In Trump’s Commander In Chief interview with Matt Lauer, the questioner asked the candidate about a tweet Trump made in 2013 regarding sexual assaults in the military.
LAUER: “In 2013, on this subject, you tweeted this, quote, ‘26,000 unreported sexual assaults in the military, only 238 convictions. What did these geniuses expect when they put men and women together?’”
TRUMP: “Well, it is — it is — it is a correct tweet. There are many people that think that that’s absolutely correct. And we need to have a…”
LAUER: “So this should have been expected? And does that mean the only way to fix it is to take women out of the military?”
TRUMP: “Well, it’s happening, right? And, by the way, since then, it’s gotten worse.”
Aside from misunderstanding the causes and nature of rape, Trump also left out a few important details about the statistics that he gave. In 2014, 20,300 soldiers reported that they were the victims of sexual assault while in the military. What Trump didn’t tell you is that 10,600 of those victims, or 52%, were men. At least 85% of the aggressors were men as well. While the rate of assault is much higher among women, men make up 85% of US soldiers and 52% of the rapes.
Trump has a deep lack of knowledge on the causes of sexual assault. By and large these incidents are not about sex, but about power and control. Many of the sexual assaults, especially among men, are in the context of hazing, not of sexual pleasure.
Men and women have been working together in the military since its inception. The rates of sexual assault on both sexes have risen significantly in recent years, and the increased assaults on men by men would not be impacted by the rising numbers of women in the military.
Additionally, Trump suggested that a military court system be set up in to deal with these reports. “The best thing we can do is set up a court system in the military. Right now, the court system practically doesn’t exist,” Trump said. That would be a great thing for President Trump to set up, if George Washington hadn’t already done it in 1777.