Breaking the Gender Myth Surrounding Sexual Assault

The Defense Department is working to combat the myth that only female service members fall victim to sexual assault with the release of a new policy designed to ensure male sexual assault victims receive the help they need to recover. The Defense Department estimates that 38 percent of women feel comfortable reporting sexual assaults, but only 10 percent of men report sexual assaults. “We are working to encourage men by emphasizing that warriors show strength by seeking help,” said Army Maj. Gen. Camille Nichols, director of the DOD Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office. The plan announced Dec. 15 outlines four objectives designed to broaden sexual assault support to military men, including encouraging males to report the crimes when they occur, expanding service members understanding of how men can be sexually assaulted, “refining support services and health care to address men’s specific needs,” and tracking the plan’s progress, states the release. “We’re listening very closely to our warfighters on this project,” said Nate Galbreath, DOD SAPRO deputy director. “Our ability to prevent this crime and remain mission-ready relies on male service members trusting us enough to disclose their experience, and our getting them the kind of help they need to recover.” (See also: A Sign of Confidence in the System.)