Fox news correspondent Liz Trotta has left me speechless. Literally. I have been sitting staring at this screen for 30 minutes, typing insightful introductions to this blog. For example: “AAAHHH!!”, “AARGGG…”, “REALLY?!?!?!”. Liz Trotta recently joined Fox news host Eric Shawn to discuss the recently released report addressing high rates of victimization perpetrated against women in the armed forces. Trotta seemed surprised by the interest in this report, saying, “Now, what did they expect? These people are in close contact…”. If that alone made you as upset as it made me, you might want to take a deep breath before reading the rest of her statement. [Click to continue reading Trotta’s statement and our commentary].
TROTTA: But while all of this is going on, just a few weeks ago, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta commented on a new Pentagon report on sexual abuse in the military. I think they have actually discovered there is a difference between men and women. And the sexual abuse report says that there has been, since 2006, a 64% increase in violent sexual assaults. Now, what did they expect? These people are in close contact, the whole airing of this issue has never been done by Congress, it’s strictly been a question of pressure from the feminist.
And the feminists have also directed them, really, to spend a lot of money. They have sexual counselors all over the place, victims’ advocates, sexual response coordinators. … So, you have this whole bureaucracy upon bureaucracy being built up with all kinds of levels of people to support women in the military who are now being raped too much. [Text found here]
What did they expect? Most likely they expected that while they were working to protect their country, that the military would be working to protect them. They probably expected that being in close contact with people wouldn’t translate into increased opportunity for them to be sexually assaulted and raped. Can you imagine if we told that to someone who was raped on a busy subway car? “There were lots of people on that subway car, what did you expect”. I bet these victims also expected that their perpetrators would be held accountable, instead of given a free pass, like the one Trotta has offered.
I’m interested to know how many times someone needs to be raped to be raped too much. I think one time is too much. One time, for one person in a community. One person anywhere. Recently the Center for Disease Control released the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS) which reported that there are over 2 million female victims of rape who live in California. Just rape victims, just in one state. I think that this is 2 million more than should ever occur.
Trotta also addresses all of these feminists who have encouraged the government to spend all of this money on sexual assault services. Two problems here. First, the government isn’t readily pouring money into this field. The President’s budget proposal completely removes the Public Health Block Grant, which would eliminate millions of dollars in funding for sexual assault prevention and intervention, commonly referred to as the Rape Set Aside. Rape Prevention Education (RPE) money has been in jeopardy, experiencing over 40%in cuts in the last year. In California, the state budget only allots $45,000 to all rape crisis centers in the state. 30,000 survivors accessed intervention services last year, which means the state only allocated $1.50 per victim served.
Second, she may be down on the feminists, and all of the work they are doing to bring this issue to the forefront and to get victims the help that they need. I, on the other hand, am proud to stand alongside my colleagues, peers, advocates, and CALCASA member agencies as we work to advance our valuable social justice work. Liz Trotta has only reminded me that we have more work to do, and that our voice in advocating for victims, enlisted and civilians, is more important than ever.