Male Survivors of Military Sexual Assault
In the Pentagon’s recently released survey, it was estimated that 26,000 cases of sexual assault and rape occurred in the military in 2012. Of these, more than half were estimated to have been committed against men; 14,000 attacks on men, 12,000 on women. This means there was an estimated 38 men and 33 women assaulted in the military every day. The survey also said that male survivors report at “much lower rates” than women. On the 16th, Navy veteran and military rape survivor Brian Lewis was interviewed by NBC News. He had spoken alongside Senator Gillibrand that day as she announced her new legislation (which I’ll get more into next week). Lewis offered insight on the culture that silences male survivors even more effectively than it does female ones.
“As a culture, we’ve somewhat moved past the idea that a female wanted this trauma to occur, but we haven’t moved past that for male survivors.”
“In a lot of areas of the military, men are still viewed as having wanted it or of being homosexual. That’s not correct at all. It’s a crime of power and control.”
“…there’s the notion…that you misconstrued their horseplay.”
A spokesperson for the Pentagon announced a plan to better support male survivors, but since it’s doubtful it will go far enough and does next to nothing to solve the actual problem, it looks like little more than a PR move.
“[The Pentagon] has reached out to organizations supporting male survivors for assistance and information to help inform our way ahead.”
Brian Lewis questioned how helpful this would be.
“I applaud the stand on behalf of male survivors. However, I would be interested in hearing what organizations they are partnering with considering there are none especially geared for male survivors of military sexual trauma.”