Human Rights Watch says U.S. military personnel who report sexual assault frequently experience retaliation that goes unpunished..
A report released Monday by Human Rights Watch after an 18 month investigation concludes that male and female military personnel who report sexual assault are 12 times as likely to experience some form of retaliation as to see their attacker convicted of a sex offense.
The report, Embattled: Retaliation against Sexual Assault Survivors in the US Military, says Department of Defense surveys indicate that 62 percent of those who report sexual assault say they experienced retaliation.
Nathan Galbreath, senior executive advisor for the Department of Defense Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office, speaks at a news conference at the Pentagon in Washington to release the Annual Report on Sexual Assault in the Military, May 1, 2015.
Human Rights Watch says the retaliation ranges from threats, vandalism, and harassment to poor work assignments, loss of promotion opportunities, disciplinary action including discharge, and even criminal charges, according to the analysis.
Co-author of the report Sara Darehshori says “The U.S. military’s progress in getting people to report sexual assaults isn’t going to continue as long as retaliation for making a report goes unpunished.”
Human Rights Watch wants Congress to give service members the same level of protection as civilians when it comes to reporting inappropriate treatment by a superior.
The organization says the mechanism that is intended to protect service members from employment-related retaliation, the Military Whistleblower Protection Act, has not helped any service member whose career was harmed.