Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is taking measures to combat sexual assault in the US military. This is long overdue. Sexual assault has been a difficult part of military life for many female soldiers.
Last year alone there were a total of 3,191 reported cases of sexual assault in the military. That actual number may even be higher considering that many sexual assaults go unreported in civilian life and I would imagine that could be even higher in a military based life. The sexual assault plans for the military includes many similarities to our national sexual assault procedures.
To begin with, there will be a set standard for sexual assault response. Additionally there will be victim advocates, a vital part of the aftermath of sexual assaults. Having a thorough procedure and some form of support system in place may help to get victims of sexual assault to alert officials and seek help.
One of the greatest concerns of reporting sexual assaults within the military is the old buddy system. What many victims don’t see is that most military men would stand up against their fellow soldier for the sake of a female victim. Unfortunately women who have suffered a sexual assault are left feeling alone and often enter an emotional rollercoaster.
Having a new sexual assault standard will help by giving victims an outlet to report an incident. It can go beyond that, as new procedures fall into place, would be perpetrators may be deterred through a no tolerance policy. Those who aren’t stopped will be court martialed and prosecuted to the full extent of the law just like any civilian that committed the horrible crime of sexual assault.