Military Sexual Assaults Often Not Reported

Kaye Whitley, director of the Defense Department’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office, believes far more rape and sexual assaults occur than are actually reported. She acknowledges this problem is not merely peculiar to the military since “our civilian counterparts struggle with this as well.” A recent study by the Government Accountability Office stated bluntly the military sexual assault prevention program lacked consistent effectiveness, many local coordinators were part timers, and some commanders are not that enthusiastic about the program. Whitley’s commander refused to allow her appearance before a congressional committee investigating the problem.

Whitley challenges some aspects of the GAO report arguing it is difficult measuring the effectiveness of sexual assault programs. However, she admits some commanders are not aggressive such as posting information concerning the program in barracks. She also expressed concern how local Sexual Assault Response Coordinators(SARC) are selected or supported. Funding comes from the base rather than from a central office in Washington.

“We’re talking about changing a climate” she argues and that will take time and effort and support.