A recent Government Accountability Office report found that the DOD does not adequately provide guidance on implementing sexual assault policies and programs in deployment areas, that not all commanders support such programs, that prevention and response training is not consistently effective, and that a shortage of mental health care providers affects victims' access to mental health services.
"Left unchecked, these challenges can discourage or prevent some servicemembers from using the programs when needed," the GAO said. It based its findings on surveys conducted with 3,750 servicemembers at domestic and deployed units and a 2006 DOD survey. 103 servicemembers reported being sexually assaulted within the previous year, and 52 did not report the assault.
The GAO identified additional factors in non-reporting, including: "the belief that nothing would be done; fear of ostracism, harassment, or ridicule; and concern that peers would gossip."
The Associated Press reported in July that of all the women who have visited a VA facility after serving in Iraq or Afghanistan, 15 percent of them screened positive for military sexual trauma.
"That means they indicated that while on active duty they were sexually assaulted, raped, or were sexually harassed, receiving repeated unsolicited verbal or physical contact of a sexual nature," the report said.