It’s time to reverse this absurd policy and, at a minimum, give servicewomen the same rights as any other woman covered by the federal government. That’s why we’re enthusiastically backing an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that would allow for a rape and incest exception. The amendment is expected to be offered in the U.S. Senate soon. We urge Illinois’ two senators to support this basic act of fairness.
Servicewomen have lacked a rape exception since 1981, with a brief respite under President Bill Clinton. Meanwhile, the number of assaults against women have skyrocketed. In 2010, nearly 3,200 sexual assaults were reported in the military, a number that studies show represents just a fraction of total assaults.