Serving in the U.S. military should not come with sexual abuse

As a member of the U.S. Armed Forces, residents of New Mexico and other states agree to put their lives on the line to protect the nation and the freedoms those living here enjoy. It should not mean being in danger of becoming the victim of sexual abuse, and then a victim of the system. Some women who serve their country have come forward to say that the current state of the system is broken and does not function properly.

In 2019, a total of 7,825 instances of sexual assault were reported across all branches of the U.S. Armed Forces. The Army received 2,684 reports of sexual assault, and the Navy received 1,676, which makes those two branches the ones with the most instances. According to the Army, the increase resulted from greater awareness regarding how important it is to report these assaults, but not everyone agrees with that assessment.

Many believe that changes need to be made in how the military handles the aftermath of sexual assaults. Often, victims say they feel more traumatized by what comes after the assault as they attempt to find justice for what they went through. Victims are transferred, their cases are dropped and the perpetrators never suffer any consequences.

As more and more victims come forward, the military may not be able to ignore the instances of sexual abuse much longer. The system may need to change in order to stop the victimization that happens in the aftermath of an assault. In the meantime, victims both service members and civilians need to feel empowered to come forward and seek the justice and other restitution they deserve for what they went through.