Target: Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel
Goal: Applaud the appointment of a distinguished female general to head the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office in a time of unprecedented sexual assaults within our armed forces
The United States Air Force has announced that it has appointed Major General Margaret H. Woodward as the new Director of the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office. This encouraging announcement comes at a time when the Armed Forces are under public scrutiny for an alarming rate of sexual assaults on service members. It is heartening to see the Air Force respond to this crisis by appointing a distinguished female service member to head this important office, and we wish her the best.
The Armed Forces are currently in the midst of a sexual assault crisis. 2012 witnessed a startling total 26,000 reported sexual assaults, a six percent increase over the prior year. The prior head of the Air Force’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office was arrested for sexual assault himself. The Pentagon’s own internal healthy survey reported that an estimated one in five women in the armed forces had suffered a sexual assault or unwanted sexual contact from a fellow service member, and that was with a considerable rate of under reporting. Victims of sexual assault often fear retaliation for reporting their assailants, especially if they are higher in rank, and the investigation of accused assailants remains at the discretion of commanding officers, further hampering the administration of justice.
In this very trying time for the men and women of our armed forces, it is heartening to see the appointment of a distinguished female service member to this important office. A member of the Air Force since 1983 and the commander of U.S. Air Operations in the recent Libya campaign, Major General Woodward brings considerably greater experience to her office than her predecessor, and it is hoped that she will set both a better example of conduct, and be devoted to her duties in investigating, prosecuting, and preventing sexual assaults. Please add your voice and commend the U.S. Air Force for appointing Major General Woodward to this important office.
Dear Secretary of the Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel,
I would like to commend the United States Air Force for appointing Major General Margaret H. Woodward to the position of the Director of Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office. The appointment of a distinguished female service member at this time when the Armed Forces are dealing from a horrific number of sexual assaults sends the message the leaders of our military are taking these assaults, and the underlying sexual prejudices that lead to so many of them. I applaud you and the other leaders of het Armed Forces for her appointment to this important post.
Major General Woodward brings both great experience to this position, and increased diversity to the military leadership. It is my hope that, as Director Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office, Major General Woodward will address the ongoing issue sexual assault in the Air Forces, and set an example for the other branches of the Armed Forces for handling this crisis.
[Your Name Here]