“The Game – Unraveling A Military Sex Scandal”
As the only general officer in the past 20-plus years to conduct a command-wide investigation of sexual misconduct in its formations, my response to COL Spletstoser’s letter of August 27, 2019, is she is absolutely correct. I have commented on numerous occasions, “It is more dangerous to your military career to report sexual misconduct, than it is to participate in it.”
Secretary of the Army, Togo West, during a nationally televised news conference (1997) when talking about “The Aberdeen Sex Scandal”, said: “… what happened at Aberdeen was an aberration. The sexual abuse is not endemic throughout our Army. Sexual harassment, however, continues to be a problem.” I will let the past 20+ years of appalling lack of leadership and denial of the problem stand on its own history of fratricide. There are over 400,000+ male and female survivors to-date who bare witness to validate this institutional history.
The fact is, the primary focus of the Services’ senior leadership is two-fold: (1). Protect the brand, and (2) Protect the senior leaders. The troops see this. I continue to be told at every speaking engagement before military audiences that the perception in the ranks is “Senior officers and NCOs get off, while junior officers and NCOs get hammered.” As a result, they universally have little to no confidence that anything will be done if they report sexual misconduct as a bystander or victim— they don’t trust their senior leadership. This distrust is earned.
It is telling that in cases like COL Spletstoser, the survivor is called the accuser, not the victim. This is a blatant bias at the core of justice for survivors. To my knowledge, sexual assault is the only felony where the victim is termed the accuser. She will never have enough proof to overcome the “good ole boy general officer protective squad’. Statistics show that between 2-8% of victims are not telling the truth; that means 92-98% are telling the truth. Predators lie 100% of the time.
The focus of attention is on the political promotion of General Hyten, instead of the Services’ zero tolerance of sexual misconduct and care for the victim. This is a toxic and typical example of the price victims continue to pay every day when they come forward to report misconduct.
Is Hyten is the only candidate that can fulfill this posting? NO means NO. Zero tolerance means NO MORE.
MG Robert D. Shadley (USA, Ret), is the author of “The GAMe: Unravelling a Military Sex Scandal”