Washington, September 3 (SO News/Agency) In the annual report released on Thursday by the Sexual Abuse Prevention Agency (SAPR) in the US Department of Defense Pentagon, it is stated that by September 30, 2021, sexual abuse 8866 cases of assaults were registered against 7813 in the previous year. In these sexual assaults, either members of the military or their subordinates were targeted.
However, the actual number of victims is much higher. The report titled ‘Report on Sexual Assault in the Military’ states that only a few incidents of sexual assault were brought to the notice of higher authorities. About 36,000 personnel in a survey conducted by the military said they had been sexually assaulted against their will.
According to the Pentagon, sexual assault includes involuntary sexual contact or sexual exploitation through rape or coercion. The report said the increase in the number of sexual assaults points to an “overall unhealthy military environment”.
The number of female victims is the highest in the 16-year history of collecting data on sexual harassment in the US military, the report said.
In 2005, the U.S. military established a special division to investigate sexual assault and sexual abuse incidents and began collecting data on such incidents the following year.
Elizabeth Foster, a senior Pentagon official, said the number is “the highest number of sexual assaults against women” since records of sexual assaults in the military began in 2006.
According to the report, the year 2006 saw the highest number of cases of attempted sexual intercourse with men. And last year there was another large number of such incidents involving men.
The most sexual abuse in the army
The report states that in the year 2021, the highest 26 percent of sexual abuse cases in the US military were recorded in the Army. This was followed by 19 percent in the Navy and two percent in the Air Force and Marines.
The report added that among active-duty female personnel in the U.S. military who participated in the survey, 8.4 percent, compared to 1.5 percent of male personnel, disclosed that they had been sexually assaulted. US President Joe Biden issued an executive order in January criminalizing sexual harassment under military law. The order means that cases of sexual abuse, domestic violence and assault on minors will be tried in military courts, and the decision to take cases to court will be made by special lawyers instead of special military officers.
In the past, senior officers have been accused of covering up incidents of sexual abuse and trying to downplay their seriousness. The army opposed these changes. He said that the previous system was better for maintaining discipline in the army. But as the previous system proved unable to control the problem, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin set up an independent commission shortly after taking office. He asked the commission to prepare a report to improve the system of prevention of sexual assaults in the army to restore the confidence of military personnel in the justice system within the forces.
The commission had said in its report that the only solution to the problem is to withdraw the decision of the officers to punish or not to punish in cases of sexual exploitation.