Protect Our Defenders News Blog


Statement From Protect Our Defenders President Nancy Parrish on End of Exclusion of Women in Combat

January 23, 2013
Contact: Brian Purchia,



TSgt Jennifer Norris, USAF Ret, Tailhook whistleblower, Paula Coughlin-Puopolo and other military sexual assault survivors ask Chairman of House Armed Services Committee, Rep. Buck McKeon to hold 
series of hearings, to fully explore the reasons Lackland and similar abuses are occurring and what must be done to prevent them

Washington DC –
 Protect Our Defenders President Nancy Parrish today released the following statement in response to news that Defense Secretary Leon Panetta will announce on Thursday the end of the exclusion of women from combat.


“We applaud Defense Secretary Panetta and President Obama on this momentous decision to allow women to serve with men in combat. This is a historic day in American history and a great way to begin 2013. But, this will not solve the ‘epidemic’ of sexual assault in our military, as survivor and Protect Our Defenders Advocacy Board member TSgt Jennifer Norris reminded Congress today, 53 percent of the victims of sexual assault in the armed forces are men. Fundamental reforms must be made this year to take the reporting and investigation outside the chain of command.”


San Antonio Express-News: Hearings on Lackland are long overdue

San Antonio Current: Advocates: Lackland hearings should spark reforms, not more empty promises

NBC News: Civil Rights Commission urged to order audit of military sex-assault cases

NBC News: Air Force sexual abuse trial gets underway *Jennifer Norris profile

WOAI News: Congress will Probe Lackland Sex Scandal

ABC News: Activists Demand Congress Hold Open Hearing on Air Force Sexual Assaults

Paula Coughlin-Puopolo’s petition demanding Congress investigates the Lackland sexual assault scandal can be viewed here:

Contact info for the House Armed Services Committee:
Claude Chafin, (202) 225-4151

About Protect Our Defenders: Protect Our Defenders is a human rights organization.  We seek to honor, support and give voice to the brave women and men in uniform who have been sexually assaulted while serving their country, and re-victimized by the military adjudication system – a system that often blames the victim and fails to prosecute the perpetrator. Learn more about Protect Our Defenders at or on Facebook at or follow us on Twitter at        

Protect Our Defenders partners with Attorney Susan Burke, Burke PLLC to advance lawsuits filed against the DoD and service academies for repeatedly ignoring rape, sexual assault and harassment, failing to prosecute perpetrators and retaliating against the victim.