The military’s embarrassing sexual assault crisis

(Jason Reed/Reuters)

One was embarrassing. Two was disturbing. Three? It's a sign that the military's sexual assault prevention program is fast losing all credibility, and may even need to be scrubbed and started over.

I'm speaking, of course, of the third--yes, third--leader of a military sexual assault prevention or response program to come under fire for his treatment of women in the last two weeks. The first, an Air Force sexual assault prevention officer, was charged with groping a woman in a parking lot. The second, a sergeant first class in charge of handling sexual-assault cases at Fort Hood, Tex., is being criminally investigated over allegations of abusive sexual contact. And now, the Associated Press is reporting that the manager of the sexual assault response program at Fort Campbell, Ky., has been arrested after turning himself in on charges of stalking and violating a protection order.

As I reported Wednesday, maybe one of the reasons--among many--that the military is having so many problems curbing the number of sexual assault cases is that it has assigned the prevention of sexual assault cases to special units rather than making it a top priority for each unit's senior operating officers. Yes, it can re-screen and re-train the officers in charge of these programs all it wants. But maybe one of the answers is to not have sexual assault prevention officers in the first place. Let's make the prevention of sexual abuse in the military the job of the people truly in charge.

Jena McGregor is a columnist for On Leadership.

Read also:

Obama says military commanders ‘ashamed’ about sexual assault, vows to leave no stone unturned

Sex assults in the military: An epidemic that is being ignored

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Jena McGregor writes a daily column analyzing leadership in the news for the Washington Post’s On Leadership section.
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