WINDY CITY TIMES
||Pentagon: sexual assaults slightly up, offenders still serve
From a SWAN news release
This article shared 1136 times since Mon Apr 16, 2012
NEW YORK, NY — On Friday afternoon, the Pentagon released the FY2011 Department Of Defense Annual Report on Sexual Assault in the Military. The 734-page report shows a 1% increase in reported sexual assaults, from 3,158 assaults in 2010 to 3,192 in 2011. By the DOD's own estimate last year, over 19,000 service members are sexually assaulted annually, with underreporting a key concern. The Service Women's Action Network (SWAN) will release an analysis of the report later today.
"The SAPRO report underscores what we have known for a long time," said SWAN Executive Director and former Marine Captain Anu Bhagwati. "The DOD cannot reduce the magnitude of sexual assault in the ranks without intensive oversight from Congress and the courts. Until key issues like case disposition authority, mandatory punishment for offenders and access to civil remedies for victims are made an immediate priority, the military will still have a crisis on its hands, and sexual assault rates will not decrease."
The report reveals that the military is continuing to retain convicted sex offenders. In 2011, the military allowed 36% of convicted sex offenders to remain in the military. Additionally, from 2009 to 2011, the military allowed 10% of reported offenders to Resign in Lieu Of a Court Martial (RILO), thereby avoiding a trial.
"DOD continues to miss opportunities to change military culture through accountability and prosecutions of cases," Bhagwati said. "At present, there is no language in SAPRO's training emphasizing punishments for military sex offenders, and the military's record on prosecution and punishment remains weak. Conviction of sex crimes in the military must become a 'showstopper,' effectively ending a service member's career. It is beyond outrageous that convicted sex offenders are still serving in uniform. The military should require a punitive discharge as a routine part of a sex offender's sentencing."
SWAN is a national civil rights organization founded and led by women veterans. SWAN's vision is to transform military culture by securing equal opportunity and the freedom to serve in uniform without threat of harassment, discrimination, intimidation or assault. SWAN also seeks to reform veterans' services on a national scale to guarantee equal access to quality health care, benefits and resources for women veterans and their families. You can follow Service Women's Action Network on Twitter at twitter.com/servicewomen, or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/servicewomen.
This article shared 1136 times since Mon Apr 16, 2012
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