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Sexual Assault In The Military

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Sexual assault in the military has become one of the most controversial of all issues that have been discussed over the years. The topic has received extensive media coverage and has contributed to multiple media scandals. According to a Newsweek report done in 2011, women are more likely to be assaulted by fellow soldiers than killed in combat. The Department of Defense estimates approximately 19,000 sexual assaults occur per year amongst military personnel. That number is stifling considering that in the last year only 1,108 troops filed for investigation, and of those only 575 cases were processed. Out of the 575 processed cases only 96 went to Court Martial. Obviously from the numbers, sexual assault is a serious issue in the military. Much like in the civilian world there is bias when it comes to the guilt or innocence of the attacker, as well as the validity in the accounts of the accuser. I believe that the system in place may inadvertently contribute to the continuous rise in sexual assaults and that if this system isn’t fixed quickly, it will be detrimental to the organization as a whole. Sexual assault has seriously negative impacts on service members and their families. That impact carries over to their work, limiting mission readiness, and undermining national security.
The current military system is based on obedience and respect for authority. From entering boot camp where personnel are mentally reconditioned to be a soldier, airman, or sailor in the United States Armed Forces, they’re taught that following orders comes before personal feelings or beliefs. Following orders is paramount to accomplishing a mission and ensuring that the job is done correctly, and that what you think or feel isn’t worth shari...

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...tly, what motivates victims to report assaults through the proper channels? Victims get the impression that because they lack rank, they won’t be heard. As stated before, a soldier’s job is to follow orders and their opinions, beliefs and feelings having a far lower precedence over their work performance and ability to do their job. With no confidence in the system that is supposed to protect the victim and prosecute the accused, the cycle will continue. Flaws in the current system of doing things leave personnel vulnerable to predators. That vulnerability not only weakens the strength of the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response program, but I believe it also weakens the military as a whole. With the increases, it seems that we get weaker and weaker with the years to come. Something needs to be done before that weakness becomes more evident to our enemies.