The senator who has been the most vocal about how we must “believe all women” who make sexual assault accusations recently expressed anger to a decorated general because not everyone who is accused is convicted.
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), during a hearing to reappoint Gen. James C. McConville to the grade of general and to nominate him to be chief of staff of the U.S. army, claimed sexual assaults were on the rise in the military and convictions were on the decline.
“The percentage of cases that are ending in conviction are going down,” Gillibrand claimed. “I am tired of excuses. I am tired of statements from commanders that say ‘zero tolerance.’ I am tired of the statement I get over and over from the chain of command ‘we got this ma’am, we got this.’ You don’t have it. You’re failing us.”
Gillibrand trotted out a self-reported survey showing the number of women claiming they were sexually assaulted has risen about a percentage point. Gillibrand misleadingly presented this as a fact that sexual assault are rising. She also brought out the tired and debunked claim that “one in five” women are sexually assaulted.
AGAIN: That claim comes from self-reported surveys with broad definitions of what constitutes sexual assault. The people surveyed say they didn’t report their alleged sexual assault because they didn’t think it was serious. Since the majority of the “sexual assaults” involve merely “unwanted” behavior, it is easy to see why people who respond in the affirmative on such surveys also don’t think they’re actual victims.
But Gillibrand sees them all as “survivors.”
While the campus sexual assault “epidemic” (it’s not an epidemic, it’s a moral panic) gets most of the attention, Gillibrand has demanded the same lack of due process be applied in the military that she wants on college campuses. We can see from her anger over fewer convictions that she wants every accusation to result in a conviction.
But not every accusation is true. In the military, women – thanks to Gillibrand – have many incentives to lie or exaggerate claims against commanding officers. They can get reassigned to choice bases and other accommodations. One woman who was proven to have made up a claim about sexual assault was named soldier of the year, cheered as a hero and survivor, and received lifetime service-connected disability for her alleged Military Sexual Trauma, according to the accused officer’s attorney.
The woman, who is white, originally said she was raped by an “unknown black man” who broke into her house. After the accused man proved he was having a consensual affair with the woman – with video evidence – she changed her story and claimed he forced her into a relationship and then into prostitution. When the accused provided additional evidence that she initiated the relationship and the two were on good terms, she changed her story again to claim she only had sex with him because she wanted a baby and therefore the sex was not consensual.
After another recent false allegation, a female blogger and former West Point cadet was ordered to pay the retired Army colonel she accused $8.4 million.
Perhaps there are many more stories like this (I know of many not mentioned here) and that is the reason the conviction rate in the military is going down. But in Gillibrand’s world, all women are telling the truth and so every accusation should lead to a conviction.