Sexual Assault in the Military Jumped 38 Percent in 2018

With sexual assault in the military being such a frequently discussed political issue over the past decade, I’m sure we’d all like to think that the problem has at least somewhat improved. On the contrary, research shows an alarming spike in military sexual assaults in the last two years.

From 2016 to 2018, the rate of sexual assaults leaped by 38 percent, with a total of 20,500 members of the military indicating that they had been assaulted in 2018. Of all the branches, the Marines had the worst rates of assault.

Many have looked at the statistic and expressed that it could be the result of more military members reporting sexual assault and not a rise in the actual action, but that’s little more than wishful thinking. The figures were gathered via anonymous surveys of service members, with most acknowledging they did not report these incidents to their commanders.

On the issue of reporting, the rate at which victims tell a supervisor is about one in three. The rate has remained constant from two years ago, so in reality, soldiers are not getting any more comfortable speaking out about these attacks.

In response to the research, acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan wrote: “To put it bluntly, we are not performing to the standards and expectations we have for ourselves or for each other. This is unacceptable. We cannot shrink from facing the challenge head on. We must – and will – do better.”

Shanahan has already indicated a few ways he’d like to see improvements made, starting by “criminalizing” sexual harassment in the military since harassment tends to be one of the biggest indicators of future sexual assaults.

The Pentagon says it will also pay more attention to women under 25 because that is the demographic most at risk of being sexually assaulted, providing more training to officers to better handle the incidents that are reported and better assessing the “character” of incoming recruits.

Still, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, who has made sexual assault the military one of her signature issues, isn’t convinced that will be enough. “The status quo is not working,” said Gillibrand. “It’s time for Congress to step up and bring accountability where the Department of Defense has repeatedly failed.”

There’s plenty of reason to doubt the DoD’s own effectiveness given its terrible track record on the issue of sexual assault. Check out some of Care2’s distressing headlines on this subject from over the years:

Clearly, it’s time for the Pentagon to do real work on this issue, and it’s long overdue for Congress to support legislation that forces some changes in a bipartisan fashion. There’s no excuse for allowing the women and men who serve their country to be victimized – especially without recourse.

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43 comments

Martha P
Martha P5 days ago

Signed. Thanks.

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Ellie L
Emma L8 days ago

Signed, of course

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Susanne R
Susanne R9 days ago

Paul B. - (Continued)

Trump doesn't need anyone's assistance with deciding who deserves credit for anything that is credit-worthy. He's comfortable with claiming it for himself, even if he doesn't know what the issue is --much less support it.

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Susanne R
Susanne R9 days ago

Paul B. - Are you really crediting trump with lending any support to the #MeToo Movement? Please, give credit where credit is due! Since you wouldn't have heard this on Fox Infortainment, here is what Newsweek Magazine had to say about trump and the movement:

"The coexistence of the Trump presidency and the #MeToo movement is likely to give one whiplash. It may feel like we are careening between two mutually exclusive worldviews.

The Trump presidency routinely trades in falsehoods, half-truths, bullying, a refusal to be held accountable for self-dealing, and sexual misconduct. The #MeToo movement is based on the values of disclosure, sunlight, accountability, and an end to sexual misconduct. It is a David versus Goliath moment.

President Donald Trump has traumatized the United States with racist, homophobic, reckless, and self-serving diatribes. He is constantly lying and denying what has already been reported as true. His enemy is a free press, which he has dubbed "fake news," and his one power is his ability to find an ugly nickname for just about anyone who does not pay homage to his self-serving worldview."

https://www.newsweek.com/trump-has-met-his-match-metoo-movement-theres-no-turning-back-784662

And you even managed to take a job at President Obama as you lavished praise on trump! Trump doesn't need anyone's assistance with deciding who deserves credit for anything that is credit-worthy. He's comfortable wit

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Catrin S

A disgrace

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Jan S
Jan S10 days ago

signed

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Tania N
Tania N12 days ago

Thanks for sharing.

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Tania N
Tania N12 days ago

Thanks for sharing.

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Tania N
Tania N12 days ago

Thanks for sharing.

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Leo Custer
Leo C13 days ago

Thanks for sharing.

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