View Full Version : Advocacy group reports 200 sexual-harassment incidents in Mideast

07-14-04, 10:22 AM
July 13, 2004

Advocacy group reports 200 sexual-harassment incidents in Mideast

By Jon Sarche
Associated Press

DENVER — Nearly 200 women serving in the Middle East say they have been sexually assaulted by fellow soldiers in the past 21 months, a victims’ advocacy group said Thursday as it criticized the U.S. military for falling short in addressing the problem.
From October 2002 through June, the Miles Foundation received 187 reports from the region — and fewer than half had been reported to military authorities, said Christine Hansen, executive director of the Connecticut-based group.

During the same period, the Pentagon has received 112 reports, Hansen said.

Defense officials are working with members of Congress to bring the Uniform Code of Military Justice sexual assault provisions, last updated in 1951, closer to those in the civilian justice system.

Those efforts have gained urgency with increased awareness of sexual assaults prompted by media reports of such crimes among soldiers serving in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait and Bahrain, Hansen said during the annual conference of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

Hansen said military law and policy do not provide alleged victims the privacy rights given to their civilian counterparts. And military law allows commanding officers to decide against prosecuting a case if the alleged victim chooses not to participate.

That means women who are assaulted and want a prosecution to go forward are faced with opening intimate details of their lives to their commanding officer and military lawyers.

“From the victim’s perspective, they are in the middle of crisis and trauma, and they’re being asked to make life-altering decisions,” Hansen said.

In part because of the lack of privacy, the Defense Department has received fewer reports of sexual assault among soldiers in the Middle East than has the Miles Foundation, which can provide confidential services and counseling, Hansen said.

“The (Department of Defense’s) response was to tell Congress ‘We’re going to start conducting training,”’ she said. “There will be no change in the U.S. armed forces’ responses to this unless there’s a foundation of law and policy to support it.

“Training, training, training is not the answer because you have to have that foundation so when the training doesn’t work, you can hold them accountable.”

Denise Mitchell, an Army Community Service victim advocate at Fort Wainwright, Alaska, said one of the biggest obstacles to prosecution is the military commander’s discretion in deciding whether to go forward with a court-martial.

“Their purpose in their life is their job, and I respect that. But at the same time, they have a responsibility” to victims of sexual assault and domestic violence, she said.

In February, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld ordered an investigation into the treatment of servicewomen in the Gulf war zone who report sexual assaults by their male comrades. A defense official said the memo came in response to media reports about sexual assaults in the region, including a Jan. 25 story by The Denver Post.

According to defense officials, some 60,000 military women served within the region managed by U.S. Central Command, which includes Iraq, Kuwait and Afghanistan, between October 2002 and November 2003. Most were in Iraq and Kuwait.

The Pentagon released a report in May acknowledging problems in how the military handles assault allegations. The task force said victims were treated inconsistently and too often suffered from a lack of support from commanders, criminal investigators and doctors.

The foundation, which first raised concerns in press reports about a spate of assaults on women serving in Iraq and Kuwait, has criticized the Pentagon with failing to take appropriate steps to address the problem.



07-14-04, 08:21 PM
This is just "reported" cases, and most were non combatant roles. We had a very heated dicussion here once before about women being in combat Mos's which would triple the number of women coming into contact with their male "counterparts" in even less supervised conditions. I hate to be the one to have to do it, but I TOLD YOU SO!!!

07-14-04, 09:20 PM
I'm having problems with this news article. Please do not get me wrong; I do not mean to trivialize this issue. I just primarily have a problem with the numbers she gave, among other things.

In July, 2004, while at the 11th Annual Conference of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Christine Hansen reports:

"...the Miles Foundation received 187 reports from the region -- and fewer than half had been reported to military authorities," (to me that's less than 93.5) ... yet in the next sentence she's quoted as saying,

"During the same period, the Pentagon has received 112 reports."

Does the Pentagon have reports that she doesn't have? If so, how accurate are her numbers? Is the Pentagon doing a better job than her organization? Is there an overlap?
In February, 2004, Christine Hansen reported directly to Congress the following DoD statistic: "one-sixth of one percent of deployed female servicemembers are victims of an attempted or completed rape." (That's an overall number.) She further stated that, "DoD has acknowledged 88 reported cases of sexual misconduct in the current theater of operations. The Miles Foundation has received reports of 68 cases of sexual assault, predominantly in Iraq and Kuwait." Key word to me is prodominantly.

So, the statistics she reported in July, 2004, at the civilian conference in that there were almost 200 (187 actual) means that 119+, have been reported to them from February, 2004 to June, 2004? (compared to the additional 24 reported by the Pentagon) I say 119+ because you have to take in consideration the "predominantly" factor of the original 68. So what's the real number that should be cited here??
The foundation, which first raised concerns in press reports about a spate (or a flood) of assaults on women serving in Iraq and Kuwait, has criticized the Pentagon.....

This "spate" in the press reports is based on the 68 predominantly from Iraq and Kuwait reports of sexual assault. Given that there's some 60,000 military women in the whole region managed by US Central Command which includes Iraq, Kuwait, Afghanistan, that tells me that the numbers used in the press reports (which was before the testifying to Congress) are saying that less than 1/6 of 1% have been victims for the women in the whole of the US Central Command. Hardly a "spate" and less than the overall percentage.
Granted, there is a problem here which should be addressed. But if one is going to address the problem with statistics, they should at least have their duckies in line and keep them consistent. Especially if a civilian wants to align military law to civilian law.

07-15-04, 02:43 PM
My apologies to ya'll. Pet peeve of mine when people manipulate numbers to prove their personal point.

What I wanted to say was what I remember from one of my drill instructors years ago:

If you want to be treated and respected as a lady, then you're responsible to act like one. You'll never truly be one of the boys; they are a special breed all their own, and rightly so.

07-19-04, 02:58 AM
ooooooooooooooooorahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh couldnt have said it better CMyr