Sunday, March 10, 2013

Rape in the Military: an epidemic of assault and cover-ups

"The Defense Department has found that about one in three military women has been sexually assaulted, a rate twice as high as that among civilians."

"How am I supposed to go about reporting something when the person I'm supposed to report to is the person who raped me?"

These quotes come from an article from the New York Times published on the front page of today's Insight and Books section of the Austin American-Statesman: "Rape scandal shakes Air Force, reveals flaws in sex-crime justice."  The article includes the story of one of 62 Air Force trainees who were victims of sexual assault by Air Force instructors at Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio between 2009 and 2012, a young woman who is the first in this case to speak publicly about what she suffered. 

A feature article in the February 14, 2013 issue of Rolling Stone Magazine also goes into depth about this pervasive and devastating problem of sexual assault within the US armed forces and the ways that justice has been thwarted within the military.  Both men and women in the military may suffer sexual assaults, and, as one can imagine, a major problem is that military chain of command structures deter victims from reporting their assailants.  Victims also experience PTSD injuries from military sexual trauma, which can lead to myriad health and family struggles.

Despite the brave testimonies of assault victims and an increase in reporting about military sexual assault in the mainstream press, the rates of assault have not appeared to decrease in recent years.  Why?     

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