Opinion Politics

Opinion: Trump is not educated on military sexual assault or the involved judicial system

Photo by U.S. Army.
Written by Dylanni Smith

On Sept. 7, Republican presidential nominee Donald J. Trump and his opponent Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton discussed their individual policy plans during the “Commander-In-Chief Forum,” hosted by NBC’s Matt Lauer. As was to be expected, Trump is being highly criticized for statements made during his interview time slot, especially those made regarding sexual assault in the military.

A member of the audience rose from his seat and explained to Mr. Trump that his daughter had quickly decided against joining the United States military when she heard of the alarming statistics on sexual assault within the armed forces. He expressed his concern for rape of women in the military, and asked: “As President, what specifically would you do to support all victims of sexual assault in the military?”

The Republican candidate quickly regarded the subject as a “massive problem” that needs to be taken care of immediately. He then mentioned that should he win the presidency, he will create a working military court system to deal with these allegations and cases efficiently.

The problem? The U.S. already has one. According to The New York Times, a “military justice system has been in place in some form since the 1774 British Articles of War.” Trump’s lack of knowledge on this makes voters, such as myself, question the amount of research politicians actually do on the history of current working systems in America, such as the military justice system.

During the forum, Lauer also brought attention to a controversial tweet Trump had posted May 7, 2013. It reads, “26,000 unreported sexual assaults in the military-only 238 convictions. What did these geniuses expect when they put men & women together?”

He stands by that tweet to this day, stating it is “absolutely correct.” Sorry, but once again he is not correct.  According to the Washington Post, the Pentagon released reports in both 2012 and 2015 that stated “more than half of service members who reported experiencing some form of unwanted sexual contact, including sexual assault, were men.” The report also states that most of these assaults were done by another man. Men and women serving together is no cause to the majority of cases in which men are the victims.

In the two minutes Lauer focused on the topic of sexual assault in the military, Trump simply did not have his facts straight.  I would not be so critical had he used correct statistics and alluded to the issue of man-on-man man sexual assault within the armed forces. However, due to his lack of knowledge of the military justice system and the current statistics of sexual assault within the armed forces, I am very disappointed in the Republican nominee for president.

About the author

Dylanni Smith

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