(Washington, D.C.)– "Vietnam Veterans of America is enraged by the comments of FOX Network's Liz Trotta, who, in a February 12 edition of America's News HQ, challenged the Pentagon for its increased spending on programs for victims of sexual assault," said John Rowan, VVA National President. In response to a DoD report showing a 64 percent increase in violent sexual assaults since 2006, Trotta remarked, "Well, what did they expect? These people are in close contact."
"What did they expect?" said Marsha Four, chair of VVA's Women Veterans Committee. "I can tell you what we, as women, expected when we volunteered to serve our country during the Vietnam War. We expected to be treated equitably and with respect. Those of us who worked through the turmoil of the sixties and seventies fought hard for equal rights, and we are appalled that, decades later, those who serve our nation in the armed forces are still fighting for equal rights.
"Clearly Trotta is not in touch with the reality of sexual assault in the military, as she appears to be unaware that men also have had to endure this shocking assault," noted Four. "Further we do not believe that all the thousands upon thousands of men and women who serve this great nation engage in behaviour that is less than honourable when placed in situations where they must coexist. Trotta's comments are insulting to men and women alike."
Said Rowan, "Ms. Trotta's despicable commentary has sent a shock wave through the ranks of our membership and beyond. No institution in America condones the disgrace of sexual assault. It is not accepted in corporate America, nor is it on the streets of our towns and communities. Why should sexual assault in the military be anything less than criminal? As the Department of Defense grapples with the problem, it must take responsibility at all levels of command, and leadership must be held accountable."
"As veterans who fought to uphold our Constitution, we hold sacred all the rights it insures, said Rowan. "As such, we are appalled that Ms. Trotta would use the Fourth Estate as a vehicle to condone the criminal acts of some by contending that sexual assault in the military is 'expected' behavior. It is a disgrace that FOX would stand behind this type of commentary. Ms. Trotta owes the men and women of our military and those in the veterans' ranks an apology, and VVA believes FOX should demand it of her."