Sexual assault in the military is officially known as military sexual trauma, which is defined by VA as "psychological trauma, which in the judgment of a VA mental health professional, 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."
According to VA, military sexual trauma includes "any sexual activity where you are involved against your will." This includes, but is not limited to, being threatened, being incapable of making lucid choices such as when drunk, being promised promotions or special treatment, and direct physical coercion. Military sexual trauma is not limited by sexuality and affects both men and women.
The prominence of military sexual trauma has usually been brought to light through high-profile incidents such as the Tailhook scandal of 1991, the Aberdeen scandal in 1996, and the U.S. Air Force Academy sexual assault scandal of 2003. In each of those incidents, sexual assaults were reported in large numbers and were coupled with allegations of cover-ups within the military.
In 2012, a documentary film titled "The Invisible War" investigated the prevalence and nature of sexual assault within the military. The documentary follows multiple veterans as they relate their personal experience with sexual assault as well as their struggle to take legal action. On April 14, 2012 then-Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta watched the film, and two days later, he codified a directive which ordered all sexual assault cases to be handled by officers at the rank of colonel or higher, which ended the ability of unit commanders to handle cases themselves.
As of 2014, there is a law being considered that will strip Military officers of any power to review, consider, or prosecute cases regarding sexual assault and rape.
How drunk is too drunk to consent to sex? According to military training aimed at preventing sexual harassment and assault, the answer has been: barely tipsy. For years, Sexual Harassment and Assault Response and Prevention training informed troops that even one drink made a person incapable of giving consent. In legal terms, that wasn't true... more
Military installations are primarily about the business of national defense. However, they are also about the families that support the servicemen and servicewomen engaged in that endeavor. Unfortunately, there are times where the family and the mission at hand do not fit neatly in an Army post's organizational structure. Such is the case with ... more
Can good soldiers do bad things? It stands to reason that they can, just as good dentists, police officers, politicians, priests, astronauts and football players can. But unlike their civilian counterparts, military criminal defendants had recourse to “the good soldier defense”: to try to persuade courts-martial judges and juries -- through se... more
RALEIGH, N.C. -- Defense attorneys said Sunday that the Army will drop sexual assault charges against a general under a plea deal that marks the end of a closely watched case that unfolded as the military grapples with sex crimes within the ranks. Lawyers representing Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Sinclair said he will plead to lesser charges in exchange... more
FORT BRAGG, N.C. -- The Army captain who has accused Brig. Gen. Jeffrey A. Sinclair of sexually assaulting her during their three-year relationship was an ambitious soldier with plans to make the military her career, much like the boss she loved and admired. Stirred by the 9/11 attacks to leave college and join the military, she signed up with ... more