Note to Military: Sexual Assault Includes Rape

While it is estimated that over 19,000 sexual assaults occurred in the military in 2010, a rate far higher than among civilians, the government has failed systematically to investigate complaints, appropriately punish perpetrators, and treat trauma and other health conditions suffered by survivors. The profound personal and social consequences that arise from the government’s systemic failures are powerfully profiled in the new film, The Invisible War. Turning a blind eye to these crimes has allowed them to continue, imperiling the lives of victims and degrading their service.

On Friday, a federal district court judge cited yet another example of the military’s unwillingness to acknowledge sexual violence within its ranks. In response to Freedom of Information Act requests filed by the Service Women’s Action Network (SWAN) and the ACLU seeking records from the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs regarding their response to sexual assault, sexual harassment, and domestic violence in the military, the Army Crime Records Center claimed it couldn't provide records about "sexual assault" because its records are organized by specific criminal offenses such as “rape,” not under the general heading of "sexual assault."

"'Sexual assault' is easily read as encompassing rape and other non-consensual sexual crimes defined in the Army's offense codes," the judge found. "The fact that the agency was unwilling to read the Plaintiffs' request liberally to include such terms seems to be almost willful blindness."

The judge further ruled that several other sections of the Departments failed to adequately respond to our requests and ordered the government to fulfill its obligations under FOIA. We will continue to press the government for the information we need to truly understand, address, and end the epidemic of sexual violence in the military.

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Anonymous

The Military also needs to recognize Marital Rape as rape. Currently UCMJ specifically precludes marital rape with the nifty phrase "a female not his wife." I guess this means men can't be raped either.
I say all this as a Female Veteran. I was married to a very violent soldier while I was in and was threatened with being "chaptered out" when I came forward about the abuse.

Anonymous

SGT U.S. Army, (male) gang rape victim "survivor?" Attackers: 4 male 1 female.

I hid myself for years.

Name...

This phenomena has a catalytic effect in society. This people are basically getting a free out jail car for serving in the military, which consequently makes them untouchable as they feel totally entitle to commit those crimes over and over again. More concerning is the fact that those people are free to pursue normal lives and return to society with a clean record, while the victims are still victimized and ashamed for something it wasn't their fault... they really didn't signed up for that kind of inhumane treatment. This also creates a circle of impunity... are military rapists also protected by other sex offenders? Probably. How many of them are in high-ranks levels of the military? That could explains the reluctance of the military to release all those records. Are their families aware of their actions? Are their family members also suffering abuse at their hands? How can a regular civilian know if their potential employee, husband, friend or neighbor is a military sex predator, if the allegations aren't investigated and the actual records released?

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