Sexual assault in the military is a deeply troubling issue that has garnered lots of attention over the past 15 years or so, with a focus on prevention. Specific programs like SHARP (Sexual Harassment/ Assault Response and Prevention) were developed to address rising numbers of Military Sexual Trauma. While all Army Members must attend annual SHARP training, numbers are still alarmingly high.
The US military saw a 1% increase in sexual assaults last year, according to the Pentagon’s latest annual report. There were 7,378 reports of sexual assault against service members in 2022, according to the Fiscal Year 2022 Annual Report on Sexual Assault in the Military, released on September 14. That is up from 7,260 reports of assault in 2021. To address these REPORTED assaults, there is one full time SARC (Sexual Assault Response Coordinator) and Victims’ Advocate available for each brigade.
There has been a disturbing sexual assault trend that isn’t even captured in the above numbers, and we aren’t sure the military is tracking the sexual assault of civilians by service members. We have recently had several civilian females referred for counseling services that were sexually assaulted by Army members at Fort Liberty. A Victims’ Advocate at Fort Liberty stated they have been getting an influx of reports from civilians that meet soldiers through online dating apps (Tinder, Hinge, etc.), meet up for a date, and are assaulted. The Victims’ Advocate said that another disturbing trend is soldiers using fake names, creating more obstacles when victims choose to press charges.
Quaker House has been able to provide trauma counseling services to civilian victims of Soldier sexual assault, thanks to generous donations. In December, Quaker House will be participating in a community organization event on Fort Liberty which will connect military leadership, Victims’ Advocates, and SARCs with community organizations and agencies that can assist with resources for victims.