Tags: Pentagon | military | sex assaults | common | survey | Hagel

Pentagon: Military Sex Assaults More Common Than First Reported

By    |   Thursday, 04 Dec 2014 04:29 PM

A new and extensive survey of members of the military found that the number of violent sexual assaults and rapes occur at a far higher rate than many previously believed, the Military Times reported.

Of the 170,000 U.S. troops surveyed by the Rand Corp. and the Defense Department, 20,000 reported "at least one incident of unwanted sexual contact" — about 5 percent of all active-duty women and 1 percent of men, the Military Times said.

But by using a new survey methodology, the military determined a much higher number of those reports were not simply unwanted contact but "extremely violent acts," according to the Military Times, which added that "nearly half the assaults reported by women and 35 percent reported by men were "penetrative sexual assaults" — violent crimes that include rape and penetration with an object.

The report was sent by outgoing Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to President Barack Obama on Tuesday and showed sexual assault reports were up 8 percent over 2013.

"Over the past three years, we have taken aggressive action to substantially improve our sexual assault prevention and response program," Hagel wrote in a memo sent to Pentagon brass, the Military Times noted. But he said there remained "much work to do," to stop such attacks from happening.

Reforms now lie in the hands of the president, who has called on the military to curb the sexual assaults and change its military justice practices. Assault prosecutions currently are handled through the chain of command, CBS News reported.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, a New York Democrat, has work hard to urge her Senate colleagues to move prosecution into the hands of trained military lawyers, CBS reported.

She will get a chance to broaden her push for reforms soon as a new secretary of defense gets confirmed and as Congress takes up a new military appropriations bill for 2015, CBS noted.

Congress last approved a set of reforms designed to stymie such assaults and improve reporting in December 2013, according to The Washington Post. Gillibrand noted at the time that she hoped to create "the most victim-friendly criminal justice system in the world."

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A new and extensive survey of members of the military found that the number of violent sexual assaults and rapes occur at a far higher rate than many previously believed, the Military Times reported.
Pentagon, military, sex assaults, common, survey, Hagel
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2014-29-04
Thursday, 04 Dec 2014 04:29 PM
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