July 19, 2013

Article: Sexual-Harassment Issue Put Into Perspective
The incidence of sexual harassment and assault among service members is serious and should be treated as such, but is not significantly higher than that among the civilian population, according to a recent article in Foreign Policy magazine. "When you look at college campuses, which, like the military, are full of 17- to 24-year-olds, the military's sexual assault rates start looking low in comparison," wrote Rosa Brooks, a Georgetown University law professor and former undersecretary of defense for policy. The article cited a Pentagon survey that revealed roughly 67 percent of all female service members experienced some form of sexual assault but chose not to report it, with 47 percent of those respondents saying they feared retaliation and reprisal if they did. Comparably, Brooks wrote, a Justice Department study showed that only five percent of women at civilian colleges who say they were victims of sexual assault chose to report it to law enforcement officials. "To be completely clear, this is not an argument for deciding that sexual assault isn't a problem in the military. Far from it: Sexual assaults continue to destroy too many lives, and the high rates of military women who say they don't trust the system enough to report sexual assaults is evidence of the ongoing need to improve both prevention and response programs," Brooks wrote. "Nevertheless, the military seems to be doing something right, since it has been able to bring sexual assault rates down below those prevalent in comparable civilian populations."





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