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View Diary: Military sexual assault numbers rise—and gain a great poster boy (137 comments)

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  •  I'm having a hard time reconciling (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LSophia

    statements like this and from Gentle Giant with the stats and the information that has been coming out for so long. I married into an AF family, worked with a lot of RN wives and have taken care of a lot of vets since graduating in '77.

    Military Community Members of Daily Kos have been covering this for some time. The 2012 release of the documentary Invisible War, on military sexual trauma and the culture of sexual assault has received pretty good attention in the media as well.

    There are a lot of instances where the individual has had to report to their immediate superior. And many where the whole unit then found out and made life hell for the victim. The options to report have been changed fairly recently, and probably some of the advocate positions. They are not located in combat areas where a female is 5 times more likely to be sexually assaulted than injured in action.

    Nor is the problem limited to the military. VA Opposes Bi-Partisan Bill to Increase Assistance to Military Sexual Assault Victims. That would apply to some of my patients.

    A few MCMDK diaries:

    Efforts to End Sexual Assault in the Military

    Last Straw Yet? Tipping Point Maybe? Because God is Raping Soldiers Back to Church Now! Reporting rape to a chaplain just gets you into the religious proselytizing too prevalent in the military.

    Raped and pregnant in the military? Your benefits can't include an abortion. Overseas and can't get one? You will get discharged and sent home.

    The military has to have official processes for reporting and investigating sexual assault. The problem, worse than civilian processes, is that the victims know better than to think it will do much more than further harm them. Changing both the process and the effectiveness is going to be slow.

    "People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone. " Audrey Hepburn "A Beautiful Woman"

    by Ginny in CO on Tue May 07, 2013 at 10:45:20 AM PDT

    [ Parent ]

    •  I'm giving you direct evidence (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dinotrac

      of what the rules are in the army.  I cant speak for the other services, and it is my belief that some of them are not nearly as good on these issues as the army but I can't say that with direct evidence since I don't operate in their systems.

      I am in no way saying that a unit can't "make hell for a victim."  There are all sorts of ways unfortunately that can happen with and without commanders knowing about it or partaking in it.

      Not defending that, and certainly not suggesting that any alleged victim, military or no, has an easy road when it comes to reporting and then going through the entire process.

      What I am saying is that there are in fact regulations in place that mandate reporting to folks specially trained in this.  I know there is a special victim prosecutor for most major installations in the army that deals with nothing but sexual assaults.  I know that Congress seeks information on them quarterly.  I know that the victim advocates meet monthly with prosecutors.  There is just a ton of visibility on these things.

      Again, can't speak for other services.  I don't know that I can agree that the process is better for civilians as far as reporting than the military.  I can't imagine someone in a small town or a big city thinks she can go to a police station or even prosecutor and talk about date rape or being intoxicated and expect much positive to happen.  Those offenses are at least sometimes prosecuted in the army, and they are often if not nearly always investigated.

      •  That's all known. It's because those rules (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        DSPS owl

        and processes are failing so miserably that they are being scrutinized. It can vary in each service and location, just as civilian situations vary widely.

        Instead of old and new policies and emphasis improving the stats, they are significantly worse. Is that because of more awareness? Backlash? It just reinforces the problem is not getting the right intervention.

        The point is to ask how to be sure effective, appropriate rules and services are followed consistently, add more where appropriate, and increase outside oversight until the stats are much closer to inevitable rates.

        Ultimately this is not about whether the most powerful, advanced and effective military the world has ever known can do this. The issue is what attitudes, beliefs and practices are interfering with prevention and justice. We know there are difficulties in changing those. Which makes changing behavior all the more difficult, especially when humans are put on the defensive.

        This just surfaced. Air Force Brochure Tells Sexual Assault Victims to ‘Submit’ Spencer Ackerman, Danger Room.

        "People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed and redeemed; never throw out anyone. " Audrey Hepburn "A Beautiful Woman"

        by Ginny in CO on Tue May 07, 2013 at 12:37:22 PM PDT

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        •  One very good question worth pursuing: (0+ / 0-)

          This is not a military problem per se.

          It is a cultural problem. Civilian life is chock full of sexual predators -- and of prosecutors who refuse to prosecute and friends who think it's fun to put the video up on the internet.

          I don't know if the problem is worse in the military or not.
          Is it more hushed up because of the chain of command or more visible because the military is home to some pretty tough women?

          Do they handle it better or worse?
          Can civilians learn from the military or vice versa?

          What special problems about being military are being missed by the current procedures and safeguards?

          I do not believe that military people are worse than civilians.  If anything, I would expect the opposite.

          LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

          by dinotrac on Tue May 07, 2013 at 01:35:06 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  About that Air Force bruchure: (0+ / 0-)

          "...it does not offer instruction to servicemembers on not committing sexual assault. Prevention is treated as the responsibility of potential victims."

          The Republicans are defunding, not defending, America.

          by DSPS owl on Tue May 07, 2013 at 01:50:04 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Are they? (0+ / 0-)

          I put out a list of question in another part of the thread.

          What are the comparisons between the military and civilian LE on:

          types of sexual assaults and contacts prosecuted
          percentage taken to trial v. percentage that don't go anywhere
          percentage that are reported v. not reported

          I know for example that a woman in the army who says she was drunk and had sex with someone while seriously drunk has a decent shot of that case going to trial, or at least being investigated.  I would be highly incredulous to see a similar case in the civilian world even be investigated unless she were a minor or she was completely passed out when the sex happened.

          That is not to say that all's hunky dory, it isn't.  But as someone noted down below, it's not hunky dory all over, not just in the military.  I don't know that the stats are significantly worse.  Why is there an increase in reporting? Is it because we are doing a better job of enticing/encouraging reporting so that more true numbers are coming out or is it that the reporting is the same but more incidents are occurring? Is this a one year blip or a trend?

          As far as the submit thing.  i don't know.  I'd personally be real careful in offering advice on what to do in a product like that because the real answer on what to do depends.  I don't know if resisting is a good idea or not a good idea.  I would guess it would be in some situations, and not in others.  I think the vast majority of rapes it would probably be advisable, but not sure.  I think though it's something that isn't easily presented, nor is it some symptom of how horrible the military is.  

          I think one reason why the military is being so scrutinzed is that we are the only entity that actually provides numbers in real detail.  What other cohort do we have anywhere near as reliable numbers? Cities? States? Colleges?

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