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National NOW Times >> Spring 2003 >> Article

Military "Don't Tell" Policy Hushes Up Sexual Assault

After intense media exposure, congressional pressure and public outcry, the U.S. Air Force Academy has removed four top officials who presided over the current sexual assault cover-up.

Dozens of current and former female cadets at the Air Force Academy have come forward to report the academy's mistreatment of women who were raped or sexually assaulted by male cadets.

"Feminists are tired of hypocrisy from the high command and the code of silence that is imposed on the victims," said Lt. Col. Karen Johnson USAF (Ret.), NOW Executive Vice President. "It's time for the Department of Defense to hold its leaders accountable, restore discipline to the troops and put its money behind eradicating the violence against women."

"Those of us who have served proudly in the military know about discipline and following orders," Johnson continued. "I can only assume that the orders against assault and rape have not come down from command leaders and that the policies are not taken seriously."

"The military's 'zero tolerance' policy against abuse means nothing unless there is the will and the funding—from the highest levels—to enforce that policy," said Johnson.

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