Sexual Assault

Climate Crisis: Removing Authority from U.S. Military Commanders Over Sexual Assault Cases May Remedy the Prevalence and Underreporting of Sexual Assault

(Source)   The latest Department of Defense (DoD) Annual Report on Sexual Assault in the Military reports an increase in instances of sexual assault in the U.S. military (military). While rates of sexual assault increase, rates of conviction and punishment remain unchanged. The current military justice system allows for the accused’s unit supervisor (hereinafter “Commander”) to play a significant role in how sexual assault cases are resolved. While Pentagon officials promise to take more aggressive action in addressing sexual assault, it is often questioned whether the military is “equipped to police and reform itself.” According to a study commissioned by the DoD, an estimated 20,500 service members “experienced some kind of contact or penetrative sexual assault in 2018.” This is a 38% increase since the 2016 survey. The same study found that while rates of sexual assault against men remained steady, rates of sexual assault against women increased by almost 50%. With less than one-third of military survivors reporting sexual assault, and 6,053 reports of sexual assault in the 2018 fiscal year, there appears to be a greater institutional problem within the military justice system. Military sexual assault reports are processed either through the restricted or unrestricted reporting systems. Restricted [read more]

Sidelining Locker Room Talk

By Christina M. Kim In 2012, Harvard University discovered an online “scouting report” in which male soccer players ranked female players by attractiveness and suspected sexual preferences. Freshmen women players, some as young as 17, were evaluated based on their looks and sex appeal with numerical scores and offensive descriptions. The report assigned each woman a hypothetical sexual position in addition to her position on the soccer field. For example:  “She seems relatively simple and probably inexperienced sexually, so I decided missionary would be her preferred position.”  This ranking system appears to have been a and was not isolated to a few individuals. In response Harvard University suspended its men’s soccer team for the remainder of the 2016-17 season.   While it is easy to dismiss the scouting report as “locker room talk,” sex discrimination and exploitation on college campuses is not so neatly confined. Universities across the country are struggling to address sexism on and off the fields.   In 2015, more than 150,000 students at 27 universities participated in the Association of American Universities (AAU) Campus Climate Survey on Sexual Assault and Sexual Misconduct. The purpose was to “help participating universities better understand the attitudes and experiences of [read more]