Sexual Assault in the Military-2013 Statutory Report

by Sabrina I. Pacifici on November 10, 2013

“The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights chose to focus on sexual assault in the U.S. military for its annual 2013 Statutory Enforcement Report. This report examines how the Department of  Defense and its Armed Services—the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force (the  Services)—respond to Service members who report having been sexually assaulted (“victims”)  and how it investigates and disciplines Service members accused of perpetrating sexual assault  (“perpetrators”). This report also reviews how the military educates Service members and trains  military criminal investigators and military lawyers about sexual assault offenses. The topic is  both relevant and timely, as Congress is currently considering ways to address this issue.  The Commission has authority to examine questions related to sexual assault in the military  because the issues involve both sex discrimination and the denial of equal protection in the  administration of justice. The issue of sex discrimination involves female Service members, who represent 14 percent of the military population, but are disproportionately likely to be  victims at a rate five times that of their male counterparts. The questions related to a possible denial of equal protection in the administration of justice led the Commission to examine cases in which sexual assault victims, as well as Service members accused of sexual assault, claim unfair treatment in the military justice system.  Through this report, the Commission sheds light on the scope, response, investigation, and discipline of sexual assault in the U.S. military. The Commission held a briefing on January 11, 2013 to hear the testimony of military officials, scholars, advocacy groups, and practitioners on the topic of sexual assault in the military. In response to written questions from the Commission, the Department of Defense and its Armed Services provided documents and other materials, including data on investigated sexual assault allegations, which the Commission  analyzed. The results of these efforts are memorialized in this report.”

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