Senator Martha McSally (R-AZ) had a storied career in the Air Force, becoming the first woman to lead a fighter squadron in battle. She has had ups and downs as a politicians, first narrowly losing to Democrat Kyrsten Sinema in the 2018 midterm elections then being selected to replaced John McCain after he died. Now on Capitol Hill, she revealed today during a Senate hearing on sexual assault in the military that she was raped by a superior officer.
“Arizona GOP Sen. Martha McSally says she was raped in Air Force by a superior officer”https://t.co/xcf1IccHtL
— Josh Kraushaar (@HotlineJosh) March 6, 2019
Women have the right to serve our country and fight along side men in the military. It’s incumbent on military leaders to make sure they’re protected. As much as I hate invoking the phrase “rape culture,” it’s evident that there’s a severe problem, not just with the men who prey on women in their units but also with the military hierarchy that has developed over the decades to protect men committing these crimes.
It’s not dissimilar from the problem in the Catholic Church. A vow of silence among the brotherhood protects these criminals for the sake of protecting the reputation and unity of the entity itself. But that unrighteous protection does real harm for the sake of a perceived and false good with public perception. Crimes are crimes and under no circumstances should any institution, whether it be a business, a church, the military, or the government itself do anything other than expose and punish those who harm others.
McSally’s bravery today underlines a core issue in this problem. She has demonstrated both strength and courage throughout her life, yet even she was so worried about backlash and a corrupt system that she didn’t report the heinous crime allegedly committed against her. If she was unwilling to step forward, how many other sexual assaults are either swept under the rug or never reported at all?
Some would argue that women in the military is a bad thing. While I’m totally against the idea of drafting women in times of dire need, any woman who chooses to serve her country by fighting alongside men in the military should be allowed to do so. We do not live in a society that condones sexual misconduct simply because a woman is present where men believe she shouldn’t be.
The United States military should be the shining beacon of integrity. There will be bad people in any sufficiently large enough group, but the system must protect the people within it regardless of how powerful the people are who are committing the crimes.