News / USA

Calls Grow For An End to Sexual Assaults in US Military

Calls Grow For An End to Sexual Assaults in US Militaryi
X
May 22, 2013 9:51 PM
A recent Pentagon report says the number of sexual assaults among people in the military continues to grow. The estimated number of incidents, ranging from groping to rape, increased by 37 percent last year. Both men and women were victims. This is prompting them, and activists, to push for deep changes in the US military. VOA Pentagon correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Luis Ramirez
A recent Pentagon report says the number of sexual assaults among people in the military continues to grow. The estimated number of incidents, ranging from groping to rape, increased by 37 percent last year. Both men and women were victims.  This is prompting them,  and activists, to push for deep changes in the US military.  
 
More women are on active military duty than ever before. And as their numbers grow, so do the reports of sexual assaults.   
 
Calls to do something about it are growing.
 
“So not only is it a crime, not only is it shameful and disgraceful, but it also is going to make, and has made, the military less effective than it can be. And as such, it is dangerous to our national security," said President Obama. 
 
Few understand that better than Jenny McClendon, a veteran who was raped by a superior while serving in the U.S. Navy. She now works to advocate change through a group called Protect Our Defenders.
 
"If you can't trust the people that you're working with to have your best interests at heart, if you can't trust the people that you're working with to not assault you, then you can't trust your unit which means that there's a divided unit," she said. 
 
Women now make up more than 14 percent of the active duty force, and for the military that means new challenges in creating an environment where men and women can work and live in close quarters while maintaining professionalism. 
 
The military has tried to combat sexual assault with public service announcements that stress awareness, and training programs that call for sensitivity and an improved reporting system.
 
But revelations that some of those in charge of the programs have allegedly been perpetrators could undermine these efforts. Like the case of Colonel Jeffrey Krusinski, head of the Air Force sexual assault prevention and response unit, who is now charged with groping a woman near the Pentagon.  
 
McClendon believes it's time for deep cultural changes.  She recalls that while serving 12 years ago, it was acceptable for male soldiers to say they didn't want to work with women.  
 
“When that's permitted, you've got a culture that promotes sexual assaults and rape. We need to challenge that paradigm. We need to have people saying we're not going to allow people to not work with women. If you don't want to work with women, you're not working in the military," she said. 
 
With an estimated 26,000 assault cases last year, Congress is considering tougher penalties for sexual assaults in the military.  Activists welcome those moves. 
 
McClendon says creating a more diverse, gender-neutral environment in the military will ultimately advance as more women enlist.

You May Like

Sydney Hostage-taker Failed to Manipulate Social Media

Gunman forced captives to use personal Facebook, YouTube accounts to issue his demands; online community helped flag messages, urged others not to share them More

UN Seeks $8.4 Billion to Help War-Hit Syrians

Effort aimed at helping Syrians displaced within their own country and those who've fled to neighboring ones More

Who Are the Pakistani Taliban?

It's an umbrella group of militant organizations whose objective is enforcement of Sharia in Pakistan 'whether through peace or war' More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Putin: Russian Economy to Rebound in 2 Yearsi
X
December 18, 2014 5:13 PM
Russian President Vladimir Putin held his annual end-of-the-year news conference Thursday, tackling questions on the Russian economy, the crisis in Ukraine and Russian relations with the west. VOA's Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Putin: Russian Economy to Rebound in 2 Years

Russian President Vladimir Putin held his annual end-of-the-year news conference Thursday, tackling questions on the Russian economy, the crisis in Ukraine and Russian relations with the west. VOA's Jeff Custer reports.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video Will Pakistan School Shooting Galvanize Pakistan Against Extremism?

The attack on a military school in Pakistan’s northwest city of Peshawar left 141 dead, including 132 children. Strong statements of condemnation poured in from across the world. The country announced three days of mourning, and the leadership, both political and military, promised retribution. VOA's Ayesha Tanzeem looks at how likely the Pakistani government is to clamp down on all extremist groups.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video Turkey's Authoritarianism Dismays Western Allies

The Turkish government has been defiant in the face of criticism at home and abroad for its raids targeting opposition media. The European Union on Monday expressed dismay after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lashed out at Brussels for criticizing his government's action. Turkey's bid to be considered for EU membership has been on hold while critics accuse the NATO ally of increasingly authoritarian rule. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid