Target: United States Department of Defense
Goal: Demand revision of lenient sexual assault statutes for the U.S military
There is an alarming epidemic of sexual assault within the U.S military. While politicians are busy giving speeches condemning this tumult of misconduct, someone in the military is being sexually assaulted every three hours. We have had sporadic and unsuccessful attempts at addressing this situation by disregarding the fundamental legality. The current statutes are weak and victims do not receive the support and confidentiality they deserve.
According to a Pentagon report in 2011, an estimated 19,000 sexual assaults had occurred in the U.S military, of which only 3,000 were officially reported. In 2012, the report estimated that 26,000 cases of sexual assault occurred in the U.S. military, but again only 3,000 were reported. The vast majority of victims in sexual assault cases do not report because victims are more likely to receive ramifications than their abusers. There are records spanning the past ten years that show evidence of alleged offenders who were not effectively held accountable through the criminal justice system. There is limited success at holding these sexual offenders accountable because Congress has not revised the current sexual misconduct statues to clearly entail all sexual misconduct. Currently, investigation and prosecution of sexual assault is in the hands of commanding officers, who are unqualified, biased, and neglectful of confidentiality. Department of Defense’s Report on the Service Academy Sexual Assault and Leadership Survey found that a majority of female victims rather keep their abuse a secret for fear of disclosure and the ensuing retaliation.
In order to effectively eliminate sexual assault in the military, the current laws on sexual assault must be corrected. We should provide specialized training to all Academy members on the various reporting sources. Each person should be informed of the level of confidentiality provided and the treatments available for sexual assault victims. We need to increase access of support and reporting for victims. Finally, we need to ensure that victims are confident in the system and are afforded their legally mandated rights
Dear United States Department of Defense,
There has been an obvious rise in sexual assault cases in the U.S military, but little has been done to effectively address this issue. These crimes threaten the trust and reputation of our military, and at the same time, have detrimental effects on victims who are not afforded their basic human rights. The current statues that define criminal sexual misconduct are too lenient and do not encompass the full spectrum of criminal sexual behaviors. Because of this, offenders are often left unaccountable for their criminal actions. Thus, victims are hesitant in reporting their abuse, promoting this injustice. We urge that you revise these statutes so that victims allowed their basic human rights.
In addition, every member of the Academy should be provided mandatory training on the reporting, confidentiality, and treatments for sexual assault victims. Increasing awareness of this epidemic is our most efficient weapon against it. We need to make the resources of reporting more accessible and sensitive to victims’ rights of confidentiality. It is through these sanctions that we can hope to end sexual assault within our military.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Army of Women Blogspot