What others say: Military must do more to combat sexual assaults

  • Wednesday, October 8, 2014 5:01pm
  • Opinion

The study was done in Los Angeles, but there is no reason to believe that its findings aren’t applicable elsewhere — including Texas.

It pointed to transition problems for returning veterans ranging from joblessness to homelessness to untreated physical and mental illnesses. But it also pointed to just how far the military must still go to address sexual abuse in the ranks.

The study was done by the University of Southern California. An Express-News article by Sig Christenson told of its contents.

Every problem identified in the study warrants attention. Recommendations range from better awareness and outreach programs to veterans programs becoming more holistic in their approach.

But here is one of the more salient shockers in a study chock-full of eyebrow raisers:

“Two-thirds of female pre-9/11 veterans (66.2 percent) and 60.4 percent of female post-9/11 veterans reported being sexually harassed while serving in the military,” according to the study. “Reports of sexual assault for female veterans were equally high, with 56.9 percent of pre-9/11 veterans and 37.8 percent of post-9/11 veterans reporting being sexually assaulted.”

The study takes solace in the lower rate for women in the post-9/11 category, saying it might indicate progress in preventing sexual assaults in the military.

But one pertinent question: How many assaults were even reported? A confidential Pentagon study in 2012 placed the number of military sexual assaults at 26,000, with 3,374 reported.

This study should be required reading for veterans support groups but also, especially when it comes to sexual assaults, for military leadership and members of Congress.

— Express-News, San Antonio, Texas,

Oct. 7

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