The number of reported cases of sexual assault in the military in 2013 went up by 50 percent from the year before. The Department of Defense says it’s because more people are comfortable coming forward, but many say the problem is only escalating.
For 2012, the Pentagon estimated that 26,000 sexual assaults took place but that only 3,300 of them were reported to authorities.
An independent panel is due to give recommendations to Congress this week on how to deal with the growing number of incidents. Among dozens of suggestions, it says there should be no more limitations on the authority of commanders to refer charges to military courts, that commanding officers should have clemency authority and that Congress should improve and enhance the response to male-on-male sexual assault.
During Al Jazeera America’s regular Sunday evening segment “The Week Ahead,” Thomas Drayton discussed the subject with Brian Lewis, a policy adviser at Protect Our Defenders, and Brigette McCoy, founder of Women’s Veterans for Social Justice, both survivors of sexual assault during their time in the service.