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

Analyst: Joint-Arab Military Force Poses Perilous Challenge

Although international forces are desperately needed to counter the threat of the Islamic State group, analysts say conflicting alliances could escalate fighting More

Asia’s Middle Class Changes Demand for Wheat Grain Exporters

Changes in tastes and diets are boon for wheat exporters such as Australia and the United States More

S. African Comedian Taking Over Popular TV Show

Mixed-race comedian Trevor Noah, who is loved for his edgy jibes about race and language, is taking the helm from Jon Stewart at The Daily Show in US More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadistsi
X
Greg Flakus
March 30, 2015 6:48 PM
At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video Film Tells Story of Musicians in Mali Threatened by Jihadists

At this year's annual South by Southwest film and music festival in Austin, Texas, some musicians from Mali were on hand to promote a film about how their lives were upturned by jihadists who destroyed ancient treasures in the city of Timbuktu and prohibited anyone from playing music under threat of death. As VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Austin, some are afraid to return to their hometowns even though the jihadists are no longer in control there.
Video

Video With Coalition Airstrikes, Iraq Entering 'Last Page' of IS Battle

American warplanes joined Iraq's battle against the so-called 'Islamic State' in northern Iraq late Wednesday, as Iraqi ground troops launched a massive assault on Tikrit. Analysts say the offensive could take the coalition a step further towards Mosul, the largest city held by Islamic State forces. Others say it could also deepen already-dangerous sectarian tensions in the region. VOA's Heather Murdock has more from Cairo.
Video

Video Philippines Wants Tourists Spending Money at New Casinos

Tourism is a multi-billion dollar industry in the Philippines. Close to five million foreign visitors traveled there last year, perhaps lured by the country’s tropical beaches. But Jason Strother reports from Manila that the country hopes to entice more travelers to stay indoors and spend money inside new casinos.
Video

Video Civilian Casualties Push Men to Join Rebels in Ukraine

The continued fighting in eastern Ukraine and the shelling of civilian neighborhoods seem to be pushing more men to join the separatist fighters. Many of the new recruits are residents of Ukraine made bitter by new grievances, as well as old. VOA's Patrick Wells reports.
Video

Video Islamic State Prisoners Talk of Curiosity, God, Regret

Islamic State fighter, a prisoner of Kurdish YPG forces, asked his family asking for forgiveness: "I destroyed myself and I destroyed them along with me." The Syrian youth was one of two detainees who spoke to VOA’s Kurdish Service about the path they chose; their names have been changed and identifying details obscured. VOA's Zana Omer reports.
Video

Video Germanwings Findings Raise Issue of Psychological Testing for Pilots

More is being discovered about the co-pilot in the crash of Germanwings Flight 9525 in the French Alps. Investigators say he was hiding a medical condition, raising questions about the mental qualifications of pilots. VOA's Carolyn Presutti reports.
Video

Video Hi-tech Motorbike Helmet's Goal: Improve Road Safety

In cities with heavily congested traffic, people can get around much faster on a motorcycle than in a car. But a rider who is not sure of his route may have to stop to look at the map or consult a GPS. A Russian start-up company is working to make navigation easier for motorcyclists. Designers at Moscow-based LiveMap are developing a smart helmet with a built-in navigation system, head-mounted display and voice recognition. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video DOJ: Illinois National Guard Soldier Tried to Join ISIS

U.S. federal law enforcement agents arrested two suburban Chicago men accused of trying to join ISIS overseas, while also plotting attacks in the United States. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports from the Midwest state of Illinois, one of those arrested is a soldier of the Illinois National Guard.
Video

Video New Wheelchair Is Easier to Use, Increases Mobility

Traditional push-rim wheelchairs create a lot of stress for arm, shoulder and neck muscles and joints. A redesigned chair, based on readily available bicycle technology, radically increases mobility while reducing the physical effort. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Liberia's Almost Last Ebola Patient Grateful but Still Grieving

Beatrice Yardolo was to make history as Liberia’s last Ebola patient. Liberians recently started counting down 42 days, the period that has to go by without a single new infection until the World Health Organization can declare a country Ebola-free. That countdown stopped on March 20 when there was another new case of Ebola, making Yardolo’s story a reminder that Ebola is far from over. Benno Muchler reports from Monrovia.
Video

Video Cambodian Land Grabs Threaten Traditional Communities

Indigenous communities in Cambodia's Ratanakiri province say the government’s economic land concession policy is taking away their land and traditional way of life, making many fear that their identity will soon be lost. Local authorities, though, have denied this is the case. VOA's Say Mony went to investigate and filed this report, narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Space Program Status Disappoints 'Last Man on the Moon'

One of the films that drew big crowds last week at the annual South by Southwest festival in Austin, Texas, tells the story of the last human being to stand on the moon, U.S. astronaut Eugene Cernan. It has been 42 years since Cernan returned from the moon and he laments that no one else has gone there since. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports.

VOA Blogs

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More