Report: Sexual assault "vastly under reported" in military, Fort Hood named

Posted at 4:05 PM, May 04, 2015
and last updated 2015-05-05 09:50:06-04

A scathing new report from Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) said the number of sexual assault cases in the military is vastly under reported, alleging the Department of Defense isn't doing enough to curb the problem.

Fort Hood was one of the four installations profiled in the report. Inside, Gillibrand says DOD officials dragged their feet and even refused to give her case files and data on sexual assaults. According to the report, 107 cases of rape, forcible sodomy, sexual assault, and other various sexual crimes were redacted or hidden when they were handed over.

The report said the rate of victims among civilian women is the most under reported in the military, which Gillibrand called "a part of the overall community, yet still in the shadows." According to the report, 53 percent of cases involved civilian women or spouses, a rate nearly double that of average civilian statistics. The army does not keep track of civilian data.

Gillibrand suggests a "large scale systematic failure and a culture that protects the accused and ostracizes the survivor" on military installations. The report alleges issues like a hostile climate for survivors in which some victims were possibly intimidated from pressing for court dates in cases.

Lenient punishments and inconsistent case data were also added as compound in factors.

None of the cited cases in the report were from Ft. Hood, but according to the report, Ft. Hood had many case files that were incomplete and did not provide basic data like case narratives.

Gillibrand has been a vocal supporter of transparency around cases of sexual assault in the military. A bill was written last year, but was killed in the Senate. The new report says the data shows the need for independent, trained military prosecutors to deal with felony level sexual assault cases, something the DOD has pushed back on before. 

This report comes after the DOD released the 2014 sexual assault report on May 1. That report says the number of reported sexual assaults increased from 5518 to 6131 last year. But it says the military boasted its highest numbers of formal restricted or unrestricted reports, which reached 25 percent of all sexual assaults.

Ft. Hood was the only U.S. Army base profiled. Camp Pendelton Marine Corps, CA., Naval Station Norfolk, VA. and Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH were also included in the report.