Thursday, August 4, 2016

sexual assault in the military

By the Pentagon's own reckoning, only about 1 in 60 of the reported sexual assaults in the U.S. military resulted in jail time. (Estimates of actual assaults are several times greater.) Turns out that's not so different from civilian proportions. That in itself ought to be disturbing enough, but in the military, where the chain of command controls nearly every aspect of a serviceperson's life, there is no recourse and no escape. Solving the problem -- i.e. stopping sexual assault utterly-- is complicated and requires long-term approaches, but there is a specific one that would help -- a lot. That is taking the decision whether or not to prosecute from commanders, who often have conflicting interests, and giving it to trained and more impartial legal entities. The United States Congress has had the opportunity to do that 3 times in the past few years and has either voted against that change or, as happened a couple of months ago, refused even to debate it.

Here's my story about congressional pusillanimity and what some organizations and individuals are doing about it. Thanks to Waging Nonviolence for publishing it.