Tuesday, April 24, 2018
Editorials

Editorial: Military sex assault affects thousands of men

With an estimated 26,000 sexual assaults committed in the U.S. military last year, conventional wisdom might suggest women would represent a majority of victims. But that conventional wisdom would be wrong. While a higher portion of women than men are sexually assaulted, a recent Defense Department study notes that men account for 53 percent of all sexual assault victims. And that number may be underreported, as male troops who fear the stigma of being labeled a victim of sexual assault suffer in silence. The alarming rates of sexual assault of both men and women bolster the case for pursuing the investigation and prosecution of sexual assault claims outside the immediate chain of command.

The crisis of sexual assaults within the military and the Pentagon's inability to deal with it effectively remains unacceptable. In 2010, 19,000 sexual assaults were reported before the figures reached a peak in 2012. Before the 2011 repeal of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy prohibiting openly gay military personnel from serving, many male sexual assault victims declined to report attacks for fear that they would be viewed as homosexual and removed from active duty.

Nothing can be more disruptive to maintaining good order and discipline within the ranks than the threat of a sexual assault at the hands of a fellow soldier. A recent move by Senate Armed Services Committee chairman Carl Levin, D-Mich., to scuttle a provision to give military prosecutors, rather than the immediate chain of command, greater leeway in pursuing sexual assault allegations was shortsighted and did not help the situation.

The men and women in the nation's military are in harm's way enough without having to also fear they could be sexually assaulted and then have no independent path for investigation and prosecution available to them.

Comments

Correction

CorrectionCircuit Judge John Stargel of Lakeland is a member of the Florida Constitution Revision Commission who voted against a proposed amendment that would have stopped write-in candidates from closing primary elections. An editorial Saturday inco...
Published: 04/23/18
Editorial: Pruitt sets new low for ethics at EPA

Editorial: Pruitt sets new low for ethics at EPA

Not too many people took then-candidate Donald Trump seriously when he famously campaigned to "drain the swamp" as president. But that shouldn’t give this administration a free pass to excuse the behavior of Scott Pruitt, the administrator of the Env...
Published: 04/22/18
Updated: 04/23/18
Editorial: Allegiant Air still has safety issues

Editorial: Allegiant Air still has safety issues

Allegiant Air’s safety record remains troubling, and the Federal Aviation Administration’s reluctance to talk about it is no more encouraging. Those are the key takeaways from a 60 Minutes report on the low-cost carrier’s high rate of mid-flight brea...
Published: 04/21/18

Editorial: Women’s work undervalued in bay area

Even a strong economy and low unemployment cannot overcome the persistent pay gap affecting full-time working women in Florida. A new report shows women in Florida earned 12.5 percent less on average than their male counterparts, and the disparities ...
Published: 04/21/18
Editorial: Florida’s death penalty fading away on its own

Editorial: Florida’s death penalty fading away on its own

Florida lawmakers may never take the death penalty off the books, but stronger forces are steadily eroding this inhumane, outdated tool of injustice. Court rulings, subsequent changes to law and waning public support have significantly suppressed the...
Updated: 11 hours ago

Editorial: A missed chance for open primary elections

The Florida Constitution Revision Commission did a lot of things wrong this week by combining unrelated or unpalatable provisions into single amendments that will appear on the November ballot. It also wasted an opportunity to do one thing right. The...
Published: 04/20/18
Updated: 04/23/18
Editorial: New Cuba president is chance for new start

Editorial: New Cuba president is chance for new start

For all the symbolism, Raul Castro’s handoff of the Cuban presidency this week amounts to less than meets the eye even if his handpicked successor, the Communist Party functionary Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez, is the first person not named Castro to le...
Published: 04/20/18
Editorial: When they visit Nature’s Classroom, kids are right where they belong

Editorial: When they visit Nature’s Classroom, kids are right where they belong

The Hillsborough school district planted a fruitful seed with the opening of Nature’s Classroom five decades ago on the cypress-lined banks of the Hillsborough River northeast of Tampa. • The lessons taught there to some 17,000 sixth graders each yea...
Published: 04/20/18

Editorial: Equality pays off on Southwest Flight 1380

The passengers of Southwest Flight 1380 can be thankful that, 33 years ago, the U.S. Navy took the lead on equal opportunity.Capt. Tammie Jo Shults was piloting the flight from New York to Dallas on Tuesday when an engine exploded, blowing out a wind...
Published: 04/19/18
Updated: 04/20/18
Editorial: Why single-member districts would be bad for Hillsborough commission

Editorial: Why single-member districts would be bad for Hillsborough commission

Anyone looking to make Hillsborough County government bigger, costlier, more dysfunctional and less of a regional force should love the idea that Commissioner Sandy Murman rolled out this week. She proposes enlarging the seven-member board to nine, e...
Published: 04/19/18
Updated: 04/20/18