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Sexual Assaults In The US Army

The Army like most employers would like to say that it does not happen on their doorstep or on their watch, but it does. Looking at statistics it is difficult to determine whether the incidence of reported incidences are more or less frequent than in other areas of employment. It should also not be assumed that all incidents of sexual assault are reported and it should also be assumed that not all incidents or sexual assault are male/female. There should also be an acknowledgement of what people agree is the definition of sexual assault.

Working on this assumption, we first need to acknowledge how the work situation in the army differs from civilian work. In the army because many people are away from home and possibly loved ones they may actually seek attention from those close to them. They may misread physical signals or they may take light hearted banter as flirting. Us of drugs and alcohol can also reduce a person’s ability to see situations clearly and cause a breakdown in barriers that would not normally be crossed.

If a victim has reported a sexual assault they have probably thought long and hard about the repercussions of reporting. There have been incidents where soldiers have reported assault only to find that they have then had to leave the army because own situation has become untenable, as they were either not believed or other members of the team closed ranks. The reporting process is not easy, and it can make the victim feel they were responsible for the situation.

For every sexual assault that is reported there may be several that go unreported. The victim may have chosen not to report as it could make the situation worse or even they fear for their life. In that case that should be able to speak confidentially with an independent party (which could be very difficult if they are out in the field or on a deployment), that can offer both support and advice. Sometimes the chaplain may be the go to person.

The question here, is are people who serve in the army more vulnerable to sexual assault than people who work in an office? There may be the same number or reported and an unreported incidents in both work areas, but if you are in the army, you are not just working in close proximity to the attacker you may also be sharing the same text as them.