It looks like Sen. Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III decided to give his fellow Armed Services Committee member, Saxby Chambliss, a run for his money to see who could make the most absurd statement during the hearing on sexual assault in the military this Tuesday.
Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL) detoured from a line of questioning about sexual assault in the military to raise the possible connection between the availability of pornography on military bases and sexual attacks on servicemembers.
Sessions joined the Senate Armed Services Committee in time for its second panel of the day, having missed the first session due to a conflicting meeting of the Budget Committee. Once there, Sessions wasted no time diving into the issue, asking several questions of the assembled military commanders in the panel.
During his questioning, however, Sessions brought up his concern that access to pornography on and around military bases was creating “problems” among the soldiers, sailors, and pilots:
SESSIONS: Mr. Chairman, I’d just add a letter, a document here that was given to me from Morality in the Media. Pat Truman used to be in the Department of Justice. I knew him when he was there. He points out that, a picture here of a newsstand and an Air Force base exchange with, you know, sexually explicit magazines being sold. So, we live in a culture that’s awash in sexual activity. If it’s not sold on base, it’s right off base. There are videos and so forth that can be obtained, and it creates some problems, I think.
Sessions then immediately segued into asking questions about the panel’s responses to sexual assault situations, asking what they would do if “you had a female soldier who had felt she was assaulted by an NCO, higher rank,” leaving his previous comments hanging in the air. He didn’t return to them during the rest of his questioning, leaving his full meaning unclear. However, while a few studies have found that pornography makes men more sexually aggressive, there’s no real-world evidence bearing out the claim that this translates into sexist attitudes or sexual violence. In fact, many more recent studies have been unable to show causation between viewing pornography and carrying out sexual violence. Read on...