In a startling new study, researchers report that the occurrence of sexual assault on male military members could be as much as 15 times higher than initially thought. The study, which provided anonymity for its subjects, also highlights a crippling stigma associated with reporting these types of offenses.
As Vocativ reports, the study was published in the journal of Psychological Services, which has reported on a series of military sexual assault studies in past. In the newest report, researchers went to a small sample set of military vets and offered them complete anonymity with each questionnaire. When the questionnaires were tallied, it was found that 17.2% of the subjects admitted to experiencing some form of sexual assault while they served. A previously presented questionnaire, which did not offer anonymity, only reported a 1.1% rate of sexual assault.
The shocking discrepancy between the two questionnaires is being attributed to the stigma associated with reporting sexual assault among male victims. A previous study published by the journal of Psychological Services surveyed myths associated with males and sexual assault (including "men don’t get raped" and "men can’t be raped by women") and ultimately concluded that these cultural misunderstandings are even further obscured by military culture.
A SILENT ISSUE
The sexual assault of women in the military has been a prominent topic in the last few years-- and many measures by military leaders and lawmakers alike has been taken to address its prevalence-- but the sexual assault of men in military remains a vastly under-reported phenomenon. According to Vocativ, recent research suggests that half of all survivors of military sexual assault survivors are men.
In a press release, the latest study's co-editor, Michi Fu, urged for a greater sensitivity to address military sexual assault, no matter what the gender of the victim might be. "We know that there is under reporting among men and women and hope that this special issue will help to bring awareness and treatment for those that serve and protect us," Michi said.
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