Our Opinion: Unacceptable
Many victims of sexual assault or harassment do not come forward because they are afraid of retaliation. One might suppose that if any employer could protect them, it would be the U.S. military.
But the number of armed service members reporting they were retaliated against for filing sexual abuse or harassment complaints may be growing. In 2016, 84 victims said they faced retaliation.
By last year, the number was up to 146, according to the Pentagon.
And, the number of sexual assaults in the military may be on the upswing. The same Pentagon report noted that during the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, 2015, 6,172 sexual assaults were reported in the military.
During the ensuing fiscal year, there were 6,769 assaults reported.
This is unacceptable. Period. Men and women serving our country in uniform make many sacrifices and often take many risks. Being sexually assaulted, then retaliated against for daring to report the crime, should not be something about which they need to worry. Defense Department officials need to crack down on this — now.