Military sexual assault is a prevalent concept among many military disciplines, notwithstanding several efforts to end the menace. Certainly, the militaries’ deficiency of advancement has been traced to originate from the intricacy caused by sexual assaults. To establish efficient approaches and plans aimed at terminating sexual assault in the military, there is a need for deep understanding and acknowledgement of these intricacies. Sexual assault continues to hurt different people in the military together with others who are closely associated with them. This paper describes the core reasons and several myths enhancing sexual assault, the military traditional components that inadvertently play a role in enhancing sexual assault, and the scratchy matters related to sexual assault that are frequently overlooked. The paper concludes by making recommendations that will help end sexual abuse in the military.
Sexual Assault in the Military
Sexual assault is a prevalent concern in the military, with an approximated 20,000 active duty military service persons undergoing undesirable sexual interaction in 2014 (NDRI, 2014). Most of these occurrences took place in a battle field (Street, Vogt & Dutra, 2009). Assessments of sexual assaults that take place in the military service are about 9.5 to 43 % among women and 1 to12 % among men (Turchik & Wilson, 2010). According to the latest study, 4.9 % of active women in operation and 1.0 % of active male counterparts were sexually assaulted in 2014 (NDRI, 2014). In the U.S. population, cases of sexual assault are approximated to be at 28 to 33 % of females and 12 to 18 % of males (Hall & Hall, 2011). Therefore, the issue of sexual assault in the military reflects the problem of sexual assault in the U.S. populace and globally (Watts & Zimmerman, 2002).
Sexual assault was defined by the Department of Defense (DoD) as, BIntentional sexual interaction characterized by use of power, coercions, pressure, or abuse of power or when affected person is not in agreement in the sexual act. It entails an extensive category of sexual crimes, for instance, rape, provoked sexual contact, offensive sexual contact, forced oral or anal sex, or efforts to commit these acts. Therefore, actions of sexual assault involve unsolicited sexual contact and rape. To get a sentence for sexual assault, two elements must be confirmed: the action must be displayed to have taken place and must have also taken place without the approval of the affected party. However, the latter part of sexual assault has been difficult to be proven in the military and civilian courts (Dripps, 2008).
The consequences of sexual assaults on the victims negatively affect their emotional and physical health, military profession and accomplishment of life outside the military ranks. Furthermore, sexual assaults have been proven to be among the major causes of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) among military female service officers and veterans. Despair, drugs and alcohol are also associated with sexual assault in martial and civilian populations. Sexual assaults are also contributing factors leading to several female service members quitting the military (Castro, Kintzle & Hassan, 2014). As a consequence of military-related sexual disturbance, numerous female veterans find it difficult to transition to normal lives (Castro, Kintzle & Hassan, 2014). The U.S. military has strived to address the issue of sexual assault among its service members to find a solution. The effort to end the assaults is significant since it identifies the need to ensure the safety and wellbeing of its members. Consequently, it is apparent that putting an end to sexual assault in the military is essential to defend human rights.
Causes of Sexual Assault
The military, similar to other leading establishments across the globe, is characterized by a male-controlled construction subjugated by principles such as decorum, control, allegiance, solidarity and emotional control. Prominence is focused on male principles, thus enhancing concepts of supremacy, antagonism, autonomy and daring. Therefore, the military’s antiquity of masculine generation connection cultivates frenzied-masculinity, which interprets masculine relations in terms of rivalry, domination and control. The power discrepancy between males and females in the military as a result of male controlled governance and construction enhances sexual misconduct. Additional outdated and hyper-men philosophies and damaging insolences towards women have also been contributing factors of sexual harassment and assault (Hunter, 2007). Besides, the ideals of fear in the martial heightens the danger of sexual abuse. This is because fear and stigma involved in being categorized or acknowledged as homosexual can be involved thus making assaulted party or victims of assault from pursuing impartiality (Hunter, 2007).
Generally, in several combats, women have always been regarded as the best rewards for the triumph side as a means of upholding moral, thus being given freely to male soldiers to fulfill their sexual desires. This was because women were regarded as sexual assets by men in battle. For instance, some nations have aggressively sent sex workers to the U.S. military soldiers as a symbol of amity (Hunter, 2007). In addition, the aptitude to rape and kill has been regarded as a sign of supremacy. Therefore, the military’s customary approval of ferocity as an effective means of accomplishing objectives can establish a setting encouraging sexual assault conduct (Hunter, 2007).
