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Naval Academy speech addresses sexual abuse issues

At the Naval Academy, the senior midshipmen took part in a ceremony that would allow them to officially be commissioned into the Armed Forces. The Defense Secretary spoke to them, and among other things, addressed the issues of sexual abuse in the military. He encouraged those who listened to try to put an end to it in any way that they could, specifically targeting the things that they had learned.

For example, he said that their leadership skills could be beneficial in taking on this issue. There have been previous cases of sexual abuse in the Navy, with one of the most high-profile cases happening in the previous year. At the conclusion of that case, the justice system that the military uses was even altered as a response.

He said that all who were in the military were responsible for taking action. It did not matter if they had just gotten in, like those who were at the heart of the ceremony, or if they were 4-star admirals who had been there for years.

A recent case involved a number of players from the football squad. The accusations against them included abusing a female midshipman who had been drinking. Thought it happened off-campus, it was a big issue within the military since it showed what some members had to experience. The incident was not directly brought up, however.

Whether alleged sexual abuse takes places within the military or within a civilian setting in Baltimore, those who are accused still have rights as citizens of the United States, ensuring that they get a fair trial and the right to appeal an unfavorable verdict.

Source: The Baltimore Sun, "Hagel to Naval Academy graduates: Take the lead in eliminating sexual assault" Pamela Wood, May. 23, 2014

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