Wednesday, statistics were released staying that reports of rape in the US armed forces rose in the last year by approximately 9%, to nearly 3,000. Up about 25% in combat zones. And yeah, those are just the ones that were reported; this story from Voice of America notes that DoD officials realize that 80% of rapes go unreported.
A quick little bit of math: if 3000 (rounding for ease: “Math is Hard!” sez Barbie) is 20% of all the sexual assaults/rapes in the military, that means that there were more likely 15,000 attacks during fiscal year 2008. During that same period, only 317 of the cases were referred to trial.
Review: Possibly 15,000 attacks. Approximately 3000 reported. 317 courts-martial. What the fucking fuck.
These numbers came out of a study done by the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office (SAPRO) within the Department of Defense.
Not having any direct experience of the military, I don’t know if it is worse than the larger culture about sexual violence (and I wasn’t able to find numbers for the same period of time), although I would guess so, since it is more sex segregated, with greater numbers of men than women, and even more rigidly hierarchical, which I believe–but cannot prove–more readily allows for situations were sexual assault and rape can occur. There’s also the possibility that the military actually attracts the kind of guy who, drawn to the promise of violence, dominating others, and other “ultra-masculine” (scare-quotes definitely required) ideas about sex, gender, and power, is more likely to commit sexual assault.
I don’t know if it’s worse that there has to be a SAPRO, or that it’s only been in place since 2007, to be “the single point of accountability” on issues of sexual assault for the Department of Defense. I do know that this is fucking unacceptable.