Why Do The Number of Sexual Assaults Continue to Increase Throughout the Army
The Department of Defense outlines in its 2017 Annual Report the number of sexual assaults in the military and it was stated that the number of reported sexual assaults involving service members rose by roughly 10% from the previous year. The military makes every attempt made to increase awareness and ultimately prevent sexual assault, but it can appear to those outside the military that nothing that is changing when reported cases are still on the rise. Despite the increase in reported sexual assaults, the annual rates of sexual assault have decreased by half for active duty women and by two-thirds for active duty men over the past 10 years according to the study. This can cause one to question how reported sexual assaults can increase year to year while the actual rates of assault decrease. The Army has made diligent efforts to promote the SHARP program and make available to victims a variety of methods to report assaults (both confidential and non-confidential), but based on numbers alone one can assume that perhaps not every reported sexual assault is entirely factual.
Sexual assaults in the military are currently handled by the accused’s chain of command and command has the overall ability to intervene at any point to stop the investigation, reduce a sentence, or set aside a conviction all together. This alone can be viewed as a faulty system when both the victim and accused are part of the same chain of command, specifically if one of the parties involved (accused or victim) are a Non-Commissioned Officer or Officer. I believe that in order to give this matter the true attention is deserves the Army needs a consider a change in way that sexual assaults are reported, investigated, and arbitrated.
A fundamental reform of the Military Code of Justice that includes removing the accused’s chain of command from the equation would allow for an unbiased review of the reported assault as well as give both the victim and the accused a chance for a fair and just investigation. By having the chain of command involved in the process,...