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Sexual assault in the military: No justice for the victims

Members of the U.S. military are often highly respected, honored and admired by civilians. The nature of their jobs is to protect people who cannot protect themselves, and in general they work tirelessly to succeed in this goal. However, there are issues that members of the military face that are not very honorable. One such issue is the military justice system and how cases of sexual assault in the military are handled.

Victims of sexual assault or abuse often have feelings of humiliation, embarrassment, powerlessness and isolation. These types of emotions do not necessarily fit in with military lifestyle which centers on pride, discipline, integrity and ranking. The unfortunate result of this clash is that claims of sexual abuse either go unreported or unpunished because of how the military justice system works.

One report indicates that of the 2,500 sexual assault reports that were made in 2011, only 240 of them made it as far as a trial. Often times, it can feel nearly impossible for the victim of a sexual assault to get a fair and impartial chance to hold their attacker accountable so they drop the case before it can go to trial. The fact that there are military laws that allow commanders to set aside or reverse the verdict of a jury has made makes the situation even murkier.

However, there are many groups focused on addressing and fixing this so-called broken justice system. Not only are there movements to stop sexual assault from ever happening in the military, but officials are also looking for ways to make sure cases of this nature are heard and punished fairly by an impartial party. This is why many people believe that these types of cases should be put into the hands of legal professionals rather than other members of the military.

Any victim of sexual assault, whether they are an adult in the military or a child in a school, suffers severe and long-lasting effects of being abused. Depression, post-traumatic stress, hopelessness, fear and other emotional consequences of a sexual assault can linger on long after abuse ends. Victims of sexual assault or abuse have the right to hold attackers responsible for any emotional or physical injuries they suffer.

Source: pjstar.com, "Military sexual assault victims detail humiliation," Donna Cassata and Richard Lardner, March 13, 2013

  • Our Illinois law firm represents victims of sexual abuse to recover compensation for the physical and damage that is suffered. For more information, please visit our page on sexual assault.

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