WASHINGTON (AP) — Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is vowing to stop what he calls the "insidious crime" of sex assaults in the military -- but also to make sure victims are not neglected in the process.
Hagel left the Pentagon today to visit the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network's Washington office, which has a contract with the Defense Department for the Safe Helpline -- a crisis support for sexual assault victims that provides live information and support online and via phone and text. The Pentagon says more than 20,000 people have sought help through the Helpline.
Hagel listened as the group's staff walked him through an online chat session and watched workers take calls and respond to victims on computers set up in front of a bulletin board full of thank you notes from victims. He later told workers they should take time to read those notes as a reminder of their important and difficult work.