Nukewatch Quarterly Summer 2019
There were 20,500 instances of sexual assault in the US military in 2018, and a 50% increase in assaults against women in uniform since 2016, the Pentagon reports. One of two annual reports on Sexual Assault in the Military noted a 38% overall increase in what it called “unwanted sexual contact” since the 2016 survey, and it found that women endure 63% of the assaults, although they make up only 20% of military personnel. One in 16 women reported being sexually assaulted, compared to one in 100 men. The 2019 survey interviewed 100,000 active-duty men and women in the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines. The Marine Corps had a far higher rate of assaults on women, with one in 10 reporting assault, two times the rate in the Air Force and the Army. In April 2018, Marine Corps Brig. Gen. Kurt Stein was suspended for publicly joking about sexual harassment at his command, calling allegations “fake news.” Representative Jackie Speier, D-Calif. told the New York Times, “We’ve thrown about $200 million at this problem for eight years, and this report suggests it’s not working.” The other report surveyed the military’s officer training academies, and found likewise that sexual assaults rose by 50% over all since 2016. In Minnesota last April, a first-ever tally of sexual assault in the state’s 13,200-strong National Guard found 90 instances, 94% of which targeted women who make up 20% of the Guard.
—New York Times, May 3 & 17, and Minneapolis StarTribune, April 26, 2019; USA Today, April 12, 2018