The recent sexual battery arrest of the Air Force officer in charge of the service’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response unit is just the latest example of how far the military needs to go to address the issue of sexual assault within their ranks. Last year approximately 26,000 service members were victims of sexual assault. According to Pentagon estimates, this is an increase of more than one third since 2010, when 19,300 service members were believed to be victims of sexual assaults.
The Pentagon acknowledges that these findings show that "sexual assault is a persistent problem and there is more work to be done," and comes at a time when the focus on this abuse within the ranks is growing in intensity.
Also under fire is how sexual assault accusations are handled in the military. Currently, decisions are in the hands of commanding officers. Many say this makes it hard for victims to step forward and also allows commanding officers to dismiss charges against their officers. Twice in recent months, three-star Air Force generals have come under fire for throwing out sexual assault convictions for lower-ranking officers.
What can be done? The military acknowledges that it needs to work harder to reduce sexual assaults and bring perpetrators to justice. Meanwhile in Congress, legislators are drawing up bills that would remove commanding officers from deciding these cases and, instead have military lawyers determine the outcome.
What’s most important is for those in the military who are sexually assaulted to know that they are far from alone. Seeking legal and psychological support can help them decide the best course of action to take to protect their rights and move forward with their lives.
Our Sexual Assault Injury Lawyers Want to Help
Have you or someone you love been the victim of a sexual assault in the military? Our Long Island personal injury lawyers are prepared to help victims who are abused while at a military academy or while serving in the military. We understand the wide range of emotions you may be feeling—fear, confusion, embarrassment and pain—and we want to help. We have worked closely with entire families to help ease the fear, depression, pain and embarrassment you may be feeling, and we will put all our efforts into collecting the compensation you deserve for both the physical and emotional pain you have suffered. Contact us for a free, private consultation. We will answer your question, discuss your case and let you know what you can expect from the legal process.