Women in the US Military Face Sexual Violence and Harassment
Monday, April 7, 2008 1:42 PM

The US Defense Department recently released reports regarding the prevalence of sexual violence. Service members filed almost 2700 sexual assault reports, which is slightly fewer than last year. Of the reports filed, 705 cases were under the restricted program, which means that the victim uses support services without pursuing a criminal investigation. A little over 100 of the victims decided to pursue a criminal investigation. According to Representative Jane Harmon, 218 perpetrators were charged with administrative action; for example, confinement to quarters or discharge. She also noted that a third of the cases charged were later dropped because of  insufficient evidence.

Another report of 23,595 respondents surveyed sexual harassment and gender relations. It found that 34% of women and 6% of men say they have experienced sexual harassment during active duty, and about 7% of women and 2% of men experienced unwanted sexual contact.

Congress mandates this reporting every four years. The Army had the highest percentage of unwanted sexual contact, and the Air Force had the lowest percentage. Additionally, as a woman’s rank increased, the likelihood of harassment decreased. Almost all of the respondents (about ninety percent) claimed to receive “effective” training on sexual harassment and sexual assault.


Compiled from: Mixed News on Sexual Violence in the Military,” Family Violence Prevention Fund, 1 April 2008 and “Serving the Country at the Risk of Being Raped,” Harman, Rep. Jane, StarTribune, 2 April 2008.