Trump under fire for taking stand against military gender intergration

Donald Trump speaking at the 2013 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland. (Gary Skidmore/flickr)

During NBC’s Commander-in-Chief forum in New York last week, Donald Trump was questioned about a statement made on Twitter three years ago, blaming sexual assault in the military on leaders who put men and women together.

Donald Day, a former Marine Corp radio operator , whose daughter decided not to join the military due to the high rape statistics, asked Trump how “he would “support all victims of sexual assault.”

“It’s a massive problem,” Trump said. “The numbers are staggering, hard to believe even, but we’re going to have to run it very tight. I at the same time want to keep the court system within the military. I don’t think it should be outside of the military, but we have to come down very, very hard on that. And your daughter is absolutely right, it is a massive problem, but we have to do something about that problem and the best thing we can do is set up a court system within the military. Right now, the court system practically doesn’t exist.”

According to the New York Times, Trump’s comments drew criticism from lawmakers and military experts, who said they displayed ignorance of the Pentagon’s decades-long struggle to curb such assaults.

“That’s more than victim blaming, and it misunderstands the historical role of women in the military,” said retired Col. Don Christensen, a former chief prosecutor of the Air Force.


Trump continued to defend his statement by saying, “right now part of the problem is nobody gets prosecuted.”

“You have the report of rape and nobody gets prosecuted. There are no consequences. When you have somebody that does something so evil, so bad as that, there has to be consequences for that person. You have to go after that person. Right now, nobody is doing anything. Look at the small number of results – that’s part of the problem.”

Despite criticism from leaders who stated Trump is ignorant of the issue, his statements seem to match up with publicly available sexual assault statistics.

According to reports generated by the DoD and the RAND Corporation, only 19% of the 20,300 reported sexual assaults offender were prosecuted and only 7% of them were convicted in 2014.

Trump’s correlation between the increase of women serving in positions with men in the military and sexual assault reports could not be substantiated.

“Over half the victims are men,” said Colonel Christensen, who is now the president of Protect Our Defenders, a military advocacy group.

Of the estimated 20,300 sexual assaults in 2014, roughly 10,600 of the victims were men, though women faced a higher rate of assault given their lower overall numbers in the armed forces.

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