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Petitioning Editor, Editorial Page, The Wall Street Journal Paul A. Gigot and 4 others

The Wall Street Journal Editorial Board: Stop Denying the Crisis of Sexual Assault in the Military

Our military is facing a sexual assault crisis. And this week a prominent opinion writer for the Wall Street Journal, James Taranto, made it worse. Taranto referred to efforts to reduce sexual assault in the military as "becoming an effort to criminalize male sexuality.” Framing the campaign as a “war on men,” he used terms like “hanky-panky” and “sexual recklessness” to describe potential sexual assault, belittling the seriousness of the crime.

More than 19,000 sexual assaults occurred in the military in 2010 and nearly one in three military women report unwanted sexual assault. Taranto’s victim-blaming is a slap in the face to those survivors and the people who love and respect them. We deserve responsible media coverage that addresses this ongoing crisis, instead of denying it.

The Ms. Foundation for Women and the Service Women’s Action Network are outraged. Help us send a message to the Wall Street Journal that women will not tolerate hateful rhetoric and sexist doctrine on the opinion pages. Sign our petition calling for the disciplining of Taranto and a formal meeting with the Wall Street Journal’s editorial board.

As Taranto’s writing makes clear, we have much more to do to end the culture of acceptance of violence against women.

Letter to
Editor, Editorial Page, The Wall Street Journal Paul A. Gigot
Deputy editor, The Wall Street Journal Daniel Henninger
Deputy editor, The Wall Street Journal Bret Stephens
and 2 others
Assistant editor, The Wall Street Journal James Freeman
Managing editor, The Wall Street Journal Gerry Baker
James Taranto’s June 17 opinion piece, “Gen. Helms and the Senator's 'Hold'”, was deeply offensive to women’s advocates and expressed a disconcerting lack of understanding of the seriousness of sexual assault. We find such hateful rhetoric highly inappropriate for a newspaper of the Wall Street Journal’s caliber.

We call on you to formally meet with the Ms. Foundation for Women and the Service Women’s Action Network to correct the impression that efforts to end sexual assault in the military constitute a “war on men.” We further ask you to censure James Taranto for his acceptance of sexual assault.

The best form of justice for survivors is a commitment to cultural change that puts an end to sexual assault.

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