According to a survey by the Pentagon, the number of sexual assaults reported by service members in 2018 spiked by almost 38 percent. Last year, approximately 20,500 cases of “unwanted sexual contact.” This includes rape, forcible sodomy, and groping in addition to other offenses. Although sexual assaults in the military rose from approximately 14,900 in 2016, 2018’s tally remains in line with the number of those documented in 2014 (20,300).
For some time now, senior military officials have maintained that the military is experiencing a problem with sexual assault that required a solution. Unfortunately not much has been done. Affirming this belief, Defense Secretary, Patrick Shanahan, stated is the Pentagon’s survey, which he says leaves little doubt as to the fact that more must be done in order to change the culture of the military.
In a memo, Shanahan stated “To put it bluntly, we are not performing to the standards and expectations we have for ourselves or each other. This is unacceptable. We cannot shrink from facing the challenge head on. We must, and will, do better.”
Ongoing Debate Makes Solution More Difficult
One of the factors complicating the finding of a solution is the contentious, ongoing debate regarding sexual misconduct in the military and the role of a commander in determining whether to initiate legal proceedings. This includes making the decisions regarding whether military sexual assault is prevented, detected, and prosecuted. Their decisions may often be filled with bias, hoping to avoid high court-martial numbers, which could reflect poorly on their leadership, or to protect someone great at their job or that they happen to like.
Many military members believe that the role of commander is very important in carrying out the command structure, while others believe it fosters bias. The latter believe that an independent military prosecutor should hold the decision of whether or not to pursue such a case.
Shanahan explained that the Pentagon will attempt to address the issue by adopting various steps to take such as making sexual harassment a crime in the military. He says that the Pentagon must also find other ways of assessing the culture of military units and find better ways to scrutinize recruits and catch repeat offenders.
The Court Martial Law Division of Aviso Law LLC Helps Those Who Have Been Sexually Assaulted in the Military
Since the issue surrounding sexual assault in the military continues to run rampant, it is so important that you take every action to fight for your rights and your safety. That is why it is so important to consult with a knowledgeable and experienced court-martial law attorney.
At the Court Martial Law Division of Aviso Law LLC, we believe in fighting for the protection and rights of our military men and women. You should not have to suffer in silence at the hands of another. We understand the seriousness of these cases and will work with you to obtain the best possible outcome. If you or a loved one has been sexually assaulted in the military, let us help. To learn more or to schedule a free consultation, visit us online or call us at 719-247-3111 today!