A recently released report from the Department of Justice shows just how many of our Airmen and women are being investigated for crimes. From January 2013 to December of 2014, 4,133 criminal cases were closed nationwide. At Hill Air Force Base that number was 82.
After we broke down the numbers, we learned a majority of the illegal activity highlighted in the report is related to sex crimes. We wanted to find out what's being done to help these victims and address this violent crime.
For Ali Hobson, it was a moment in time that changed everything.
"I had woken up to someone having broken in my house. He raped me," Hobson said.
Before that night, Hobson was a happy wife and mother living at Grand Forks Air Force Base in North Dakota. Her husband, Josh, was on deployment the night the rapist broke in to their home and violated everything Hobson held sacred.
"He ended up being, we found out days later, one of my husband's co-workers," she explained.
That man, Jory Hodge, was found guilty of rape. We were able to pinpoint his charge in that long list of crimes uncovered by a Freedom of Information Act request. Hodge was dishonorably discharged and now spends his days behind bars. We wanted to know what’s being done to try to stop these crimes from ever happening.
"Read my lips, the military must end rape in this country," said Congresswoman Jackie Speier. “this is a national disgrace. And the longer it goes unaddressed, congress becomes an accomplice in these crimes."
Rep. Speier just became the ranking Democrat on the Military Personnel Subcommittee. Since 2008, she’s stood in front of congress 29 times, demanding to see changes in the way military sexual assaults are addressed.
She says, not enough is being done. "the fact that women in the military are being raped and our government is turning a blind eye is disturbing enough. Even worse, it is not our enemies abroad who are committing these crimes. It's American soldiers abusing many of our own."
Rep. Speier’s dedication to change has helped create several amendments in the National Defense Authorization act that directly address sexual assault. The reforms will protect military trainees from abusive trainers, publically release misconduct reports and protect whistleblowers.
But Speier says there's still a lot more that needs to be done, so she will forge on. "I’m going to tell these women's stories on the house floor. And I’m going to keep telling them and telling them until something is done about it."
As Speier continues the fight in D.C., back here at home, hard-working advocates like Hill Air Force Base Sexual Assault Response Coordinator, Edie Davis are on the front lines of this battle. Ali and her husband Josh moved to Hill A.F.B. just months after the assault. Davis and her staff now work directly with the Hobson family.
"The personal decision to report a sexual assault is a personal one and a difficult one, so hats off to any survivor who comes to our office and reports a sexual assault," Davis said.
Davis said her team in the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office does more than just help victims; they educate their airmen and women about bystander intervention. When you see something, say something.
"It's also changing the culture to insure that we are respecting each other, treating each other like humans, having dignity and respect, living by our core values and by doing that we can reach an area where we are able to eliminate sexual assault,” she said.
Hobson said the work being done by these advocates is lifesaving. "Healing really is possible. It is a lot of work. It takes time, but it's worth it. It's worth it to put the work in."
She said, over time that work builds courage. "I feel like i am more powerful and confident and stronger than i have ever been and it's in spite of my rapist."
It's a tenacity she now uses to rebuild her family one day at a time.
If you would like to read the entire freedom of information act report, click here.
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