The New York Times reports that nearly all veterans and active-duty personnel the paper spoke with near Camp Pendleton, the Southern California Marine base, had a story to tell about sexual misconduct in the military. Some were harassed or assaulted themselves, while others worked among men and women who were victims of abuse. One theme was consistent: those interviewed believed commanders in charge of deciding which cases to prosecute conceal far too much out of fear that the cases will taint their careers.
A recent Pentagon survey found that an estimated 26,000 people in the armed forces were sexually assaulted last year, up from 19,000 in 2010. Dongress, led in part by women on the Senate Armed Services Committee, is trying to grapple with the issue in a series of legislative proposals that are intended to crack down on offenders and keep commanders from reversing guilty verdicts in sexual assault convictions, which happens very rarely.