Feminist Daily News Wire
June 4, 2004
An internal Army report released
yesterday (June 3, 2004) acknowledged the alarming increase in
numbers of rapes and sexual assaults within its ranks and
indicated that these crimes may have been facilitated by faults
and oversights within the system. According to The New York
Times, the Army found that reported cases of sexual assault
within the Army rose from 658 to 822 between 1999 and 2003.
During the same period, the number of reported rapes increased
from 356 to 469 cases.
The Army’s internal study follows the release of a Department of
Defense (DoD) report, commissioned in response to feminist
groups and lawmakers who have expressed concerns about the hike
in numbers of reported assaults against servicewomen abroad in
Iraq and Afghanistan, according to The Washington Post. The DoD
report as well as the Army internal investigation found that the
military's existing policies lacked basic medical care
procedures for rape and assault victims. The Army’s internal
report also acknowledged the often-stigmatizing environment
victims experience when reporting a peer or even a superior.
Former Army Captain Jennifer Machmer, a three-time assault and
rape victim, told Salon, “The aftermath of reporting has been
In response to these findings, the Army plans to assign a “unit
victim advocate” to help victims through the reporting process
and to provide counseling and support, said the Army News
Service. The Army also anticipates incorporating a more
explicitly outlined sexual assault policy in their handbook,
developing training programs for the prevention of sexual
assault and installing a standardized system of reporting crimes
and tracking punishments, according to the Army News Service.
Currently, about 20 percent of offenders do not even have their
crimes on permanent record. There is also no systematic way of
tracking what aid victims received, if any at all.