Victims of sex assaults in military are mostly men

Women are more likely to speak up

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The annual report shows that of assaults on women, 67 percent happened on base, 19 percent in a war zone and 20 percent on a ship or a field exercise.

For male-on-male assaults, 73 percent happened on base and 26 percent in a combat zone.

The Pentagon’s definition of unwanted sexual contact ranges from rape to “abusive sexual contact” and “involves intentional sexual contact that was against a person’s will or occurred when the person did not or could not consent. The term describes completed and attempted oral, anal and vaginal penetration with any body part or object, and the unwanted touching of genitalia and other sexually related areas of the body.”

In light of the annual report that shows an increase in unwanted sexual contact, Mr. Hagel and his senior officers and enlisted personnel met with Mr. Obama last week to discuss what the defense secretary called “this huge problem.”

“The president was very constructive,” Mr. Hagel told reporters Friday. “He was very clear. There wasn’t anybody in that room who wasn’t disappointed and embarrassed and didn’t recognize that we’ve in many ways failed. But we all have committed to turn this around, and we’re going to fix the problem. As the president said in his comments after that meeting, there’s no silver bullet. This is going to take all of us.”

Aaron Belkin, who heads The Palm Center, which studies gays and lesbians in the military, said “very few” male-on-male perpetrators are gay, saying such incidents are “somewhat similar to prison rape.”

“It is important to try as hard as possible to eliminate sexual assaults from the military, but I don’t think that procedural reforms will do much to lower the incidence rate unless military culture changes dramatically,” said Mr. Belkin, whose 2012 book “Bring Me Men,” included a case study on male-on-male rape in the military.

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