While there are many women in the U.S. military doing great things, there is one thing holding them back: rampant sexual abuse. A new study conducted by researchers at the Department of Veterans Affairs found that sexual assault against women is occurring more frequently. What's even crazier is that Congress has done nothing to eradicate the problem.
Here are seven things about sexual assault against women in the military that should not happen, but do:
1. 2 in 5 women in the military experience sexual abuse.
In perspective, 1 in 5 U.S. women report being sexually abused. Women in the military are officially twice as likely to experience sexual assault than their civilian counterparts.
2. Military women are 10 times more likely than men to experience sexual harassment.
The study found that 4 percent of military men experience sexual abuse, far behind the 40 percent of military women who experience it. Less than 15 percent of the active duty military force is women.
3. The sexual assault risk against military women increases in the Marines and Navy.
The study compared these military branches with the Air Force, which saw a decreased risk.
4. Two-thirds of military women who reported sexual abuse were punished.
Two out of 3 women who reported sexual violence faced some form of professional retaliation, such as being denied a promotion or being ostracized by other soldiers.
5. Many military women who were sexually traumatized don't use the VA.
Of the many assaulted, 37.2 percent of women who experience military sexual trauma do not visit any VA facility, compared to just 3.5 percent of men. The VA facilities offer numerous treatment procedures, including free care options.
6. Rape is more common in the military than being killed in combat.
A 2013 study found that soldiers were 15 times more likely to be raped by a comrade than killed by an enemy.
7. Congress is not helping military sexual assault victims.
The Senate recently blocked a vote on a bill that would have made it safer for women to report their sexual abuse. The bill would have allowed prosecutors to decide guilt or punishment instead of senior officers.
(H/T: Good Therapy)
Cover image via iStock