Pentagon sued over army rape records
The plaintiffs, including the American Civil Liberties Union, the Service Women’s Action Network, and Yale Law School students, are seeking access to the records through a district court in New Haven, Connecticut.
The groups say official records of rape, sexual assault and sexual harassment in the military are needed to determine the extent of the problem and what has been done to address it.
They have also underlined the fact that withholding the documents is against the Freedom of Information Act but the Department of Veterans and Affairs are yet to comment on the lawsuit which was filed on Monday.
According to the case, tens of thousands of service members have reported some sort of sexual assault or trauma in the past decade whilst it is estimated that 80% of unwanted or threatening sexual acts have remained unreported.
The lawsuit also says the government only prosecute 8% of sex offenders in the military. In the 2009 fiscal year, a Pentagon report showed an 11 percent increase in sexual assaults in the military over the previous year.
The shocking survey also said that one in every three women report being sexually assaulted during their service in the US military.
Put another way, women who join the military to help fight in Iraq and Afghanistan, are more likely to be raped by a fellow American soldier than they are of getting killed by enemy fire.
Sexual abuse is believed to be the primary cause of post traumatic stress disorder among female service members.
Many say the US-led wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have raised the demand for additional military personnel, and that is why people with criminal backgrounds, who were turned away ten years ago, are now among the ranks of the US military.
However, even though President Barack Obama’s administration is aware of the problem of sexual assault in the US military, it has been very slow in addressing the issue, and has only asked US Congress to advance additional funds for more prevention programmes.
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