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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  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 56.

    @53 curtains
    Chambliss identifies the problem as gathering a large number of poorly educated, 17-22 year olds together and not putting additional preventive measures in place. This is likely to create an atmosphere where sexual assault rates rise.

    Everyone else in the article and the thread are suggesting that the problem is the high rate of offences. This is the effect, not the cause.

  • Comment number 55.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 54.

    @Peter_Sym:

    I repeat, killings of Iraqi and Afghani children by US troops are documented facts. It's curious that you consider the reporting of facts - easily veriable on the Internet should you choose to learn something - as "leftwing". Is it "rightwing", therefore, to lie and deny history?

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 53.

    51.Kevin Morice
    2 Minutes ago


    He doesn't say this is a valid excuse for their subsequent behaviour. He actually identifies the problem and specified that they should be taking extra measures to deal with the problem.


    +++

    What took USA to deal with the problem, given that (in UK) I've known about it for years?

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 52.

    Rape is rape and nothing can excuse it!

    Stop making excuses and accept it's wrong!

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 51.

    Yet another story spun out of implying someone said something they didn't. All he does is state that 17-22 year olds have high hormone levels driving them to be reproductive. That is basic biological fact!

    He doesn't say this is a valid excuse for their subsequent behaviour. He actually identifies the problem and specified that they should be taking extra measures to deal with the problem.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 50.

    If we cannot entrust the military with normal testosterone, how on earth are we supposed to entrust them with the rather male-designed, male-looking military weapons used to liquidate the so-called "enemy".
    Why is sexual assault such a problem?
    Are we really sending such juvenile boys into combat - to prove their masculinity?

  • Comment number 49.

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

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 48.

    #46 Indeed. Its worth noting the British army used to hang rapists on the spot. My regt was about 10% female & ANY misconduct (consensual or not) was a severe issue. As a result there was no misconduct.

    Indeed having seen the consequences of rape as a weapon (the Balkans really were a barrel of laughs) I'm pretty much convinced those doing it aren't human.

  • Comment number 47.

    All this user's posts have been removed.Why?

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 46.

    44.Peter_Sym
    3 Minutes ago
    If you'd ever served you might know what you were talking about rather than spouting offensive left wing nonsense.

    P.S Have a look at how the Taliban treat Afghan women or what Iraqi soldiers did in Kuwait.


    +++


    Rape is a weapon of war where the other side is seen as less than human. e.g. Sunni vs Shia vs Alawite.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 45.

    I know this may sound really dispicable of me, but it isn't that far fetched that DNA (not hormones) compel people to behave this way. Depending on how you were raised up, our sensory+emotional experiences shut off certain DNA nerves based on reactions. Like an unborn child in a mother's womb who will end up an addict because the mother experienced stress. It's like a "misfire", not hereditary.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 44.

    #43 I spent my 19th birthday escorting an aid convoy into Sarajevo. I'm sure most of those getting the food were muslim kids. Most soldiers are neither baby killer nor rapists. If you'd ever served you might know what you were talking about rather than spouting offensive left wing nonsense.

    P.S Have a look at how the Taliban treat Afghan women or what Iraqi soldiers did in Kuwait.

  • rate this
    -3

    Comment number 43.

    @Peter_Sym, #38:

    "Offended" are you? The killing of Iraqi and Afghani children (and women, incidentally) by US troops *of all hues* is no insinuation but a simple statement of fact. Where have you been?! If anything's offensive, it's your inept attempt to whitewash history.

    To be clear about what I meant about "brown-skinned" children, I'm talking about Muslim children in these two countries.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 42.

    The senator's comments are so offensive and indicative of a deep ignorance of the nature of sexual assault and rape. Sexual assault and rape are an expression of anger/rage toward women ... period. His comments are offensive to men as well; "my hormones made me do it" ...as if men are rutting animals and have no higher brain functions to control themselves.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 41.

    40.deathadder
    6 Minutes ago
    Many people particularly males will persisit in thinking that rape is committed by lusty males who are so sexually powerful ( a positive picture) with women so sexually attractive that how could this sexy man resist


    +++

    Don't forget the promotion of rape by the USA's tradition that sees it as normal and not to be reported. I.E. a traditional right.

  • rate this
    +3

    Comment number 40.

    Many people particularly males will persisit in thinking that rape is committed by lusty males who are so sexually powerful ( a positive picture) with women so sexually attractive that how could this sexy man resist, that it is labelled a 'sex crime'.In reality it truly is a crime of violence usually committed by someone so lacking in self esteem that this is their way of feeling powerful.

  • Comment number 39.

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

  • Comment number 38.

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

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 37.

    Don't forget the way that girls are portrayed as "hot" in USA, even in media aimed at children.

 

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