Top general blames military’s sexual assault on “hookup culture.”

480px-General_Mark_A._Welsh_IIIFirst, the chief of the Air Force sexual assault prevention unit was arrested for sexual assault. Then the Pentagon released a report showing that sexual assault had jumped from 19,000 cases in 2010 to 26,000 in 2012. Now, we have the Air Force’s top commander, Gen. Mark A. Welsh III, saying that sexual assault happens all the time outside of the military and that it’s because of a “hookup mentality.” 20% of women report they had been sexually assaulted,

“before they came into the military…. So they come in from a society where this occurs…. Some of it is the hookup mentality of junior high even and high school students now, which my children can tell you about from watching their friends and being frustrated by it.”

It’s nice to know that this general moonlights as a cultural anthropologist who studies his own children. Maybe his kids can  testify as expert witnesses and explain how sexual encounters between consenting adults is responsible for sexual assault and rape. I feel so much better knowing that military high ups have such a nuanced understanding of their institution’s rampant and systemic rape and sexual assault.

In all fairness, Welsh isn’t the only person making totally ignorant and disturbing comments about the military’s rape epidemic. Donald Trump, always a source of inspiration and wisdom tweeted “26,000 unreported sexual assults in the military-only 238 convictions. What did these geniuses expect when they put men & women together?” So we can attribute rape to the hookup mentality and to men and women working together. We might as well throw in a “she was asking for it and shouldn’t have worn that dress” for good measure.

The thing is, we all expect offensive and outrageous drivel from The Donald. But I guess, by now, we shouldn’t be surprised by anything the military does (or doesn’t do) or says, when it comes to sexual assault and rape.


Born and raised on the mean streets of New York City’s Upper West Side, Katie Halper is a comic, writer, blogger, satirist and filmmaker based in New York. Katie graduated from The Dalton School (where she teaches history) and Wesleyan University (where she learned that labels are for jars.) A director of Living Liberally and co-founder/performer in Laughing Liberally, Katie has performed at Town Hall, Symphony Space, The Culture Project, D.C. Comedy Festival, all five Netroots Nations, and The Nation Magazine Cruise, where she made Howard Dean laugh! and has appeared with Lizz Winstead, Markos Moulitsas, The Yes Men, Cynthia Nixon and Jim Hightower. Her writing and videos have appeared in The New York Times, Comedy Central, The Nation Magazine, Gawker, Nerve, Jezebel, the Huffington Post, Alternet and Katie has been featured in/on NY Magazine, LA Times, In These Times, Gawker,Jezebel, MSNBC, Air America, GritTV, the Alan Colmes Show, Sirius radio (which hung up on her once) and the National Review, which called Katie “cute and some what brainy.” Katie co-produced Tim Robbins’s film Embedded, (Venice Film Festival, Sundance Channel); Estela Bravo’s Free to Fly (Havana Film Festival, LA Latino Film Festival); was outreach director for The Take, Naomi Klein/Avi Lewis documentary about Argentine workers (Toronto & Venice Film Festivals, Film Forum); co-directed New Yorkers Remember the Spanish Civil War, a video for Museum of the City of NY exhibit, and wrote/directed viral satiric videos including Jews/ Women/ Gays for McCain.

Katie is a writer, comedian, filmmaker, and New Yorker.

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  • Teresa

    DoD has a guideline on the acceptable pronunciation of “harassment.” Yes, they have to put it in writing, it must be pronounced HAIR-uhs-ment, because even the old white men in the Pentagon know the pushback against any sort of feminism will be immediate and relentless, and oh, so petty. They know the man in the mirror. General Welch gives this sort of statement because he can, and he knows it.

    This is why it frustrated me, the response to lifting the women’s combat roles ban. It was a huge win for us, even though the military-industrial complex sucks. Granted, everything they do turns out to be evil. But it’s the citadel of their entitlement to push us around, and we’ve struck them there, and I was forced to gloat alone.

    It’s the equivalent of us going to the he-man women hater’s club, and instead of knocking and being turned away once again, pushing the door in. And perhaps coincidentally, it’s where the lion’s share of the budget goes, go figure.

    If it meant nothing to them, why would they have fought it so hard? No, it strikes right to the core of the legion of men like General Welch. We need to keep making them shut up and sit down, over and over, and gloating like madwomen when we do.

    Xavier Onassis