WASHINGTON — The Pentagon said Thursday the number of suicides in the US Army fell last year for the first time since 2004, but that sexual assaults increased.
A report on health issues in the largest branch of the US military said the number of suicides among active service members and reservists fell to 278 in 2011 from 304 in 2010. Among only active Army soldiers, the total rose by five to 164.
“I think we have begun the process in the Army of destigmatizing behavioral health issues and that to me is absolutely critical, that people who need help get the help that they need,” said General Peter Chiarelli, Army vice-chief of staff.
The report was issued amid concerns about stress faced by soldiers after years of conflict in Iraq and Afghanistan, which has meant frequent combat tours for many service members.
The document also noted that the number of sexual assaults continued to rise to 2,290 in 2011. That is up 64 percent from 2006. In six out of 10 assaults, the aggressors had been consuming alcohol.
Most of the victims were female soldiers in their first 18 months of service, with most knowing their attacker.
The report also cited a sharp increase in cases of domestic violence and child abuse involving service members.
Chiarelli said post-traumatic stress (PTS) is linked to many of these issues: many of those injured in combat have suffered brain trauma, which has been linked to aggression.
“A person diagnosed with PTS is three times more likely to participate in some kind of partner aggression,” he said.
“That is why it is so critical to eliminate the stigma associated with PTS and get people in for treatment, whether for alcohol problems, drug abuse problems, prescription-drugs abuse problems, anger management problems, or spouse and child abuse.”
‘Go look at President Trump’s Twitter’: Portland right-wing rally organizer claims ‘mission success’
The organizer of a far-right rally in Portland, Oregon claimed the event was a "success" after President Donald Trump attacked Portlandiers protesting the group.
"A confluence of protesters on opposite ends of the ideological spectrum merged on Portland’s waterfront Saturday in a tense but relatively uneventful face-off that brought national attention, including a tweet in the hours before the protest by President Trump decrying the city’s signature anti-fascist movement," the Oregonian reported Saturday.
When a similar right-wing rally in Charlottesville, Virginia killed Heather Heyer, Trump argued there were "fine people" on both sides of the "Unite the Right" rally.
Why was Jeffrey Epstein buying size 5 women’s panties — while in jail?
The Miami Herald has another bombshell report on Jeffrey Epstein, who died in a Manhattan jail while waiting to stand trial on federal sex crimes charges.
"A decade ago, during a brief stint in Palm Beach County Jail, convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein made an odd purchase at the facility’s store: two pairs of small women’s panties, size 5," the Herald reported Saturday night.
The newspaper noted, "the panties raise questions about why a childless male inmate, accused of sexually abusing girls as young as 14, would be allowed to buy female undergarments so small that they wouldn’t fit an average-sized adult woman."
White nationalist Republican ridiculed after only 2 people show up for his town hall meeting
Embattled Rep. Steve King (R-IA) suffered further humiliation on Saturday when only two people showed up for his town hall meeting with Iowa constituents.
King, who was stripped of all committee assignments for his white nationalism, was been an embarrassment for Republicans with his constant racism and misogyny.
A photo of the town hall meeting was posted on Twitter by Reuters photo editor Corinne Perkins.
Rep. King was quickly mocked in the comments.
Here's some of what people were saying: