Protect Our Defenders News Blog



Washington DC – On Monday, the Department of Defense (DoD) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) released a report that determined sexual assault in the military may be more likely to cause post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) than combat. The study found that 45% of women and 65% of men who reported being raped met the criteria for post-traumatic stress disorder — a significantly higher number than the 38.8% of men who met the criteria for PTSD due to combat.

The impact of military sexual assault on survivors is devastating. The report found that “sexual assault takes a toll mentally and physically on victims” and that “the DoD Office of People Analytics reported that, in 2016, 28 percent of women and 23 percent of men who reported being sexually assaulted also reported that ‘they took steps to leave or separate from the military’ as a result of sexual assault.” 

The findings were contained in a report on top management challenges facing the DoD. The IG acknowledges that “Sexual assault within the DoD remains a persistent and serious challenge.” The report highlighted numerous failures by the Pentagon in addressing sexual assault and rape among the ranks including the failure to hold offenders accountable, failing to properly advise victims of their rights, and failure to accurately report the number of sexual assaults at the Air Force Academy. 

Col. Don Christensen (ret.), the former Chief Prosecutor of the United State Air Force and President of Protect Our Defenders, released the following statement:

“The Pentagon IG report is damning indictment of the myriad of ways the military has failed to address the crisis of sexual assault and protect the women and men who serve.  As the report itself says, ‘When service members are found to have committed sexual assault, the DoD must hold them accountable.’

Despite all the assurances of military leadership that they alone are the solution, the Pentagon’s obstruction of true reform has led to skyrocketing sexual assault rates and plummeting accountability. The chain of command has failed to address this plague and its selfish resistance to reform is devastating the force. Victims are paying the price for Pentagon inaction and retention will continue to suffer.

It is past time for Congress to take action and pass real military justice reform to protect our service members.” 

Department of Defense Office of Inspector General Top DoD Management Challenges – Fiscal Year 2020 Report: DoD IG: Military Sexual Assault More Likely Than Combat to Result in PTSD: 

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About Protect Our Defenders: Protect Our Defenders (POD) is a human rights organization. We are the only national organization solely dedicated to ending the epidemic of rape and sexual assault in the military and to combating a culture of pervasive misogyny, sexual harassment and retribution against victims. We honor, support and give voice to survivors of military sexual assault and harassment – including service members, veterans and civilians assaulted by members of the military. We seek reform to ensure all survivors are provided a safe, respectful work environment and have access to a fair, impartially administered system of justice. Like us on Facebook at or follow us on Twitter at