In Tuesday's Senate Armed Services committee hearing, Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) defended rape and sexual assault that occurs in the military, saying:
"The young folks coming in to each of your services are anywhere from 17 to 22 or 23. Gee-whiz, 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 on our side."
Well, gee-whiz. So Sen. Chambliss is arguing that 26,000 sexual assaults in the military in 2012 is just a case of "boys will be boys."
What could be more offensive, to men and women alike, than claiming that rape and sexual assault are somehow natural?
It's this type of thinking that truly endangers our service members and blocks any semblance of true reform to end sexual assault in the military.
It makes a dismissive generalization about the experiences of survivors of sexual assault in and outside the military.
Reports have shown the reality of sexual assault in the military and the numbers truly speak for themselves:
• In one week, three military officers assigned to manage sexual assault prevention programs were arrested on charges including sexual assault, forced prostitution, and stalking.
• A fourth investigation has been opened on a sergeant first class accused of filming female cadets in bathrooms and showers without their knowledge or consent.
• A recent Pentagon report estimated that there were at least 26,000 cases of military sexual assault in 2012 - a six percent increase over 2011.
• A Department of Veterans Affairs report estimated that more than 85,000 veterans were treated for sexual assault last year.
• And disgracefully, according to the Associated Press, 1 in 5 women and 1 in 100 men will endure sexual assault trauma while in the military.
Sen. Chambliss now joins Todd "Legitimate Rape" Akin, and Wisconsin state Rep. Roger "some girls just rape easy" Rivard (R), in sharing some of the most egregious and dangerous positions about rape and sexual assault survivors. But then again, we shouldn't be shocked.
Boys will be boys, right?