Sexual Assault and the Military

When it comes to the military you may think the biggest danger is on the battlefield, but there is another fear you do not hear about.

The Pentagon estimates that 26,000 military members were raped in 2012. 14,000 were men and 12,00 were women. Wednesday, Kansas civilians and military members met to find out ways to prevent this crime and how to help victims.

It is a staggering fact, women in the military are more likely to be sexually assaulted by a fellow soldier than killed in combat.

It’s something that we don’t hear about in the Civilian sector,” said Christel Marquardt, former Judge on the Kansas Court of Appeals.

Christel Marquardt serves on a panel looking into sexual assaults in the military. She was appointed by Chuck Hagel, the Secretary of Defense. They are currently figuring out ways to protect victims of sexual assault and prevent it from happening in the military.

“We are listening to prosecutors, those people that defend the perpetrators, we’ve heard from victims, we’ve heard from the nurses that do the rape kits, we’ve heard from just about everybody, now we’re trying to make decisions on what kinds of things are necessary to make changes,” said Marquardt.

Wednesday, she took part in training on sexual assault in the military. Learning about the prevalence, the barriers victims experience, and some new policies and legislation aimed to improve response and prevent sexual assault.

“The military injustice act, would improve the response to military survivors, create an independent body to help review sexual assault cases and make sure they’re handled correctly,” said Pamela Jacobs, Consultant for Sexual Assault Prevention.

The assault, happens more often to men, and it is often in combat or military installations.

“Typically the perpetrator and rapist is also a man, but it can really happen to anyone and the circumstances can vary,” said Jacobs.

There is a different chain of command for military members to report their assault than civilians. So Wednesday, civilian and military leaders were brought together so they could possibly cooperate easier in the future.

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