We have reported in the past about the festering sore of sexual harassment in the military and in military academies, and the government’s as-yet unsuccessful attempts to stop it. See, for example, a few of our posts: July 14, 2013; June 16, 2013; and May 16, 2013.
Now comes a new report by Germany’s Bundeswehr’s Centre of Military History and Social Studies from Agence France-Press that 55% of women in the German armed forces have been sexually harassed. Of these female soldiers, a full 27% were victims of sexual assault or “unwanted sexually motivated physical contact.”
Significantly, another survey of male soldiers showed a “growing resentment of gender diversity” – more than half of the soldiers said that “women made the military worse.”
Since sexual harassment/assault is basically about dominance/control, are these two surveys/polls a source of surprise?
Germany’s new Defence Minister, Ursula von der Leyen, has called for new measures to address problems faced by women in uniform. Sound familiar?
Agence France-Press notes that President Obama recently directed that the Defense Department “confront a scourge of sexual assaults that have sparked calls for commanders to lose the power to adjudicate such crimes.”
In the next few days, we will devote further posts to that significant legislative proposal sponsored by Senator Gillibrand. In the meantime, the basis of the bill in the Senate was nicely framed by army veteran Donna McAleer writing in the Huffington Post:
“Unlike the militaries in Australia, Canada, Israel, Germany, the United Kingdom, and most of our NATO allies, who no longer allow unit commanders to determine the prosecution of sexual assault cases, American military law requires that the officers directly in command of individuals charged with sexual assault offenses decide how the cases are handled. The result is that only 8 percent of military sexual assault cases are prosecuted and only two percent are convicted. … the Joint Chiefs [have] unanimously supported to keep that present system in place (emphasis added).”