COLUMBUS, Miss. (WCBI)-In a recent report from the Pentagon, there are an estimated 26-thousand military sexual assaults a year…half of those reports are against men. Many in the military community agree it’s a growing problem that can no longer be ignored. According to the Los Angeles Times, Todays Military women are more likely to be raped by a fellow soldier than killed from enemy fire during combat. A recent documentary “The Invisible War” brought light to a different type of war military men and women are facing. After serving 14 years as an Aviator Officer in the United States Air Force, Jessica Rainey believes many sexual assault cases are not being reported.
“It’s not being taken out of house as much as it could be and that’s where people are uncomfortable because their chain of command is going to have a say and a lot of times it might depend on whose rank is what and if it’s a lower ranking person then they’re going to have to deal with well this one might out rank me and this is going to affect my promotion,” says Jessica Rainey.
When a sexual assault is reported, both parties receive a no contact order; which is similar to a restraining order. Jessica says that makes both individuals appear equal on paper.
“It’s just basically his word against her word and we’re going to stop it at that. So that’s where a number of those cases go and they get halted right there and so it’s just down by the waste-side and did he really get punished him or her whoever the individual was get punished, really? No, not really because it’s on her record just as it is on her,” says Rainey.
“When you go up for a promotion it’s on your record of evaluation and it’s not suppose to affect it, but it’s politics,” says Rainey.
Only eight percent of sexual assault cases are prosecuted in the military. And Only two percent result in conviction. Jessica says the outcomes of these cases can be more damaging then the military realizes.
“Trying to keep it in house, trying to keep it quiet and not turning it into an incident. Well you know it was an incident and that individual is damaged, it’s not just their career it’s their life and their well being. Ultimately they’re not going to be able to serve like they need to be or do their job if their well-being is not in a good state,” says Rainey.
Seeing first hand the process one goes through after reporting an incident, Jessica hopes laws are passed to better protect the victims. I know actually quite a few who have been through it and have reported it and have experienced the process of it being kept in house. And yes, it did affect their career, I mean they may have continued eventually, but they weren’t at the top where they could have been. It shouldn’t affect them like that. That’s unfair and I know it’s not going to be fair, but to take away their fighting chance is not right,” says Rainey. And now, some people believe the military is not practicing what it preaches.
“I think that the values of the military being based on integrity and further on; in an article I read as well it’s basically saying that they are not sticking to the values of the military and not just whose in at the time, but who they’re receiving . It’s a great opportunity for people to recover from things…past mistakes that they’ve made, but at the same time we need to protect our force that we have in already,” says Rainey.
The U.S. Senator from Missouri recently made a statement during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on the subject that hormones may be partly responsible for sexual assaults in the military and others believe it’s alcohol abuse.