WASHINGTON -- Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) criticized the military on Sunday for its prevention of and response to sexual assaults in the armed forces, and praised the women there for their work.
"I want to salute the women who serve and are putting up with too much crap," he said on "Fox News Sunday." "This needs to end. When a victim comes forward, they should have an advocate to walk them through the military justice system. And commanders who allow this to continue to flourish, quite frankly, should be fired."
A report released by the Pentagon earlier this month found there are an estimated 26,000 people in the armed services who were sexually assaulted last year.
Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), appearing on the same segment, also had harsh words for the military on its handling of sexual assault. He said he wanted "to salute the women of the Senate" for their response, since many have spoken out about the problem. He also said women in military service must feel comfortable stepping forward and know that they will get support.
Military sexual assaults are "unacceptable and intolerable, and those who are engaged in it will pay a price," Durbin said.
President Barack Obama responded to the Pentagon report earlier this month.
"The bottom line is, I have no tolerance for this," he said. "If we find out somebody's engaging in this stuff, they've got to be held accountable, prosecuted, stripped of their positions, court-martialed, fired, dishonorably discharged -- period."
Graham praised Obama's response.
"The president spoke well of this problem, it is a disgrace to the United States military, and the women in our military are needed now more than ever, and they're putting up with way too much," he said. "It needs to end."
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