Air Force Cites 54 Cases of Rape, Sexual Assault in Academy
Air Force Secretary James Roche revealed yesterday that there have been 54 cases of alleged rape or sexual assault at the Air Force Academy, and acknowledged that number was likely to be much higher, according to the Los Angeles Times. “The part that is the saddest,” Roche told the Senate Armed Services committee, “is that whatever the number is, 25, 50, there’s probably another 100 that we’ve not seen,” according to the Times. An Air Force Academy official tried to downplay Roche’s findings, saying, “Where does that number come from? We just don’t know,” the Times reports.
The Air Force is investigating claims by current and former women cadets that the Academy disciplined women who reported rape or assault, in some cases forcing them to leave. Senator Wayne Allard (R-CO), who has pressed the Pentagon for a more thorough investigation, said the current situation at the Air Force Academy is worse than the Navy Tailhook scandal of 1991 because “the entire support and legal system at the academy seems to have failed. We really do need to instill confidence in the system so victims know when they report rape, they know the rape itself will not jeopardize their career,” according to the Washington Post. Roche confirmed that the Superintendent of the Air Force Academy would retire in June, and that there would be several other retirements and transfers related to the scandal, according to Denver’s 7NEWS.
The scandal broke last month with an investigative report by 7NEWS. Since then, numerous reports of rape and sexual abuse, as well as mishandling by the Academy, have surfaced. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has come under fire for disbanding a panel that addressed sexual assault throughout the military. In February 2002, Rumsfeld allowed the charter on the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services (DACOWITS) to expire after anti-feminist reactionary groups claimed that the panel was fostering “radical feminism” and was no longer needed because “women had been fully integrated into the military,” the New York Times reported. Women make up about 18 percent of Air Force Academy cadets.
Media Resources: LA Times 3/7/03; New York Times 3/7/03; 7NEWS 3/6/03; Washington Post 3/7/03; Feminist Daily News Wire
10/31/2014 Federal Judge Exempts Another Catholic University from Birth Control Coverage - A federal judge ruled Tuesday that Ave Maria University, a Catholic university in Florida, does not have to comply with federal rules meant to ensure that covered employees can exercise their right to obtain birth control at no cost.
The Affordable Care Act requires all new health insurance plans to cover all FDA-approved contraceptives - such as the pill, emergency contraceptives, and IUDs - without charging co-pays, deductibles or co-insurance. . . .
10/31/2014 Women of Color in Tennessee Are United in Opposition to Amendment 1 - Just days before the general election in Tennessee, a coalition of community leaders, clergy, and advocates led a press conference encouraging women of color to vote no on Amendment 1, a dangerous and far-reaching measure on the state's ballot.
SisterReach, a grassroots organization focused on "empowering, organizing, and mobilizing women and girls in the community around their reproductive and sexual health to make informed decisions about themselves," organized the press conference "to call attention to the unique concerns Black and poor communities throughout Shelby County and across the state of Tennessee face on a daily basis" and to emphasize how the upcoming election "could further limit [black women's] reproductive, economic, political, and social autonomy."
"We assemble today to impress upon black women and women of color, many of whom are heads of households, to get out and vote," said SisterReacher Founder and CEO Cherisse Scott at the event.
SisterReach has been educating voters about the particularly dangerous impact of Amendment 1 on women of color. . . .
10/30/2014 Medication Abortion Access Threatened by Oklahoma Court Ruling - An Oklahoma state district court judge has refused to block a state law restricting medication abortion, clearing the way for the law to go into affect on November 1.
The Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, together with a local abortion clinic in Tulsa, challenged HB 2684 in September, arguing that the law was an unconstitutional restriction on non-surgical abortion in the earliest weeks of pregnancy. . . .