Military Sexual Assault: A Background
Sexual assault is a widespread public issue in the US. The military is not exempt from the negative consequences of this situation.
Statistics on Military Sexual Assault
Did you know that in 2018, according to Department of Defense surveys, a total of 20,500 military personnel claim to have been sexually assaulted or raped? The victims of such crimes included 13,000 women and 7,500 males.
The military is working to implement the Defense Task Force on Sexual Assault in the Military Services (DTFSAMS). They are also working on recommendations on sexual assault prevention and response.
Military Sexual Assault
The military has made huge strides in decreasing sexual assault and linking victims to resources and help. However, even though sexual assault goes against military standards, it continues to occur in the military.
To better assist victims and to prevent sexual assault, it is necessary to maintain and enhance current initiatives.
Sexual harassment in the military is a severe crime that will not be tolerated. Learn all you need to know about military sexual assault and sexual assault accusations right here.
What Is Military Sexual Assault?
The Department of Defense describes sexual assault as intentional sexual contact that:
- Uses force
- Uses threats
- Uses intimidation
- Uses abuse of authority
- Does not involve consent from the victim
Sexual assault may occur at any age, regardless of the victim’s sexuality, ethnicity, marital status, or the perpetrator’s age. Sexual assault involves physical contact.
According to the Department of Defense, “sexual harassment is a significant element influencing the environment on military sexual assault.”
Most victims were bullied or harassed by those higher up in their military chain of command.
The History of Military Sexual Assault
There has only been one rape prosecuted in the military criminal court system. During wartime, military personnel charged with common-law offenses were prosecuted in civilian tribunals. This was as established by Article III of the Constitution.
Military rape legislation came into being in the late 1980s. Documented sexual assault scandals prompted laws, task groups, and commissions to reform the military justice system. This policy is currently known as the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office (SAPRO). The most significant developments in military justice happened in the last decade.
Historically, the DoD performed formal statistical monitoring of sexual harassment and assault. They do this via periodic Workplace and Gender Relations Survey (WGRS) administrations. This poll has been conducted since 1988 and has included measurements of sexual harassment and assault.
According to the WGRS, between 2002 and 2012, about 8% to 9% of women and 1% to 3% of males experienced forceful sexual harassment. These have been with quid pro quo promised job benefits or threatening of dealing with consequences.
A review of the process for treatment of victims was ordered by former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. This review was to evaluate the DoD procedure for treating and caring for victims of sexual assault in the Military Services.
From the summer of 2013 through 2016, there were many stories in the media about military sexual crimes involving members of the US forces.
In the last decade, there has been a rise in MST occurrences and legislative action. The rise of MST in the military jeopardizes service personnel’s safety and effectiveness.
In today’s politically heated military environment, rape, sexual assault, and other sexual misbehavior are heavily prosecuted. It’s become a military obsession. And, it’s resulted in a large number of these cases inside the military court system, regardless of any faults or inadequacies with the claim.
Congress exerts political pressure. Advocacy organizations and the media exert public pressure.
All of this pressure is meant to remove the term “justice” from the system of military justice. Instead, those applying pressure seem to want to restrict an accused military member’s capacity to fight against these charges.
These are difficult situations and could lead to sentencing to decades or life in jail. You could also have punitive discharges and end up on a sex offender registry.
Thus, a critical period in the military justice system has arrived. You need a skilled defense attorney to manage the demands and build an effective defense in these military matters to avoid a conviction.
When the military judicial system focuses on rape and sexual assault, they invariably overreact and over-adjust.
While the case for the accused is not always bleak, having a competent defense attorney on their side is critical.
Why You Need Military Sexual Assault Lawyers
Due to public relations pressure, the present environment in the military legal system has resulted in an assumption of guilt and a surrendering of discretion by the military. Unfortunately, this has come with an increase in the number of meritless accusations being tried and adjudicated.
Military lawyers often ignore PHO advice. They move forward to trial regardless of questions with the prosecutions’ proof or the plaintiff’s character. The urge to bring the matter to trial outweighs their sense of responsibility.
Surprisingly, the DoD’s response to public pressure has led to obligatory sexual assault lectures. Unfortunately, these lectures often skirt information about Article 120 military sexual crimes. This has tainted many individuals across the whole military court system.
As a consequence of this perilous and unjust environment, you need expert and aggressive military defense lawyers who can stand up to the temptation to rig the system in these military matters.
False Allegations of Sexual Assault in the Military & Why Are They So Common?
Reporting Sexual Assault
Sexual trauma may have long-lasting consequences and health complications that can alter the direction of one’s life. These effects could include:
- Symptoms of PTSD including depression and flashbacks
- Thoughts of suicide
- Drug abuse
- Eating disorders
- Sleeping disorders
- Self-harming issues
Physical health issues may also develop due to sexual assault, either directly or indirectly, via secondary diseases. For example, PTSD can result in nerve damage and anemia. All of these military sexual trauma-related problems may complicate daily living.
Coming out with information regarding sexual assault may entitle you to compensation from the US Department of Veterans Affairs. Additionally, you may take measures to get the health care and mental health assistance you need to move ahead. A mental health expert can aid in the development of coping strategies and the healing process after emotional problems.
Claims After the Fact
There is hope for veterans who did not disclose sexual harassment or assault while on active service. While you cannot sue for the attack or harassment itself, you may sue for any mental or physical health problems you develop.
These problems could lead to an inability to work. In addition, the VA has distinct standards of proof for personal assault claims. So, even if the attack was never recorded, there are methods to substantiate the allegation.
It’s also critical to prepare for filing the claim. Veterans will likely experience some re-traumatization due to having to recount their tale. However, there are methods to get assistance in resolving this problem and navigating the claims process.
That way, you can guarantee that veterans who have been victims receive the financial and medical assistance necessary to compensate for the harm done.
Use the resources available to protect yourself if you served or are serving our nation. It is difficult to have to defend yourself against unwelcome sexual approaches, assaults, harassment, or rape.
How to Report Military Sexual Trauma
If you have suffered sexual assault while serving in the military, you may take measures to get the guidance and support you need. Seek refuge in a secure location. If you are in immediate need of medical assistance, dial 911 immediately.
Don’t forget that even if you are not physically injured, you still need medical help to protect your mental and physical health. To protect any evidence, it is important to remember to:
- Not shower
- Brush your teeth
- Put on any make-up
- Eat or drink
- Change your clothing
This should be done until you are advised differently by the authorities.
Your medical provider, or a member of your commanding officer’s staff, may report the offense to the police or your chain of command. If you are hesitant to report the incident, you may want to consider reaching out to a confidential counseling provider that is accessible to you.
You can report sexual assault at any time, regardless of how long it has been since the incident occurred. But remember that early reporting gives investigators the greatest chance to collect information from potential witnesses before they forget their memories of the incident.
Sexual assault and harassment continue to be an issue
Sexual assault and harassment continue to be a chronic issue in the US military. This is despite the considerable efforts in the last 10 years taken by the DoD to address the matter.
Are you an armed forces member who is being investigated for military sexual assault? If you are under investigation or are already charged, it is critical that you act quickly. Get the services of a highly competent civilian military defense attorney to help you defend yourself.
Please do not hesitate to contact us. We have a limited caseload and individually manage each case from start to finish.