Describe the risk and protective factors for sexual violence in the military that are common with the civilian context, as well as those that are unique to the military social-ecological model, including the continuum of harm that describes the relationship between sexual harassment and sexual assault
Identify the importance of developing leaders who understand public health approaches to prevention, ensuring more robust investment in required research, and establishing a workforce dedicated to prevention
Describe the IRC’s approach to engaging with survivors, and seeking to affirm the experiences of Service members most impacted by harmful attitudes, behaviors, and beliefs through targeted recommendations to address disparities, improve research, and change culture through evidence-informed prevention practices.
- Neil Irvin, Men Can Stop Rape
- Maj Gen James Johnson (Ret.), The Flag and General Officers’ Network
- Cailin Crockett, Department of Defense
Each year, an estimated 20,000 Service members experience sexual assault. In addition to this horrendous fact, it is important to highlight sexual violence does not impact all Service members equally. For example, gay and bisexual men experience sexual assault at a rate nine times higher than heterosexual men in the military; and lesbian and bisexual Service women are sexually assaulted at double the rate of heterosexual Service women. We know Service members may be the target of sexual assault, harassment, hazing, bullying, or other abuses because of who they are—or who they are perceived to be. From March to July 2021, the 90-Day Independent Review Commission (IRC) on Sexual Assault in the Military, established by Secretary of Defense Austin at the direction of President Biden, undertook an extensive review of policies, programs, and research to develop recommendations that will improve the military’s ability to prevent and respond to sexual violence. In total, the IRC made over 80 recommendations along four lines of effort: accountability; prevention; climate and culture; and victim care and support. Guiding these recommendations is a firm commitment to centering the voices of survivors, and uplifting the experiences of Service members disproportionately impacted on the continuum of sexual harm.