Female Fights: #5 Air Force scandal

Vera H-C Chan
Yahoo! NewsDecember 3, 2012
Air Force sex scandal
Charges of sexual assault against female recruits at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas unearthed the Air Force sex scandal. Investigations found endemic abuse at the Air Force's primary training facility. (Eric Gay/AP Photo)

In 2012, women put up a good fight to defend their interests, even as others fought for their favor. Here are the year's top female fights, as measured by search volume and percentage spikes compared with 2011 on Yahoo!.

The crime of rape itself came into focus in the Air Force sex scandal at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas. A training instructor received a 20-year prison sentence for sexually assaulting his recruits, the first conviction in an ongoing investigation of 25 instructors accused of assaulting at least 49 women.

The scandal emerged as awareness about military rape was growing, partly due to the 2012 documentary "The Invisible War." Defense Secretary Leon Panetta also called for tougher prosecution in January, pointing out that while 3,191 assaults were reported in 2011, an estimated 19,000 incidents happen each year.

Lackland has had a "pattern of misconduct since 2002," reported the San Antonio Express-News. Besides the conviction, eight commanders were relieved of duty. The Air Force released recommendations to curtail future such behavior: Among them is the Wingman Program, which reportedly requires trainees to operate in pairs—a solution, critics say, that puts the "burden on victims."