The serious problem of sexual assault and sexual harassment in the united states

Sexual violence is a serious public health problem that affects millions of women and men. In the United States, 1 in 3 women and 1 in 6 men have experienced sexual violence involving physical contact at some point in their lives.

The serious problem of sexual assault and sexual harassment in the united states

Because sexual harassment and assault are more closely intertwined in the military than in most civilian contexts, the military context affords a unique opportunity to study the interrelationships between these two types of sexual violence.

In this review, we briefly summarize existing research on military sexual trauma prevalence rates, effects on victims, and risk factors, as well as prevention and response programs in the military context.

In each of these topic areas, we emphasize issues unique to the complex interplay between sexual harassment and assault in the military and make recommendations for future research.

From a different angle, Bell and Reardon 5 expertly reviewed issues regarding the clinical care of veterans with a history of sexual victimization. Here, we focus on an issue that has not been adequately addressed to date: The bulk of this work has focused on lifetime prevalence rates of military sexual victimization and on its long-term health impacts.

Because similar clinical considerations are relevant for victims of both severe harassment and sexual assault, 5 most VA research has assessed both types of victimization together as part of a broader category labeled military sexual trauma MSTdefined as: Psychological trauma, which in the judgment of a mental health professional employed by the Department, resulted from a physical assault of a sexual nature, battery of a sexual nature, or sexual harassment which occurred while the Veteran was serving on active duty or active duty for training.

Sexual assault includes rape, forcible sodomy oral or anal sex and other unwanted sexual contact that is aggravated, abusive, or wrongful to include unwanted and inappropriate sexual contact or other attempts to commit these acts.

Also, in military environments, the use of authority to pressure a subordinate into sexual contact constitutes not only sexual harassment but also sexual assault, even though this is not the case in the civilian legal system.

In the military, the level of coercion that can be facilitated through the use of rank and authority can be just as serious as the threat or use of physical force. The complexity involved in defining sexual trauma within the DoD compared to the VA further reflects the multifaceted nature of the responsibilities the DoD has with respect to this problem.

The services must implement programs and policies both to prevent and respond to sexual violence, and they must prosecute perpetrators as well as care for victims. Additionally, each of the service branches is responsible for surveillance and public and political accounting.

Most importantly, all of these roles are secondary to the primary DoD mission of defense, which sometimes requires leaders to send personnel into harm's way even as they seek to protect them from sexual trauma.

Also, certain aspects of these problems have been addressed more than others, leaving significant gaps in what we know about their dynamics. For instance, although both VA and DoD researchers have made important strides in studying sexual aggression among service members, more work in military operational contexts is particularly needed.

Below, we briefly review what is already known about four important issues related to sexual harassment and assault in the military: As will become evident, there has been much more attention to the first two issues than the latter two. In addition, across topics, it is important to recognize that almost all research on sexual aggression among service members to date has focused on victims.

In fact, we are aware of only one program of research that has assessed the perpetration of sexual aggression by military personnel. Estimating Prevalence Rates By law, VA treatment facilities must provide care for problems resulting from sexual trauma that occurred during active duty service or military training, 2223 and VA service providers are required to assess all patients for MST using two specific screening questions: While you were in the military 1 did you receive uninvited and unwanted sexual attention, such as touching, cornering, pressure for sexual favors, or verbal remarks?

Since it was first fielded inthis survey has undergone some substantial revisions, but the core assessments consistently have included separate measures of sexual harassment and assault. Up until the most recent iteration of the WGRS, sexual harassment was assessed using the validated Sexual Experiences Questionnaire 27 whereas sexual assault was assessed using one or two questions developed for the WGRS.

Unfortunately, extreme heterogeneity in sample characteristics, study design, and construct measurement make it difficult to compare prevalence estimates across research efforts.

In particular, some seminal studies have followed the VA's lead, using a combined assessment operationalizing MST, 2930 whereas other studies have assessed sexual harassment and assault separately.

There have been multiple attempts to compare the prevalence of sexual victimization in military versus civilian populations, and some have concluded that military rates are comparatively high. In early administrations of the WGRS, the same sexual harassment measures were administered to military personnel as had previously been used in research with civilian federal employees; results indicated that sexual harassment was substantially higher among male and female service members than in this civilian population.

Perhaps the best and most recent comparative data come from the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, in which the prevalence of sexual assault among military and civilian women did not significantly differ.

For instance, an early study found that although overall rates of violence were lower among military personnel than in the general population, this difference was less pronounced for sexual assault than for other types of aggression.

It is difficult to know how military populations that are heavily screened and fully employed should be compared with their civilian counterparts, and as a rule, the military cannot afford to tolerate levels of problem behavior that may be common among civilians.

Documenting Effects on Victims Considerable research has focused on the impact of sexual victimization while in the military, primarily for female service members.

Evidence shows that long-term effects can be serious and wide ranging, including physical e. Like sexual assault, sexual harassment has been linked to poorer overall physical health, mental health symptoms such as depression, and work-related problems.

The serious problem of sexual assault and sexual harassment in the united states

However, studies to date have not evaluated the relative importance of military-specific factors that may account for stronger adverse consequences associated with sexual trauma for military personnel versus civilians.

Identifying Critical Risk and Protective Factors There has been a great deal of speculation about why rates of sexual trauma may be higher within the military than in civilian populations, 111214 even though research evidence has not consistently supported this claim.

A number of possible explanatory factors have been suggested previously. Generally, these include both risk factors for sexual aggression that may be overrepresented in military samples and unique aspects of military lifestyle, culture, structure, and policy that may heighten risk.

Potential explanatory factors include: For example, rigid masculine norms—sometimes called hypermasculinity e.Sexual violence is a serious public health problem that affects millions of women and men. In the United States, 1 in 3 women and 1 in 6 men have experienced sexual violence involving physical contact at some point in their lives.

ABSTRACT. Recently, there has been increasing concern regarding the problem of sexual violence in the military.

The serious problem of sexual assault and sexual harassment in the united states

Because sexual harassment and assault are more closely intertwined in the military than in most civilian contexts, the military context affords a unique opportunity to study the interrelationships between these two types of sexual violence.

To better understand sexual harassment and the laws around it, it’s important to take a step back and look at the timeline of sexual harassment laws in the United States. • In , the Civil Rights Act of was passed. In the aftermath of a sexual assault allegation, though, women are not so sure, a new poll finds.

It found 78 percent of women think sexual harassment is a serious or somewhat serious problem. 7 days ago · Republicans and Democrats can agree on at least this much regarding the confirmation process of Brett Kavanaugh to the United States Supreme Court: It’s a mess.

of sexual assault or. Suddenly the world became aware that sexual harassment was a serious problem.

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For too long, when a woman speaks out against a man, the suspicion was turned back on her.

Kavanaugh hearings: Does panel need 'protocol' for sexual assault allegations? - nationwidesecretarial.com