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Per Pentagon, Military Sexual Assaults Victims Near 5,000

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By Debbie Gregory.

While incidences of sexual assault in the U.S. military is on the decline, retaliation and ostracism still pose a significant problem among victims who report these crimes.

According to the Department of Defense Annual Report on Sexual Assault in the Military 2016, the department’s main program efforts are:

  • Advancing Sexual Assault Prevention
  • Assuring a Quality Response to Service Members Who Report Sexual Assault
  • Improving Response to Male Service Members Who Report Sexual Assault
  • Combatting Retaliation Associated with Sexual Assault Reporting

Of those who experienced ostracism or maltreatment after reporting an incident, 29 percent indicated the treatment they perceived involved some form of social media, such as Facebook, Twitter, Yik Yak, and Snapchat.

About 1 in 3 service members who experienced a sexual assault ultimately filed a report in 2016, the Pentagon says. That’s up from 1 in 14 a decade ago.

An estimated 14,900 service members surveyed last year say that they were the victim of a sexual assault. While the number is down from previous years, 60 per cent of victims say they’ve experienced some sort of negative reaction as a consequence for coming forward.

While prevention and support efforts show demonstrable signs of progress, there is still a long way to go.

“That’s way too many people having to experience this stuff, but this is how change works,” said a senior Pentagon official.

John McCain, Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, along with Ranking Member Jack Reed issued a statement saying “we are encouraged” by the report’s findings. At the same time, while “these trends point toward a positive improvement …, there is still much work to be done.”

Special victims counsel and victim advocates were the most-used support services, with the highest satisfaction ratings, but men weren’t as satisfied overall as women with the support they received.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

DoD Recognizes Sexual Assault Prevention Efforts

 

Military sexual assault victimBy Debbie Gregory.

The Department of Defense (DoD) honored groups and individuals from each military component who contributed an innovative idea or approach to positively affect sexual assault prevention.

In June 2014, the DOD Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) Office initiated an annual Sexual Assault Prevention Innovation Award to recognize a group or an individual from each military service who contributed or developed an innovative idea, concept, methodology, or approach to positively impact the SAPR program on an installation, in a deployed environment, or in a reserve component.

The award recognizes service members and DoD civilians whose work in support of service members has been particularly noteworthy.  DoD created these awards to spark creativity and incentivize efforts to address not only sexual assault prevention, but also ideas that enhance overall command climate, officials said.

The 2015 Sexual Assault Prevention Innovation Award awardees are:

— Air Force 17th Training Wing, Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office, Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas and Presidio of Monterey, California: Established a five-member team serving two geographically separated locations providing training to promote pro-social behavior called “Dating 101” and expanded their Teal Rope program into multi-service-member peer-to-peer mentorship and trust-building in the community.

— Army Combined Arms Support Command Training and Technology Division, Fort Lee Virginia (Matthew MacLaughlin, Diane Jenkins, Tyler Gross, Christopher Borland, and David Garrison): Developed a template for a mobile application called “We Care” for soldiers of the Combined Arms Support Command, which was made available to all Training and Doctrine Command organizations.

— Marine Corps Combat Service Support Schools, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina (Shirley Stephens): Designed the MCCS Dance Battle event using a club-like environment using the theme “Eliminate Sexual Assault. Know Your Part. Do Your Part” to highlight situational context in which the target population would likely be vulnerable. This event increased participants’ awareness and provided tools to intervene.

— Naval Construction Battalion Center, Gulfport, Mississippi (Deborah Brockway, Tammie Holland, Michael Jordy, Capt. Paul Odenthal): The Gulfport team collaborated with local businesses to develop the “Responsible Advertising and Bystander Intervention Training” campaign to provide training for local recreation establishments to identify potentially dangerous situations and intervene.

— National Guard Bureau, Kentucky Army National Guard, Louisville, Kentucky (Sgt. Joshua Kemp): Proactively participated in peer-to-peer mentorship on topics of healthy relationships, responsible drinking, and bystander intervention in social settings. To further the SAPR messaging across the installation, Kemp also developed a DoD Safe Helpline vehicle wrap for the government vehicles that are driven on the installation.

— Coast Guard, Base National Capital Region Headquarters, Washington D.C. (Simone Hall): Established the first and only sexual assault response coordinator Web page in the Coast Guard and regularly publishes sexual assault prevention news articles highlighting prevention efforts such as “Don’t Be an Active Bystander…Intervene, Stop a Sexual Assault.”

Nominees were submitted by each of the military services, the Coast Guard, and the National Guard Bureau. The awards are presented by their respective commands.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.