Sexual predators filled last week's news. Three young women broke free from a Cleveland house where they had been imprisoned as sex slaves for a decade. And the Pentagon estimated that a sickening 26,000 sexual assaults were suffered by military personnel last year. And if that wasn't enough, the Air Force's assault-prevention chief was charged with assault. What a week.
A year previously, the Pentagon jolted America by estimating 19,000 assaults within the ranks in 2011. But that number was eclipsed by a new estimate of 26,000 in 2012 -- an average of 71 incidents per day.
Simultaneously, Lt. Col. Jeffrey Krusinski, 41, head of the Air Force's Sexual Assault Prevention and Response bureau, was charged with grabbing a woman on a parking lot and groping her body.
Senate Armed Forces Chairman Carl Levin said the arrest was "dramatic evidence of the need for the Department of Defense to act swiftly and decisively to address the plague of sexual assaults in the military."
A few months earlier, five instructors at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas were convicted of raping or molesting female trainees. An investigation identified 23 offenders and 48 victims at the base.
Meanwhile, in Cleveland, details emerged about the bizarre decadelong captivity of three female victims, one who had been abducted at age 14. They were bound and chained in separate rooms and raped repeatedly.
Of course, forcible sexual abuse of women has been a cruel problem since before the dawn of civilization. We don't know whether it's worse lately, or whether more females have become brave enough to report it.
Sex is a wonderful gift to humanity -- but twisted, perverted distortions of it are a curse. Safeguards and defenses against predators must be enforced strictly. Laws should be constantly tightened, and women encouraged to sound alarms.