Report: More Than 70 Military Sexual Assaults Per Day
A new report on sexual assault in the military seems to suggest that it’s something of an epidemic:
Sexual assaults occurred at an average of more than 70 per day in the United States military during fiscal year 2012, according to an annual report being released Tuesday by the Department of Defense.
Reports of sexual assault in the military rose during October 2011 through September 2012 by 6 percent from the prior year, with a total of about 26,000 service members experiencing unwanted sexual contact. Nearly 7,000 more service members reported unwanted sexual contact than in the year prior, when about 19,300 members of the military reported inappropriate sexual contact.
Of the unrestricted reports of sexual assault in fiscal year 2012, 35 percent were for abusive and wrongful sexual contact, 28 percent were for aggravated sexual assault and sexual assault and 27 percent were for rape.
Little went on to emphasize the Pentagon’s “zero tolerance” policy for sexual assault. According to Tuesday’s report, of 1,714 service member subjects — or reported perpetrators — action was taken on 1,124, 66 percent. This includes 594 cases in which the military initiated court martial proceedings, barely more than the 590 cases in which it was determined that command action was not possible or was declined altogether. For 388 of these, the DOD found “insufficient evidence of a crime to prosecute or unfounded.” For 196 cases, “victims declined to participate in justice system.”
Only 3,374 cases of 26,000 estimated sexual assaults were reported — a reporting rate of just under 13 percent. Of the victims who did report an assault, Turner noted, some 62 percent felt they were revictimized or retaliated against for reporting their assault.
“When you have a culture that tries to hide the crime, it absolutely encourages it,” he said.
Clearly, this is completely unacceptable, and the fact that it happens to coincide with news of the arrest, on sexual assault charges, of the officer supposed to be in charge of the Air Force’s sexual assault task force just makes it all the more embarrassing for the Pentagon.