Speier Tackles Increase in Military Sexual Assaults


WASHINGTON (San Francisco Chronicle) — One day after a Pentagon report revealed a jump in military sexual assaults, more evidence has emerged of disturbing behavior directed towards female service members.

Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) issued a letter last week to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, Marine Commandant James Amos and Inspector General Lynne Halbrooks, alerting them to a Facebook page displaying content degrading female members of the US Marine Corps. She urged that action be taken.

The background wallpaper for one particular page shows a woman’s breasts, and includes numerous pictures depicting women in various forms of nudity and being verbally and sometimes physically abused. The page also includes images of women taken without their permission, inviting commenters to add their own captions. Many of the pictures imply women only advance professionally by performing sexual favors and otherwise promote the idea that women are inferior and only useful as sexual objects and sandwich makers.

Speier added that the sexual assault numbers show reforms to be “woefully insufficient” thus far.

“The military cannot eradicate this problem without fundamentally changing its approach, including its tolerance of participation in these kinds of websites,” she wrote.

According to reports, a whistleblower alerted Speier to the site. The Facebook page in question has since been taken down, but contained more than 10,000 likes and hundreds of comments on various photos.