23% of Female Troops Suffer Sex Assaults in War Zones
And about half report sex harassment, survey finds
By Matt Cantor, Newser User
Posted Dec 27, 2012 6:09 AM CST
Updated Dec 27, 2012 7:46 AM CST
In this Sunday, Aug. 9, 2009 file photo, US soldiers patrol the outskirts of Spin Boldak, Afghanistan.   (AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

(Newser) – Nearly half of US women deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan say they've suffered sexual harassment, and almost a quarter say they've been sexually assaulted, a Department of Veterans Affairs study finds. But far less than that gets reported: Just 115 assaults were reported last year, though as of February, there were 20,000 women serving in Afghanistan, the Pentagon says. The study highlights the fact that combat isn't the only danger in a war zone, says a lead author.

Researchers in the anonymous study sent surveys to some 1,100 women who have been deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan. About 48.6% reported sexual harassment, while 22.8% reported assaults; almost all the offenders were fellow servicemembers, and 47% reported that the offender held a higher rank. In the military as a whole, only 4.4% of women reported "unwanted sexual contact." In war zones, women lack a "safe haven," and "it comes down to the culture," a California congresswoman tells USA Today. "(It) hasn't changed, no matter what the generals or the secretaries of Defense say about zero tolerance. They have not scrubbed the sexism out of the military."

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Showing 3 of 40 comments
Dec 27, 2012 1:46 PM CST
Big surprise. The Grunts that join the military are low class to begin with. Forcing themselves on the nearest available American pussy is nothing new. It is habit. Another honor to bestow on our "heroes". Rapist first class.
Dec 27, 2012 11:37 AM CST
almost all the offenders were fellow servicemembers Oh so they are being assaulted by other women, ok. In war zones, women lack a "safe haven," and "it comes down to the culture," a California congresswoman tells USA Today. That's why it's called a WAR ZONE my dear California congressperson
Dec 27, 2012 10:32 AM CST
Leadership starts at the top... officers and higher ranking enlisted men are not setting the right examples and not making it perfectly clear that unwanted sexual contact of any kind against their own "fellow" soldiers is unacceptible. I come from a military family... my father was a high ranking officer. I know the culture. I know that if the top brass make a no tolerance policy perfectly clear to their subordinates, it will follow right on down the line. If any transgressions are discovered and punished immediately, everyone will know how serious the policy is. This is not happening in today's military environment. Generals, Admirals, Captains and Colonels are not enforcing and not being serious. They are also out of touch with their subordinates. Female soldiers and sailors often do not feel there's anyone sympathetic to their plight when they are subject to unwanted sexual attentions. My apologies to those ranking officers who do take these sexual offenses seriously, but there are not enough of you, and you need to speak out. The culture must change.