Sexual Harassment Prevalent in National Guard and Reserves

Almost two-thirds of women, and over one-quarter of men, in the National Guard and Reserves report experiencing some kind of sexual harassment or assault. Nearly half of all incidents occurred while on-duty. These numbers come from a Veteran Affairs Department (VA) survey, conducted in 2002-2003, and released last week by Representative Lane Evans (D-IL). The VA has not released the study, and spokesman Scott Hogenson told the Associated Press that the 2-year delay was a result of the department fact-checking the report.

Rep. Evans stated that he was releasing the report in order “to shine a light on a serious problem that the White House wants to hide in the shadows,” reports the Associated Press. Jane Stafford, who coordinated the project but has since left the VA, told the Washington Post that the rates among reserve populations “are consistent with active-duty populations, they are very similar, but they are higher than civilian prevalence rates.”

The report also showed that very few reservists sought help after an incident, and fewer than two percent sought help from the VA. A year ago, the department extended its availability for sexual trauma victims to two years after leaving the service, and it has $13 million in the current budget for counseling victims of sexual assault.

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Associated Press 9/29/05; Washington Post 9/29/05

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