Rep.: Military sexual assault rooted in culture

Updated
A protest rally against the US military in 2008
A protest rally against the US military in 2008
Toru Yamanaka/AFP/Getty Images

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On Thursday, New York’s Democratic Sen. Kristen Gillibrand led the effort for changes in the way the military handles sexual assault cases. Gillibrand, an Armed Service Committee member proposed a bill that would take military sexual assaults out of the chain of command.

“When you look at the mission of the military and military culture, which is about aggression and about war,  it shouldn’t surprise us at all that sexual assault would surface as a huge issue that they’d [the military] need to look at,” said Democratic Rep. Gwen Moore, of Wisconsin, a survivor of sexual assault herself. “We need to look at whether the chain of command can deal with the multitude of issues that arise in sexual assaults.”

The advancement of women in the military contributes to growing resentment from their male counterparts, perhaps contributing to the almost 70 unreported assaults that occur each day, Moore said. Downplaying the assaults as a “rights of passage” or “horseplay” are just excuses, she said, for the behavior that needs to be erased by balancing the aggression in the military with discipline.

Moore highlighted the legal departments and representations available to women in service who may struggle with whether to report attacks and said that more will soon be coming.

Rep.: Military sexual assault rooted in culture

Updated