Past Personal Experience
Victims of past sexual ordeal in the military are also associated with sexual abuse. According to the 2012 report from DoD, it is estimated that 30 % and 6 % of female and male service officers respectively testified of pre-military sexual abuse (Center, 2013). According to the findings, military illustrations have showed that women with an account of pre-military sexual abuse face the threat of being assaulted again during military service. This is because of the emotive and behavioral effects of the early assault, which include feelings of self-guilt, distressing and personal complications.
Alcohol and Substance Use
It is apparent that the use of alcohol and other drugs is prevalent in the military like other cultures. In both the contexts, alcohol has been one of the leading factors to increased threat of sexual assault. Alcohol and use of drugs can stimulate sexual desires, risk taking, belligerence, and misunderstanding of victim responses as an offer for sex. Numerous circumstantial and discrete factors may also aggravate the effect of alcohol, for instance, mental state of sexual supremacy and aggression to women, misunderstanding of victims’ sexual intents, and the superficial peer endorsement for forced sex (Abbey et al., 2014)
There have been traumatizing scenarios for sexually assaulted victims both in the military and civilian as they try to report the cases. This has enhanced the creation of an environment in which the victims of sexual assault fear reporting or seeking assistance, as they believe nothing may be done and they may end up being frustrated. According to a survey by the DoD data in the fiscal year 2014, 62% of women who recounted sexual assault underwent a vengeance, which was the same case in the preceding year (Department of Defense, 2014). Victims of sexual assault in the military as well as in the civilian context are exposed to blames, discharge of duties, incursions on their privacy and skeptical questioning even in instances where it is clear that they were abused. Dispiriting victims of sexual assault from taking a legal action and frustrating their reports is common in the military. Some legal practitioners in the service end up convincing victims that there is nothing serious about the actions, or they further use an intentionally adjusted disorder diagnosis to make sure they sabotage the claims of victims, especially women. This norm has enhanced military sexual assault cases since no action is taken on the abusers who believe the practice accepted in the service.
Military Values Factors Associated to Sexual Assault and Harassment
There are numerous characteristics of the military values and culture, which play a significant role in enhancing an atmosphere that encourages sexual assaults. Although various cultural features are innate in the military, some are certainly not. The facets of the military values that breed an atmosphere for sexual harassment and assault are vital to be understood to come up with effective deterrence and timely intermediation techniques that are fruitful. This section points at some of the leading facets in the military culture that should be considered due to their role in advancing cases of sexual assaults.
Value on Performance
Personal and group performance is treasured by the military since it fosters effective duty achievement. Placing an exceptional significance on performance can certainly cause military leaders in the team to let go or curtail assertions of sexual aggravation or assault when the suspect is a great or low performer. It is sad when a culprit of sexual assault intentionally pursues a colleague known to be an inferior performer by the team control, an aspect that is complicated more if the offender is a high performing person adored by the unit leadership. Military leaders find themselves in a challenging situation of either supporting the best soldier or the poor one. In an event that the leaders attempt to be neutral, unpremeditated partialities are likely to emerge.
Problem Resolution within the Military Confines
A significant feature of the military philosophy is to resolve individual skirmishes inside the team at the lowest probable level. If one member offends another by being insolent, they are required to individually confront each other to raise their concerns. In a rejoinder, the offender is anticipated to change his/her conduct. The military became used to this tradition of service members trying to mend their issues before reporting to their seniors. This has, however, proven to be problematic in the cases of sexual assault because it leads to some sexual assault cases not being reported. Furthermore, this action encourages culprits to assault other members, thus intensifying the behavior. The offenders carry on with this behavior until the time an action is taken, causing a great harm to many people. Moreover, this makes it hard for the low-ranking service members to deal with the issue if the perpetrator is a senior official. This culture makes many cases go unnoticed, hence, hindering significant information that might be used to alleviate the issue.
Personnel characteristic in the military culture involves a constant transfer of military staffs from one place of duty to another to enhance an extensive assortment of work skills, which are important for specialized enlargement and military progression. Nevertheless, this seems to be an opportunity for perpetrators of sexual assault in the military; the culprits are likely to use this chance to sexually assault a new service member in a team just before they shift to a new work station. These circumstances make it difficult for assaulted service members to take action because of being new to the unit, or the fear of their cases being overlooked. Moreover, disquiets concerning the relocation of the culprits have been raised and seem like transferring the problem from one station to another (Rock, Van Winkle, Namrow & Hurley, 2014).
