The nation's top military officer says he believes the rise in sexual assaults in the military is linked to a longstanding ban on women serving in combat roles — a ban the Pentagon is now eliminating.
Gen. Martin Dempsey is chairman of the Joint Chiefs. He said Thursday the assault problem is due partly to the military's separate classes of personnel -- male 'warriors' versus the rest of the force, including women.
Dempsey says the sexual assault problem is more complicated than that, but he indicates the disparity between the roles of men and women in the military has created a psychology that lends itself to disrespect for women.
Treating the genders equally, he says, is more likely to lead people to treat each other equally.