US military personnel who are sexually assaulted and report the crime often encounter retaliation, while soldiers who sexually abuse and retaliate rarely face punishment, an international human rights organization says.
US troops who have reported sexual assaults are 12 times more likely to be retaliated against than to see their attacker convicted of sex crimes, according to a report released Monday by Human Rights Watch.
The 18-month investigation by Human Rights Watch found that troops reporting sexual assaults have faced retaliation ranging from degrading insults to social isolation and even death threats, which they say was actually worse than the assault itself.
Other forms of retaliation range from vandalism and harassment to poor work assignments, loss of promotion opportunities, disciplinary action including discharge, and even criminal charges.
The report was based on a review of military documents and interviews with more than 150 victims of sexual assaults since October 2013.
“The US military’s progress in getting people to report sexual assaults isn’t going to continue as long as retaliation for making a report goes unpunished,” said Sara Darehshori, a counsel at Human Rights Watch, who helped write the report.