Most Victims of Military Sex Assault: Men

Key fact is still overlooked by many

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Jun 24, 2013 1:08 PM CDT

(Newser) – The sexual assault epidemic plaguing the military is getting quite a bit of attention—but what's not getting much attention is the fact that 53% of all sexual assault cases last year involved male victims, the New York Times reports. "It’s easy for some people to single out women and say: 'There’s a small percentage of the force having this problem,'" says one soldier who was raped by a superior. "No one wants to admit this problem affects everyone." Most attacks involve hazing or bullying, and have more to do with "humiliation or torture," a prosecutor explains.

Of course, since women represent just 15% of the armed forces, they are much more likely to be sexually assaulted than men are. Women also file the majority of formal complaints—because, says one expert, "Men tend to feel a great deal of shame, embarrassment, and fear that others will respond negatively." Prior to the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, some male victims tell the Times, they were also concerned they might be discharged even for non-consensual sexual contact with another man. The Defense Department is aiming to change things, planning ways to encourage men to report sexual assault. “I think the attention to this issue is absolutely needed,” says one victim. “But it’s a little bit late."

An Army soldier stands at attention during a deployment and flag casing ceremony, Friday, March 30, 2012 at Joint Base Lewis McChord in Washington state.   (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
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