Sexual assaults proceed to plague the navy

Two years in the past, the sexual harassment and homicide of Army Spec. Vanessa Guillén by a fellow soldier at Fort Hood introduced nationwide consideration to the navy’s issues with protecting service members protected.

Regardless of the additional scrutiny and congressional oversight, in addition to a $35 million lawsuit by Guillén’s household towards the Army, the Protection Division continues to lose floor in its conflict towards sexual assault.

On Aug. 29, the division launched its 2021 report on sexual assault within the ranks, and the numbers are troubling.

Fiscal yr 2021 noticed a “important enhance” within the prevalence of sexual assaults throughout the providers, with 8.4 % of active-duty girls and 1.5 % of active-duty males reporting they skilled some type of undesirable sexual contact within the previous 12 months.

These are the very best percentages for the reason that Pentagon started monitoring the numbers in 2006.

That’s an estimated 35,875 folks, up considerably from the 20,500in a 2018 report. And neither of these percentages embody the hundreds extra members of the family, mates and colleagues additionally affected by the poisonous results of sexual misconduct.

The Pentagon famous that the COVID pandemic delayed a number of the report’s surveying, and the survey was totally different from earlier years, which “disrupted the division’s skill to scientifically pattern to prior years’ sexual assault prevalence estimates.”

The providers obtained 8,866 studies of sexual assault, a 13 % bump from the earlier yr. The Army had the very best enhance.

Whereas extra reporting is an efficient signal, that information was tempered by a decreased price of reporting. The DOD estimates that about 1 in 5 service members reported their sexual assault in 2021, down from the 1 in 3 reported in 2018.

Then there’s the discovering that charges of sexual harassment, gender discrimination and office hostility spiked for active-duty girls throughout the providers.

No matter delays and survey modifications, the report is one more wake-up name for navy leaders.

Secretary of Protection Lloyd Austin has been proactive in combating sexual assault since taking workplace. In 2021, the DOD launched the Secretary’s Unbiased Evaluate Fee on Sexual Assault within the Army, which advisable 82 enhancements, however there’s extra work to be performed.

The report stated navy “commanders had enough proof to take disciplinary motion in 67 % of accused members’ circumstances.”

However Don Christensen, a retired Air Pressure colonel and former chief prosecutor for the service, stated that’s not sufficient. He leads Defend Our Defenders, a nationwide human rights group targeted on ending sexual violence within the navy.

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