Sexual Assault in the Military – Changing Culture by Creating Awareness

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Sexual violence awareness has made great strides since the 1960s. At both the state and the federal levels, significant funding has been distributed to advocate for the cause. There are programs to assist victims in the emotional healing process. Several organizations have been birthed out of the desire to completely irradiate sexual assault. In 2009, President Obama became the fist U.S. president to declare April as “Sexual Assault Awareness Month.” While the cause has gained great momentum and awareness has increased exponentially, statistics still fail to accurately report the prevalence of sexual crimes. Sexual assault is more prevalent than we yet realize. If you’ve been a victim of sexual assault in the military, Military Trial Defenders can help.

Alcohol and Sexual Violence

Not surprisingly, alcohol is a common denominator in many cases of rape and assault. The Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology reports that alcohol is one of the four strongest predictors in college rapes. Experts suggest that roughly one half of all assault crimes involve alcohol consumption by the perpetrator. Alcohol lowers inhibitions, impairs judgment, and increases the risk of danger. For both perpetrators and victims, alcohol can encourage decisions that are inconsistent with their character. Alcohol also plays are role in military sexual violence. 33% of victims and 37% of perpetrators reportedly consumed alcohol at the time of the assault.

Sexual Assault in the Military

The military is not immune from sexual violence. In 2015, the Department of Defense received 6,083 reports of sexual assault for allegations involving military members. According to the 2015 Annual Report on Sexual Assault in the Military, up to 74% of the alleged assaults occurred while on duty, and 33% involved sexual harassment prior to the event.

While the Department continues to create strategies and implement programs in the effort to decrease sexual crime, a sexually responsible culture must begin at the grassroots level. In other words, responsible military members must join the cause by making decisions that will reduce the likelihood of sexual violence (i.e. reduced alcohol consumption, greater awareness, and open communication.)  

The Road to Healing

For survivors of sexual violence, healing can be a long road. Victims must remember that they are not alone, however, they will overcome the trauma of the event. For those military members who have accusations of sexual assault, as well, it can be an emotionally trying time. At Military Trial Defenders, we are ready to assisting and supporting members of the military as they navigate through the most complicated and disconcerting situations. If you are in need of legal support, contact Military Trial Defenders today. 



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