Reports out today indicate that military sexual assaults have skyrocketed; up 50 percent in the annual reported period of 2012-2013.
The military, in an attempt to put a positive face on the increase in numbers, would like to think the report shows the willingness of warriors to "report" sexual assaults and not an actual increase in the number of incidents. From statistics alone, it would be impossible to know. However, by the military's own account there are some 26,000 sexual assaults every year.
Today the Department of Defense issued new initiatives designed to continue its efforts to eliminate sexual assault in the military, directed implementation of an updated sexual assault prevention strategy and released its annual report on sexual assault in the military for fiscal year 2013.
The department’s response to sexual assault is fundamentally different than it was two years ago.
Since May 2013, Secretary Hagel has directed more than 28 initiatives to enhance commander accountability, ensure the appropriate command climate, improve victim support, and enhance safety.
In the last five years, the DOD has rolled out numerous initiatives, sexual assault awareness classes and has supposedly streamlined the path to reporting. These programs have yet to stem the staggering numbers with approaches that clearly aren't working.
Just last month, the Senate blocked Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s (D-N.Y.) controversial proposal to take sexual assault cases outside the military’s chain of command.
It's not just a male vs. female issue. All branches of the military continue to be frustrated with the lack of reporting for male on male sexual assaults to include unwanted sexual advances, rape, and sodomy.
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