Sexual Assault and the Military

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The infamous Tailhook convention, during which 83 women and 7 men reported sexual assaults by military aviators, took place in 1991. See also.   Twelve years ago newspapers like the San Francisco Chronicle decried the high rates of sexual abuse that women serving in the military suffered. Ten years ago there was this. Seven years ago Congressional Rep. Lorrretta Sanchez noted “that we are facing a sexual assault crisis within our Armed Services.” Five years ago, news accounts of sexual assaults were just as horrifying. Three years ago, this and this as well. Less than two years ago, according to this account, “Col. Janis Karpinski told a panel of judges at the Commission of Inquiry for Crimes against Humanity Committed by the Bush Administration in New York that several women had died of dehydration because they refused to drink liquids late in the day. They were afraid of being assaulted or even raped by male soldiers if they had to use the women’s latrine after dark.” See also this, this, this, this, this, this, this, this and this. According to this site:

  • 27% of men have experienced military sexual trauma
  • 60% of women have experienced military sexual trauma
  • 3.5% of men have experienced military sexual assault
  • 23% of women have experienced military sexual assault
  • 11% of women have experienced rape
  • 1.2% of men have experienced rape
  • Service branch with the highest percentage of women reporting sexual trauma: Marine Corps
  • 20% of women seeking care at VA facilities have experienced sexual trauma
  • 1% of men seeking care at VA facilities have experienced sexual trauma
  • 8.3 percentage of women report lifetime PTSD related to MST
  • More than half of the incidents took place at a military work site and during duty hours
  • The majority of the offenders in these cases were military personnel
  • Factors that increase risk of sexual assault for active duty females include presence of officers who condone or allow sexual harassment and unwanted sexual attention

All of the above links relate to sexual assaults by members of the military on their colleagues. I’d need to write another even longer and more depressing (if that is possible) post to list even a fraction of the links relating to rape of civilians by members of the military. It doesn’t seem like women serving in the military now are any safer from assaults by fellow service members than they were fifteen years ago.

–Ann Bartow

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