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The Military's Porn Problem

The Military's Porn Problem

While Congress ponders how best to deal with the growing number of sexual assaults within the military, one group thinks the solution starts with getting rid of porn.

Morality in Media, a faith-based group, argues that porn on military bases contributes to a hostile environment toward women, and it is pushing the Department of Defense to remove all promiscuous materials on its premises.

Organization president and former DOJ employee Patrick Trueman says that removing pornography from bases will send a message that the military does not stand for the sexual degradation of women. "Having this material available and actually sold, and therefore sanctioned by the military, sends a signal to the women in the military that the sexually exploitive nature in the military is acceptable,” he says.

In one sense, though, Trueman’s group is fighting a battle already won.

The Military Honor and Decency Act, passed in 1996 and upheld by the Supreme Court in 1998, already requires the DOD to remove all sexually explicit materials, porn included, from being sold and rented at exchanges, on ships, and at commissaries. But the law isn’t always implemented—and a wide variety of glossy porn magazines is still available for sale on bases.

Earlier this month, Morality in Media wrote a letter to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, asking for better enforcement. According to the group, he has yet to respond.

To prove their point about lackluster enforcement, Morality in Media at the same time published photos taken at bases blatantly displaying publications like Playboy andPenthouse for sale. One of the photos was taken at Lackland Air Force Base, in San Antonio, Texas, the site of a scandal where 43 females reported being sexually assaulted by their training commanders in instances dating back to 2009. Overall, according to a Pentagon report released earlier this month, there were 26,000 instances of sexual assault in the military in 2012, an increase from the year before.

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