A long-awaited report on sexual assaults in the military was finally been released on September 21, and its biggest takeaway is that women and men are more likely to be assaulted on a United States Navy ship than any other type of military installation. Further, the ship most likely to be involved is an aircraft carrier.
This report is based on data collected from 170,000 surveys of active-duty military personnel taken in 2014 as well as sifting through assault data from the same year. The report was commissioned by the Department of Defense (DoD) and performed by the RAND Corporation.
“While there are no ships among the lowest-risk installations for women in the Navy, ships dominate the highest-risk installations. Of the 15 highest-risk installations for Navy women, 13 are ships or clusters of ships, including eight of the ten aircraft carriers,” the report said. “All but one of Navy men’s highest-risk installations are ships or clusters of ships, including five aircraft carriers.”
USA Today said in July that the report had been delayed so long due to a dispute between the Pentagon and RAND over the methodology of the data reporting. Advocates for victims say the report was being delayed because officials didn’t like the results.
When the report was finally released in late September, it contained two pages of “caveats and limitations,” including that because the data is from 2014, it may not reflect current risks and practices. It also noted that sexual assaults were linked to bases because that is where the service member was assigned at the time, and not necessarily because the assault happened there.
RAND estimated that 10 percent of all Navy women experienced a sexual assault at each of the Navy’s highest-ranking installations over a one-year period. And more than 15 percent of all women were assaulted at two of them. For Navy men, on one ship alone, the report estimated that almost one in every 25 men were sexually assaulted in 2014.
The U.S. Navy released an official statement reading, “We are aware of the 2016 RAND Military Workplace Study Survey and we value the approaches that RAND takes to cutting-edge research. The Navy has further engaged with RAND to help us take a closer look at the conclusions of this report by conducting follow-on projects to provide more actionable information about where sexual assault risk is highest and lowest in the Navy.
“This information will be vital to us in determining where and how to target training, prevention and response resources. We take sexual assault seriously and specifically want to understand the “why” presented by the data. Identifying protective and risk factors is essential to mitigating the risk of sexual assault for our Sailors.”
The DoD SAFE Help Line is 1-877-995-5247. We have collected other sexual assault resources for your convenience.
The Los Angeles attorneys at Taylor Ring have years of experience working with victims and survivors of sexual assault. We represent our clients with compassion and respect, and work tirelessly to uphold your rights. When you’re ready to talk, call us today at 310.776.6390 or complete our contact form to schedule a consultation.