much larger number of victims than those in the military.

  • rate this

    Comment number 19.

    It's terrible when these young men, who must all be in the army for the most noble high reasons, cannot tell the difference between the right of killing sub human terrorists (and whoever might be in the way) and the wrong of having unsolicited sexual intercourse.

  • rate this

    Comment number 18.

    It seems to me that the US military is going through a period of change and at long last enlightenment. From a state of institutionalised bigotry it is beginning to address, albeit very slowly, Gay rights and sexual assault issues. This should be welcomed and now that the process is under way followed keenly to ensure it gets it act together.

  • rate this

    Comment number 17.

    Im not in anyway trying to downplay the problem the military has with sexual assaults but they're estimating 26,000??!?!? Im sorry, but thats EXTREMELY hard to believe. Where do they get these numbers?


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