Representatives knock Sen. Saxby Chambliss' comments on sexual assault

U.S. Select Committee on Intelligence ranking member Sen. Saxby Chambliss on November 16, 2012.

Story highlights

  • Chambliss suggested hormones may be partly responsible for assaults in the military
  • The Georgia senator commented in a hearing on sexual assaults in the military
  • He was criticized by representatives from both parties
  • Criminals, not hormones, are the cause, says an Ohio congressman

Representatives from both political parties on Tuesday slammed U.S. Sen. Saxby Chambliss after he said that hormones may be partly responsible for sexual assaults in the military.

His controversial comments came during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on the subject.

Addressing top military officials, Chambliss, R-Georgia, said: "The young folks that are coming into each of your services are anywhere from 17 to 22-23. Gee whiz -- the hormone level created by nature sets in place the possibility for these types of things to occur.

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"So we've got to be very careful on how we address it on our side, but guys, we're not doing our job. You're not doing yours, and we're not doing ours with the rates that we are seeing on sexual assaults.

"As I said to start with, you recognize it. We recognize it, and we got to figure this thing out because we simply can't tolerate it."

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The response was swift.

Republican Rep. Mike Turner, co-chairman of the military sexual assault prevention caucus, issued a statement saying criminals, not hormones, cause sexual assaults.

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"Perpetuating this line of thinking does nothing to help change the culture of our military. We must be focused on combating this issue directly. The numbers speak for themselves," the Ohio representative said.

Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Florida, called for Chambliss to apologize.

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"For a United States senator, or anyone, to write off sexual assault and the personal violation of a woman or a man to the raging hormones of youth shows just how dramatically out of touch the Republican Party is," she told MSNBC.

"I think he should think about whether if, God forbid, a sexual assault happened to a daughter of his, would he think it was OK for a senator to just chalk the assault up to raging hormones?"

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