Solutions to the Sexual Assault Problem in the Military
It is important for all persons in the military to understand that sexual assault is a delinquency. Therefore, an imperative facet of the sex crime reduction needs to factor in elements that possible victims can be secured in order to protect them from becoming victims of sexual abuse. This includes sexual assault risk prevention drill as part of a multidimensional determination to restraint sexual violence. Nevertheless, this action does not imply that victims should be accused in case they are sexually assailed because they did not follow the crime prevention procedures.
Male Sexual Assault
The credence that sexual assault is a female problem is still a predominant misconstruction. Even though women are vulnerable to military sexual assault as compared to their male counterparts, figures of male service members that are being sexually assailed are almost equal to that of females as a result of high number of males in the service. Male service members encounter the same defies in taking legal actions against sexual assaults, just as female service members, as well as the stigmatization of the action. Notwithstanding this, the military leaders have frequently evaded addressing the concern of male sexual assault, possibly because it seems shameful. In addition, the military’s sexual assault deterrence teaching does not have adequate information concerning male victims and the discrete challenges they face, for instance, reporting occurring cases. Furthermore, several sexual acts committed to men are stimulated by mortification or a method of castigation. Determinations to avert sexual assault must embrace policies that consider sexual assaults on both male service members. Military leaders must acknowledge and communicate freely concerning the frequency of male sexual assault.
Prejudices about Sexual Conduct
Individual opinions about sexual conduct encourage sexual assault and enhance a nation of presupposing those affected by sexual assault. They encourage a culture where affected persons fail to report sexual offenders since that may not be affirmed in the military. The risks of incorporating individual or religious principles concerning sexual conduct must be clearly expressed in sexual assault deterrence training series.
Observing Sexual Assault as a Personal Crime
Although sexual assault is known to be a serious crime, it is in most cases not treated so when it is on individual levels. Consequently, strategies to avert sexual assault need to focus on identifying the culprit, reporting the crime, and receiving verdicts. Resolutions that state the negative traditional philosophies of gender and the thought of normalization of such views should be eradicated. Moreover, when sexual abuse cases in the military are observed from the perspective of delinquency, victims end up getting secondary care, thus, exposing them to severe physical and mental needs that are not addressed. Sexual assault is a delinquency, however, it breeds in a culture where reverence and self-worth for other people is absent. Therefore, sexual abuse in the military and the society must be viewed as a crime not as a personal affair.
Compound Military Reporting Structure
The structure of reporting a sexual crime in the military system is quite complicated, involving constrained pathways with several people that are entailed in the command chain. As a result of this complexity several assaulted victims end up not reporting cases of sexual abuses. Furthermore, several of the victimized personnel in the military fear that reporting incidences of sexual assault are not kept silent. The victims service members who report sexual abuse cases, furthermore indicate that their claims are hardly believed and in numerous instances suffer from revenge actions from the culprits and their supporting members. Therefore, the process of reporting sexual abuse cases in the martial hinder several cases that need to be reported since they have manifold risks on one’s career. This should be addressed and ensure that proper strategies are put in place enable victims and the perpetrators of sexual offences are brought to justice in order to control the menace.
Sexual abuse in the military epitomizes a noteworthy danger to military enthusiasm, since sexual perpetrators exert severe health outcomes and work deprivation. However, the military’s efforts to end the menace of sexual abuse seem infrequent. What is urgently required to bring to an end sexual assault in the military is an inclusive and continual approach that takes into account the original grounds and mythologies about sexual assault. Furthermore, the military social features that may not deliberately contribute to the issue and the scratchy matters around sexual abuse are disregarded, for instance, pervasiveness of male sexual assault in the military should also be addressed. The military’s approach to stop sexual assault should be grounded on evidence-based methodologies that will transform the military ethos and ways in which women are regarded and treated. Incorporating sexual assault deterrence psycho-training and bringing to book cases of sexual abuses by victims up to where action is taken is significant in controlling sexual assault in the military. The support given to victims of sexual assault in their career is also significant in dealing with the aftermaths of a sexual assault.
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