Refuse to tolerate atmosphere and actions that facilitate rape

  • Published
  • By 1st Lt. Kandis Lutz
  • Deputy Sexual Assault Response Coordinator
Sexual assault in the military is increasingly coming under the spotlight, and rightfully so.
It is an emotionally and physically destructive event in a person's life which can cause posttraumatic stress disorder, depression, sleep disorders and eating disorders.

Victims of rape also experience higher rates of drug abuse (self-medication), self-harm and even suicide. Add in the potential career repercussions to reporting rape and the situation can become terrifying very quickly.

However, compare the statistics between military sexual assault and sexual assault on college campuses and it becomes clear that the issue of sexual assault has a much wider scope than often discussed.

National statistics about sexual violence on college campuses show that one in four college-aged women report experiences that meet the legal definitions of rape or attempted rape.

Similarly, one in five women seen in the Veterans Health Administration responded "yes" when screened for Military Sexual Trauma (MST).

Notably, 1 in 100 men are identified as having MST, but the numbers of men victimized are almost equal to the number of women due to the higher numbers of men in the military.

In both populations, over 85 percent of the rapes are committed by a person the victim knows. These sobering statistics are a call for action.

So what can we do about this? The most important way is to get involved: Intervene if you see a potential for sexual assault, whether the potential victim is your friend or a stranger.

By refusing to tolerate an atmosphere and actions which facilitate rape, you are increasing the safety of everyone. There are also many resources available, both on and off base.