A recently released Pentagon report shows that the number of sexual-assault victims among the military have declined over the last year. However, women are still too fearful to file sexual assault complaints because more than two-thirds had to cope with retaliation.
Although the new figures may look encouraging, the new study reveals that the cases may be higher in reality than on paper. The report also showed that although service members handed over more assault complaints, two-thirds of the attacks still remain unreported. Officials believe that the surge in the service members’ reports may be linked to the victims’ change of attitude and confidence that their complaints would have a positive echo.
Defense Secretary Ashton Carter announced that the department has an extensive approach to prevent sexual attacks from occurring among the military. The new approach will involve training sessions, surveys and new strategies to discourage retaliation linked to sexual attack reporting.
On the other hand, people criticized the Pentagon that the surge in sexual attack complaints was caused by an actual hike in sexual attack cases, rather than by a sudden burst of confidence among victims. Critics also said that past studies challenged current military conclusions.
Nevertheless, Carter admitted that the fight was far from over since too many women in the military fail to report the crime because of retaliation.
According to the report 62 percent of women who had the courage to file a complaint reported that they fear retaliation. Yet, no figure was available for men, who are less likely to be assaulted or if they are assaulted they usually perceive the sexual assault as hazing.
Pentagon’s report used two standards when assessing the amplitude of sexual attacks among the military. According to the first standard, only “unwanted sexual contact” was taken into consideration when the department reported its findings. By using this standard, the department researchers found that nearly 19,000 service members were victims of sexual assault or harassment over the course of last year.
The second standard, which the Pentagon intends to adopt in its future reports, was designed by the RAND Corp. According to this standard, 20,300 people working in the military reported that they were victims of at least one sexual attack or harassment. Although the figures may look alarming, they are 27 percent lower than those in 2012. The difference between the results obtained according to the two standards, however, fell within the margin of error.
The Pentagon report also revealed that the real number of sexual attacks that were reported last year was 6,131, which signals a surge in the attacks since 2013 and a 70 percent increase from three years ago.
The report also highlighted significant differences between male and female psychology. It seems that women and men react entirely differently related to a sexual attack.
he report found that, surprisingly, males are more likely to be subjected to more assaults over the course of the year, but they fail to file a complaint. Yet, although men are more likely to be assaulted, they perceive sexual attacks as hazing, rather than real attacks.
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