The Department of Defense today released the results of two reports on sexual harassment and sexual assault in the military: the 2004 survey of the reserve components; and the Academic Program Year (APY) 2005 assessment at the three military service academies.
The survey of about 76,000 members of the Selected Reserve found that sexual assault rates are lower than in previous studies of reserve component veterans, and they parallel the sexual assault rates from the 2002 DoD survey of active-duty women (three percent) and men (one percent). Survey results indicated that 19 percent of reserve women reported experiencing sexual harassment, about 10 percent of women reported experiencing sex discrimination and two percent reported that they had been sexually assaulted. Men reported experiencing comparable behaviors at far lower rates than women: three percent reported experiencing sexual harassment, two percent reported experiencing sex discrimination and one percent reported that they had been sexually assaulted.
Reserve members gave good marks to DoD on the training and leadership provided on sexual misconduct issues. Nearly three-fourths of reserve component members indicated they received training in the previous year on how to prevent and respond to sexual harassment. More than 90 percent thought the training was effective. More than 85 percent reported that DoD's sexual harassment policies and complaint procedures were well publicized at their installations and aboard ships. A majority of reserve members said their leaders were making honest and reasonable efforts to stop sexual harassment.
Sixty percent of men and 46 percent of women said sexual harassment had become less frequent and less of a problem in the past few years. 53 percent of men and 33 percent of women said sexual harassment was less frequent in military workplaces than at civilian jobs. Many women (44 percent) also saw no difference in the rates of sexual harassment at military and civilian workplaces.
Military Service Academies
TheMilitary Academy, the Naval Academy and the Air Force Academy Academic Program Year 2005 assessments provide Congress an annual overview of sexual harassment and assault incidence at the three academies. In addition, the assessments highlight policies, procedures and processes implemented during the (APY), which is June 2004 through May 2005, as well as program changes planned for the following years.
Throughout APY 2005, the three military service academies expanded and enhanced programs to prevent sexual harassment and assault and improve care for victims and increase system accountability. They also began implementation of DoD's new comprehensive sexual assault policy, expanded training to include staff and faculty and integrated the preparatory schools into their sexual harassment and sexual assault programs.
As part of the assessment, the department surveyed cadets and midshipmen at the military service academies. The survey showed that most cadets and midshipmen believe that sexual assault and sexual harassment training has contributed to the reduction of sexual misconduct at the military service academies.
Moreover, a majority of cadets and midshipmen feel that sexual assault and sexual harassment are becoming less of a problem. However, the confidential responses show that cadets and midshipmen still encounter or commit sexual misconduct and sexist behavior such as insulting or offensive behavior and actions that do not constitute harassment.
In posting the results of the surveys, David S. C. Chu, Under Secretary of Defense for Personnel and Readiness said, "This is the Department's first survey of reservists that focuses on sexual harassment and assault and provides a baseline against which we can measure future progress. The survey of cadets and midshipmen builds on the earlier work of the Inspector General, but gives us estimates that are formed in the same way as those for the force as a whole. Chu added that, "we are reviewing the findings carefully and examining our policies, programs and leadership efforts to determine how such incidents can be prevented and to ensure we respond effectively if they do occur."