U.S. military excuses rape

There is an ongoing national tragedy that, for whatever reason, is being kept out of the public eye. A large number of women and men are being sexually abused in the military, while too many perpetrators are facing few consequences.

In a study done by the American Journal of Public Health in 2007, more than 20 percent of women in the military have been sexually assaulted, which calculates to more than half a million women throughout history.

The Department of Defense (DOD) released a statement that 3,230 sexual offenses were reported in 2009, but the DOD also said that 80 percent of victims do not report. That translates to 16,150 sexual crimes among the military that year.

Many of these rapists and sex offenders are of higher command, and victims who file reports are often the ones who suffer punishment. That is why the so many victims choose not to disclose their assaults. Twenty-five percent of servicewomen have not reported rape specifically because the person they were required to file the report was the rapist, and 33 percent have not reported incidents because the rapist was a friend of the person they would have reported to.

The reason the rate of sexual assault is so high in the military is because the culprits usually get away with it. So why would they stop, if no one is making them?

According to the 2012 documentary, “The Invisible War,” which was nominated for Best Documentary Feature at the 85th Academy Awards, people in the military are twice as likely to commit rape. Sex offenders are apparently welcomed in the U.S. Armed Forces, which makes it a prime target for rapists. A Navy study discovered that 15 percent of incoming recruits attempted or committed rape before entering the military.

Every year the number of sexual offenses in the military steadily increases and anyone can be a victim. It’s not only women who are being sexually harassed, but in 2011, one percent of all men in the military were also assaulted. Due to the lopsided number of men compared with women in the service, the number of men who have been sexually assaulted is greater. That one percent calculates to around 20,000 men.

Men are also less likely than women to report sexual assualt. When a man is victimized, he feels stripped of his masculinity. The ones who are committing the offense aren’t even homosexual. They are usually power-hungry, psychopathic heterosexual men.

The effects and aftermath of rape create both physical and psychological trauma. Most rapes include beatings that can cause life-long injuries. Some victims can’t even do simple tasks like sitting down or opening their jaws in cold weather. The mental state they are put in is unfathomable, and, worst of all, what must they think of their own country that allowed them to be sexually violated?

All branches of the military are required to mandate sexual harassment classes. They provide ways for troops to avoid and prevent rape, but they make it sound like anyone could be a rapist, and that possible victims have to be on high alert at all times. But instead of making troops paranoid, they should just prosecute the perpetrators. That will get rid of a lot of the rapes right away.

The military judicial system is always making excuses for rape. In some cases, where women have filed lawsuits, they were told that they were basically “asking to be raped” because they wore makeup and a standard sized knee-length skirt.

The military judicial system is broken and the government has constantly failed to do anything about it. It is time they actually made an effort for change to this ongoing tragedy.