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Three US Navy Football Players Accused of Sexual Assault

Illustration for article titled Three US Navy Football Players Accused of Sexual Assault

This has been a devastating news month with regards to the military — within the past few weeks, it's become unequivocally clear that there is a sexual assault epidemic in the armed forces. And, as May draws to a close, yet another case has come to light: three US Naval Academy football players are currently under investigation for allegedly sexually assaulting a female midshipman last year.

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According to NBC News, the assault allegedly took place in a car last year, and one of the alleged assailants was the victim's boyfriend. The rest of the details are fairly nebulous: the victim initially reported the attack in 2012 — at which point the Naval Criminal Investigative Service launched an investigation — but she stopped cooperating with investigators four months later. This past February, she renewed her complaint.

According to Military.com, Naval Academy spokesman Cmdr. John Schofield has made the following statement:

Naval Academy leadership is monitoring the progress of this investigation and evaluating the appropriate options for adjudication. It is completely inappropriate to make any other public comment on this investigation or any ongoing investigation as we risk compromising the military justice process.

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At this point I, along with everyone in possession of a human soul, am so fucking disgusted and saddened and completely wearied by this constant stream of terrible news. Since May 6, two separate military personnel responsible for coordinating sexual assault awareness programs were charged with sexual assault. A third, who was the manager of the sexual harassment and assault program at Fort Campbell, Ky., was relieved of his duties following a domestic dispute. All of this occurred within the course of ten days.

This problem has become so rampant and egregious that President Obama has addressed it on multiple occasions, including exactly one week ago, when he gave a speech to — coincidence! — the U.S. Naval Academy graduating class. He urged each student to "live with integrity" and restore trust in the military:

We need your honor… we need values now more than ever. Even more than physical courage, we need your moral courage... Those who commit sexual assault are not only committing a crime, they threaten the trust and discipline that make our military strong.

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At this point, it seems that it's going to take a lot more than moral courage to restore anyone's trust in that institution.

"Three US Navy football players under investigation for alleged sexual assault, sources say" [NBC News]
Image via AP Images.

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DISCUSSION

Bears for President

I hate thinking this way but the more and more I read articles about this problem and just how wide-spread it is the more I think that the solution might not be able to come just from stricter enforcement, harsher punishments or a culture change(or, at least, not a culture change that was just limited to the military). I think there might be something fundamentally wrong with how the American military is put together.

Whether something's inherently wrong with certain parts of the cross-section that are willing to join an all-volunteer force that has seen its standards decline or the situations these people are put in with the high-stress/relative seclusion from the outside world I don't know but I just don't think other countries have this problem to this extent and I don't know I'm confident that anything short of a very serious look at the entire structure of the Armed Forces will solve it.