According to an article in Forbes online in 2016 the pentagon released a statement that there were 20,500 instances of unwanted sexual contact last year. That represents a 38% increase on the 14,900 cases uncovered when the survey was last conducted in 2016. Incidents ranged from groping to rape and the total was made up of 13,000 women and 7,500 men.
Now just to be clear, the number of formal incidents reported is far lower than the estimated total number of incidents uncovered by the survey. The Army sharp program has been implemented, yet the number of sexual harassment complaints still continue to grow significantly.
The question is why, Why is this still happening? Why does society assume that only women are victims? What is the army doing to mitigate this horrendous issue? What can we do as service members to put a legitimate stop to sexual harassment?
Why Does Sexual Assault Occur?
According to AR 600-20, para 8-4a states: Sexual assault is a criminal offense and is defined as intentional sexual conduct, characterized by use of force, physical threat, or abuse of authority, or when the victim does not and cannot consent. Sexual assault can occur. That being said there are many factors that contribute to the occurrence of sexual violence.
It is important to understand that perpetrators, not victims are responsible for sexual violence happening. Perpetrators feel as if they have a strong sense of entitlement and use power and control to commit acts of sexual violence. Most of the perpetrators we see and hear about in society adhere to “traditional” gender roles that focus on the inequality of women. This allows them to treat women with no regard or respect. However this is not always the case, the reality is women do sexually assault men on a regular basis.
Each year, according to an estimate poll, roughly 19 to 31 percent of male college students and 15 percent of military men experience some kind of unwanted sexual contact, and researchers say the majority of that is perpetrated by women. These men’s experiences usually aren’t as horrific as those of women who are assaulted, but they represent a clear, and mostly hidden, problem. They also contradict standard assumptions and cultural stigmas about male aggression and female impassiveness.
Sexual harassment still continues to be a problem in the military for both genders, numbers are still increasing. Service members are still in fear, striving to so find a solution that will stop sexual harassment before it starts. so what is the answer?. If and only if we make a collective effort, to report any and all incidences. Only if we fight together can we win together.
- Livia Gershon. (May 03, 2017). Retrieve from
- Niall McCarthy. (May 03, 2019). Retrieve from