The issue of sexual assault is of course top of mind in discussions of military justice reform. Many know that a "90-day Commission" to study the issue was formed, and that its leader was just recently announced: Lynn Rosenthal, "formerly the first-ever White House advisor on violence against women."
Is the singular focus on female victims in the reform conversation producing a blind spot? Consider the following passage from Military Times last year:
"While the vast majority of sexual assault reports filed each year involve a male perpetrator and a female victim, Pentagon research has estimated that while 43 percent of women report their assaults, only 17 percent of men do.
Some estimates have placed the number of male survivors of military sexual assault are higher than that among women, partly a reflection of the fact there are simply more men in the military.
“A lot of people talk about how many female [service members] get assaulted, but more male [service members] on this base get assaulted on a daily basis than female [service members] do. It’s one-a-day for male [service members] because of the grunt barracks," a female junior enlisted Marine said. "Men are [explicit] each other and they’re raping each other and that’s so [explicit] up and nobody wants to talk about that. And they feel underrepresented because in the Step Up training, all there is is this female [service member’s] getting assaulted at a party and no male [Service members] are being talked about at all.”"
Recommended reading: Bennett Capers, Real Rape Too:
"As a society, we have been largely indifferent to the prevalence of male rape victimization. In the prison context, we dismiss it as par for the course, as "just deserts," or worse yet, as a rarely stated but widely known component of deterrence. We treat prisons as invisible zones, as zones without law, as zones that need not concern us. Outside the prison context, our response is no better. We tell ourselves male rape victimization is a rarity, or perhaps something that only happens to gay men. In short, we render male victim rape invisible, or at least un-articulable. This Article renders male victim rape visible..."
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