Maj. Gen. Margaret Woodward, USAF’s Top Weapon Against Sexual Assault

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I love finding a story within a story, don’t you?

It’s no secret that sexual assaults in the military are on the rise, 26,000 in 2012, up from 19,000 just 2 years prior. I knew about recent bad headlines, like the U.S. Air Force Lt. Colonel who left his desk as director of the sexual assault response unit last May and decided to grope a woman he’d never met before, according to the officers who arrested him for sexual battery. Hell of a story.

Military leaders are frustrated, embarrassed, and under big heat from Congress and the public. What I didn’t know is that the Air Force’s expanded focus to curb sexual assault will be led by a woman. Margaret Woodward is one tough Major General, and, you guessed it, a NotMom. Her husband is a retired Air Force brigadier general

If piloting C-130 cargo planes and C-135 refueling tankers doesn’t impress you, add in that General Woodward commanded a wing at MacDill AF Base and the 17th Air Force in Ramstein Air Base in Germany. She led NATO’s air campaign over Libya in 2011, too.

Now she’s charged with encouraging more airwomen and airmen to report assaults and follow cases through to prosecution. The spotlight on her work couldn’t be brighter. From the start, she’s confessed that she’s may been part of the problem in the past, ignoring red flags with people under her command. Her bio confirms it; the Air Force is her life.

It’s truly hard to imagine the world General Woodward thrives in, except for the fact that she has no children. If NotMoms have “extra time” available to them, she’s chosen to use hers for the good of the entire nation. I wish her luck in her new job.

Image Credit: DOD/Glenn Fawcett

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