‘Sexual Assaults in Army on Rise’ is the headline of a page-one report in today’s Washington Post.

The article reports that ‘allegations of sexual assault’ in the Army have ‘climbed steadily’ over the last five years and that the problem ‘has been abetted by weak prevention efforts, slow investigations, inadequate field reporting, and poor managerial oversight.’

These are the insights gleaned from a new report, released May 27, on sexual assaults in the military. The report was ‘sparked by complaints from women’s groups and female lawmakers about an apparent increase in reported assaults against U.S. servicewomen in Iraq and Afghanistan.’

With all respect to the complaining ‘women’s groups,’ the problem isn’t primarily one of poor oversight. The problem is the gender-integrated nature of the modern military. The last thing I want to do is defend any bum who treats any woman as less than a lady, but the military is to fight wars, not to achieve some gender-quota Utopia.

The Independent Women’s Forum has a long history of speaking out on the issue of women in the military. One of our areas of concern has been gender-integrated training, which inevitably gives rise to sexual mishaps. 

In 1999 testimony before Congress, former IWF president Anita Blair emphasized the importance of realistic, single-gender training programs in the military. She spoke of the impact of sexual problems on our military preparedness in general.

‘Stress on the military forces, which arises from many causes, is hurting readiness,’ said Blair. ‘One undeniable source of stress is the confusion and distraction caused by the unavoidable issues associated with gender-integration. Unfortunately, this burden falls heaviest upon some of the hardest working and most dedicated service members, those who train new recruits.’

On the issue of women close to the front lines, I would like to add a thought. Military combat is assault, and that is why we don’t need to have women in the line of assault. We should not willingly put women in the position of being assaulted by the enemy either.