SEXUAL ASSAULT IN THE MILITARY
There are very few things that I am in agreement with our new Secretary of Defense Austin but this is one. The article is long so I only presented the Forward. The total article can be found at media Defense.gov and is worth reading in its entirety. I only hope that this does not get sidetracked as other studies have.
A Letter to Service Members of the U.S. Military We heard you. This report is a reflection of your voice - your struggles and your challenges. To the junior enlisted: We talked with you on ships, on bases and installations; we talked with you from places within the U.S. and abroad; you reached out to us on our website, and through veterans and military service organizations. Your voices never stopped ringing in our ears as we worked through our recommendations. After all, you make up nearly half the entire force. You deserve to have your voices heard when policies, regulations, and laws are being considered that directly affect you. So, we reached out to you, and you reached out to us. We listened when you told us that the climate of your unit was highly dependent on the quality of your leadership. We heard you when you said there were commanders who supported and mentored you but there were also those who turned away from harassment and abuse, eroding your trust. You told us about “toxic accountability” but you also told us about leaders who went above and beyond to protect and defend you. You begged us to replace boring PowerPoint trainings and engage you in meaningful dialogue instead. You admitted that sometimes you were confused about what behavior was acceptable and what crossed the line. We heard about the times when you stepped in to stop inappropriate or predatory behavior. You explained to us how you watched certain teammates go from being energetic and enthusiastic to depressed and withdrawn after a sexual assault. You told us you wanted change. To everyone, we recognize that you came into the military for different reasons, from different backgrounds, with different goals. You wear different uniforms, have different jobs, and different career paths. But you swear the same oath and would lay down your lives for each other. You are the promise of continued freedom, and you deserve excellence. You deserve excellence in training, in leadership, mentorship, and resiliency. You also deserve dignity and respect, and the opportunity for advancement based solely on your grit, skill, and merit. We thank you for your valued contributions to this report and for standing in the breach. The future is in your hands. We are counting on you. Sincerely, The Independent Review Commission (IRC) on Sexual Assault in the Military.