Claire McCaskill Responds to Critics of Her Efforts to Combat Military Sexual Assault

Here is the full press release in response to Kristol's comments dismissing the sexual assault issue.

McCaskill Responds to Kristol's Comment that Military Sexual Assault Represents a 'Pseudo-Crisis'

WASHINGTON - U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill, a former prosecutor of sex crimes and senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, released the following statement in response to Fox News' and The Weekly Standard's Bill Kristol, who recently characterized ongoing attempts to reform military sexual assault as "pseudo-crisis of military sexual assault":

"Thousands of reported sexual assaults, and many thousands more sex-related crimes that go unreported--combined with a decades-long inability to seriously address the epidemic--constitutes a crisis. It's a crisis for our military, their morale, and ultimately our national security. For someone who's constantly pushing for additional U.S. involvement in conflicts around the world, you'd think Mr. Kristol would share our goal of ensuring justice for those who are doing the fighting. Instead, his comments illustrate that while there's growing support for our historic reforms, all of us fighting for significant change must continue our effort."

McCaskill, a former courtroom prosecutor, has relentlessly fought to combat sexual assaults in the military. Last month, a Senate panel voted to approve a number of historic reforms addressing sexual assault, including bipartisan, bicameral provisions by McCaskill that will significantly boost accountability for perpetrators and protections for survivors.

Read more about McCaskill's fight to stem sexual assaults in the military at

And here are scans of the full P-D ad.






Update, 1:46 p.m.: After publishing this post, Daily RFT heard from Brian Purchia, a spokesman with Protect Our Defenders who sends us this statement:

Senator McCaskill has been a champion for veterans - that's why it is so incomprehensible that she would stand in the way of reforms that victims themselves have been calling for. We felt it was necessary to speak out for all those current and past victims going through this ongoing national disgrace. The nation needs Senator McCaskill to be a leader for fundamental reform not opposition.

The Senator from Missouri is being singled out because of her recent statements:

-On Friday, Sen. McCaskill voiced her support for the status quo when she told The Nation that she wants to give widely condemned half measures five more years before considering common sense reforms that our top allies have already implemented, "If five years from now we're having fewer sexual assault convictions, if we have fewer reports of sexual assault that appear to be an anomaly in terms of the overall incidents coming down, I'll be first in line," McCaskill said. Sen. McCaskill has set the bar ridiculously low. She in essence is saying that, if five years from now, this epidemic is worse than it is today she will support fundamental reform.

-Furthermore, Sen. McCaskill also said, "if everybody in the unit knows the commander has said 'this needs to go to court,' that gives you (the victim) a level of protection you will never have when everyone knows a bunch of outside lawyers have bought your bull." Bull? She is not only attacking the competence and credibility of military prosecutors, her words seems to imply that a large percentage of the victims who report are lying.

-Last month, Sen. McCaskill incorrectly alleged on MSNBC that the Pentagon's Unwanted Sexual Contact statistics includes "somebody looking at you sideways and saying something about how nice you look in a sweater." This is not true. [Read DoD definition of unwanted sexual contact].

Sen. McCaskill is wrong regarding the reforms most urgently required to end the crisis of military rape. We have spoken to hundreds of survivors and they all say the same thing: their Chain of Command shut down the complaint, didn't believe them, threatened them with collateral misconduct, or discharged them with errant medical diagnoses such as "personality disorder. We are asking Senator McCaskill to reconsider and stand with victims and not the military leaders that have failed for decades to address the epidemic of military sexual assault.

Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Sam Levin on Twitter at @SamTLevin.

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