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DoD Releases 2002 Sexual Harassment Survey Results

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 26, 2004 – Incidences of sexual assault within the active duty military dropped by half between 1995 and 2002, according to a DoD sexual harassment survey released Feb. 25.

The congressionally mandated survey was taken in 2002 and polled 60,000 service members -- from private to colonel, Dr. David S.C. Chu, the undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, told reporters at a Pentagon press briefing. About 20,000 service members, he said, responded to the survey.

Chu said the sexual harassment survey is an important instrument that helps DoD "to root out" prohibited behavior, to change attitudes and "to change how people treat each other and to ensure that everyone is treated with the respect that he or she deserves." The next sexual harassment survey, he said, is slated for 2006.

Rachel Lipari from the Defense Manpower Data Center, who accompanied Chu to the briefing, noted the survey shows a decline from 6 percent to 3 percent since 1995 in the incidence of sexual assault in the armed services.

Also, she said, the survey demonstrates a 22 percent decline in sexual harassment incident rates across the services between 1995 and 2002.

The majority of survey respondents 79 percent of men and 77 percent of women -- noted they'd received anti-sexual harassment training in the past year, remarked Timothy Elig, Lipari's co-worker, also at the briefing.

And at least 75 percent of both men and women respondents reported that their service's training conveyed "a good understanding of what sexual harassment was, an understanding of what behaviors were offensive and could not be tolerated, that sexual harassment makes it difficult for service members to perform their duties," Elig said.

Chu maintained that the 2002 survey demonstrates that the majority of service members polled see their anti-sexual harassment training as being effective.

"And that's a good news story, because we've been investing heavily for some years now in training as one of the ways to change behaviors," Chu said.

During Senate testimony earlier that day, Chu also said the survey shows that most service members have faith that commanders are willing to take appropriate action on issues of sexual harassment and more serious forms of sexual misconduct.

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