US Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-GA)
WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Senator Saxby Chambliss said hormone levels created by nature may play a role in sexual assaults in the military.
Here are his comments during Tuesday's hearings at the Capitol:
The other thing we have to remember as we think about making changes to the UCMJ in this respect. The young folks that are coming into each of your services are anywhere from 17 to 22 or 23. Gee whiz, that's -- the level of -- the hormone level created by nature sets in place the possibility for these types of things to occur. So we have got to be very careful how we address it on our side, but guys we're not doing our jobs. You're not doing yours and we're not doing ours with the rates that we are seeing on sexual assaults.
Within minutes twitter was afire with tweets like this, 'Want to know what "rape culture" means? it's saying that rape is just bound to happen if women are around men.'
And 'Military sexual assaults are on the rise. Sen. Saxby Chambliss chalks it up to youthful exuberance. Really.'
And 'Todd Akin, is that you? Chambliss blames military rapes on 'the hormone level created by nature.'
Charlie Harper, the editor of conservative blog Peach Pundit and Goldie Taylor, a contributor on MSNBC weighed in.
Taylor says, "As a former Marine, I've got a couple issues with Senator Chambliss's statements. One, he spoke to the reasoning behind some of the military assault issues -- might be your duty assignment, your age, hormones, or just nature. And all four of those things really place the onus on the victim, not the perpetrator."
Harper countered with, "if we want to focus on one half of a sentence that was very inelegant and inarticulate, if you will, we're going to miss the real message. The real message was that there has to be change. This can't be accepted practice. And that is what he was saying."
Senator Chambliss's office released a statement saying he has sponsored several bills to stop sexual assault in the military. The statement did not address the hormones comment.
The nation's military leaders are insisting that commanders keep their authority to handle sexual assault cases.
Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the head of each branch of the military, told a Senate panel on Tuesday that commanders are critical to the legal system.
Dempsey said stripping commanders of some authority could adversely affect the mission.
Lawmakers led by New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand are pushing legislation to remove commanders from the process of deciding whether serious crimes, including sexual misconduct cases, go to trial.
Dempsey and the service chiefs made a rare joint appearance at a Capitol Hill hearing on the epidemic of sexual assault in the military.