U.S. Navy veteran Leeanna Rossi writes:
Women have been serving in our military for over 250 years, but they have been largely ignored throughout history. Unfortunately, this mirrors the military’s willingness to address the problem of sexual assaults occurring presently within their ranks.
One of the earliest sexual assault cases occurred in 1991, with the Navy’s now infamous “Tail-hook Convention.” This led to the dismissal, demotion or denied promotion of 14 admirals and approximately 300 naval aviators. Unfortunately, nothing changed.
In 2012, a documentary was made by Kirby Dick titled “The Invisible War,” using statistical data and personal interviews to illustrate how victims of sexual assault are treated in our military justice system. In this documentary, the Department of Veteran Affairs estimated one in four women and one in 100 men will experience a sexual assault during their military career. In 2010, the DVA also found that 49,388 men had reported military sexual trauma during that year alone. The first problem victims face is whether to report the crime. Presently, victims report all crimes up the chain of command. For both male and female victims, such reporting quickly leads to loss of reputation, problems with their co-workers and ultimately being labeled as a “trouble-maker.” It can be worse for male victims because they can also be labeled as a homosexual, if the accused is male.