Have Sexual Assault Crimes That Occur In The Military Been Traditionally Under-Reported?
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Facing sexual assault allegations as a military member, and feeling overwhelmed and unsure what to do next? This article is for you.
Interviewer: If you look at military members being accused of these types of crimes versus the regular public, does the occurrence happen more frequently in the military?
Chris Cazares: I think it’s pronounced differently. Right now, the general public has become aware due to the recent documentary involving sexual assault in the military and the military justice system, and additionally because the numbers are reported.
The Military Judicial System Is More Likely to Pursue a Criminal Case than Many State District Attorneys
I think that statistically in college campuses, out in the public at large, there is a vast under-reporting of the crime, so people don’t see the true numbers. I think the second reason it’s a little different in the military is because the military often times takes cases to trial that the district attorney would not even take.
If the Local District Attorney Waives Jurisdiction, the Military Will Most Often Try the Case
Sometimes, the state’s district attorney will give jurisdiction over to the military after they’ve declined jurisdiction. So the military will go try this case, which was most likely a horrible case to begin with, because they have that congressional pressure.
Sexual Assault Crimes Are Heavily Prosecuted by the Military
Interviewer: Even though the numbers are reported in the military, but they’re not reported in civilian life or they are under reported, do you believe sexual assault crimes occur more in the military setting?
Chris Cazares: No. I just think they prosecuted more heavily. I think the military member has to be aware that they’re going to get their day in court.
Often times they want to make statements to investigators to get their side of the story, because they believe that because they have this mistaken belief that it was consensual sex, and they want to get the process over with.
They want give their side of the story. They go into an interview and all of those statements they freely make to investigators are used against them.
Military Members That Are Victims of Sexual Assault Are Prone to Report the Crime More Frequently Than Civilians
Interviewer: Do victims of sexual assault in the military tend to report it more than women civilian victims?
Chris Cazares: Statistically, they do report the crime more, and there’s a reason for that. It’s because in the military they have an infrastructure in place that encourages reporting. Often times it can encourage false reporting. This is because the actual training that the military members receive and the military environment lends itself to a hypersensitivity to sexual assault.
The Military Has Different Criteria for When Sexual Assault Occurs
You may hear a phrase such as, if you have one drink of alcohol, you cannot legally consent. So if intercourse follows, that is rape. So what you’ve constituted is the mistakes, regrets, towards motivation to protect their careers that would become compromised in certain situations.
The Documentary Invisible War Portrays Sexual Assault with Physical Violence; This Type of Assault Is Not Prevalent in the Military
I think almost everyone who saw the documentary currently out there, “Invisible War,” however, what that portrays is a completely different scenario. You asked originally what kinds of cases do we see in the military, and primarily it is known as peer rape. Most are peer-to-peer sexual assault, that’s what you end up encountering, and that’s what ends up being prosecuted.
What’s portrayed in the “Invisible War” is often times what we think of truly when we think of rape, and that is sexual assault with some elements of physical violence. There was gang rape is portrayed in that documentary and there’s very forceful rape, and those by and large, are not statistically what you’re going to see in the military.
Peer rape will occur in more of a socialized setting; it’s not violent rape setting. Right now, because of that particular documentary and the politicians who are championing that cause, it makes it seem as if the military is protecting these individuals.
Attorney Cazares Believes That Many Defendants in the Military May Have Been Wrongly Accused of Sexual Assault
In my opinion, what actually is prevalent is that the military’s prosecution is much harsher because the individual that is under investigation has been wrongly accused.
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