By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
5/17/2013 (2 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
Rape in the military may be happening more frequently to men than women. According to Pentagon estimates, 13,900 of the 1.2 million men on active duty endured sexual assaults versus 12,100 of the 203,000 women on duty.
Brian Lewis explained than men more frequently remain quiet.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - While women suffer far more proportionally than men do, in numerical terms the majority of sexual assaults in the military involve male victims. This may surprise some given all the attention that is being given to the issue of women assaulted in the military.
To be clear, the assault of women in uniform is a serious and significant issue. It would be a major issue if even one single woman were victimized. However, it is worth nothing that men also suffer sexual assault while serving in uniform.
While women are now viewed as victims and survivors, men remain closeted about their assaults. Women have been encouraged to come forward, but the same culture that discourages women from reporting also works ever more powerfully against men.
Brian Lewis is a rape survivor who was assaulted on a Navy ship in 2000 had this to say to NBC news:
"As a culture, we've somewhat moved past the idea that a female wanted this trauma to occur, but we haven't moved past that for male survivors. In a lot of areas of the military, men are still viewed as having wanted it or of being homosexual. That's not correct at all. It's a crime of power and control.
"But also, you're instantly viewed as a liar and a troublemaker (when a man reports a sex crime), and there's the notion that you have abandoned your shipmates, that you took a crap all over your shipmates, that you misconstrued their horseplay," he added.
As legislators consider tougher policies to protect women serving in the military, male rape survivors are coming forward to ask for additional protections too. They want to remind legislators that men are often victims too.
Of all the rapes reported in the military, 38 per day are men and 33 are women. Both numbers are shocking. Unfortunately, there's no real understanding of the epidemic of rape in the military because the crime so often goes unreported. The actual prevalence of sexual assault in the military is probably much higher.
No victim should fear retaliation from fellow compatriots and superiors, however, this is the dominant culture in the military.
It is a powerful disincentive for both men and women who might otherwise wish to serve in the military.
So far, the Department of Defense has established a 24/7 "safe helpline" to provide support for anonymous victims. The DoD says the staff has also been trained to assist male victims.
It's not enough. Male victims, according to the Pentagon report, are even more likely to keep silent about assaults than women.
Military service is inherently hazardous. United States service personnel have enough enemies that they should not have to fear enemies within their own ranks. We owe them much better protection, both women and men.
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