According to current Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, some 19,000 sexual assaults are alleged to have occurred in the military last year alone, but because of fears of retaliation, only 20 percent of those are reported. On Thursday night, Panetta was interviewed on NBC about the issue, which he called an “outrage.”
He once again pledged his commitment to confronting the issue, as he has repeatedly in the last year, announcing a slew of new measures, including the establishment of special victims units within every branch, new policies that would allow victims to transfer into a different unit, and—as of just this week—he ordered all branches to review their sexual-assault training and response programs.
But according to Burke and others, the changes don’t go far enough. “The reason we keep bringing more is because, despite the rhetoric and the show of good faith from Panetta, we still haven’t seen any obvious fixes,” Burke told The Daily Beast. “And they’re continuing to deprive people of their constitutional rights.”