“The Sexual Assault Program In The Air Force Is A Joke”

by Jamison Koehler on November 2, 2012

The New York Times ran a story this morning about the lawsuit filed last month alleging that the Air Force has turned a blind eye to pervasive sexual attacks and harassment. The article focuses on Jennifer Smith, an Air Force technical sergeant, who is one of more than 500 women who have contacted my wife since she filed a series of lawsuits against the Pentagon beginning last year.

Smith describes one incident in which, after walking into the office of a senior officer at a U.S. base in South Korea, she was told to sit down and take off her blouse because she would be more comfortable that way.  In another incident in Germany, a sexual assault against Smith was only avoided after co-workers intervened.  When Smith complained about pornography and other graphic material on her unit’s computers at Shaw Air Force Base in South Carolina, she was warned by a supervisor to just stay quiet:  “I learned quickly that the enlisted females who do well,” the Times reports her as saying, “are the ones who keep their mouths shut.  It’s a career ender to come forward.”

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Lee November 3, 2012 at 11:01 am

Your entry said Jennifer Smith was one of more than 500 women who have contacted your wife since she filed a series of lawsuits last year. Who may I ask is your wife (Susan Burke?)? and is she representing Jennifer Smith? Isn’t Ms. Smith still active duty? I had always heard you cannot sue if you are active duty.
Please privately email me your response. Thank you

John December 1, 2012 at 7:58 pm

In the military, the “blouse” is a generic term for the uniform ABU shirt, male or female. All members wear a uniform t-shirt under their blouse, and it is normal to see airmen in their work areas without their blouse on. It is a perfectly innocent courtesy to offer one of your troops the option to remove their blouse to indicate the meeting is informal. Please do not confuse military vocabulary/courtesies with civilian connotations unless it’s your intention to resort to baseless, inflammatory remarks to prove your case.

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