I heard on the radio this morning that a report is coming out this week that says the number of sexual assaults reported by both men and women in the military increased 35% over the past three years. And many more assaults are never reported officially. The Pentagon estimates that service men and women are assaulted by one another at a rate of 70 per day. One thing not included in the summary that the commentators were discussing was whether the increase is from better reporting, or from more assaults.
Congress is looking to take the decision for prosecuting these cases out of the hands of commanding officers -- a move that military leaders say would hurt their ability to maintain order and discipline. Legislators, however, say that under the current system victims decline to step forward out of concern that their complaints will not be taken seriously. Twice in recent months, three-star Air Force generals have come under fire for throwing out sexual assault convictions for lower-ranking officers. Military lawyers would be given the authority to decide whether to prosecute or not. Here's a link to an article about the summary report, I couldn't find the summary itself online.
Should commanding officers or military lawyers be the ones to decide whether to prosecute sexual assaults? Should COs be able to overturn sexual assault convictions? Do you think this change might lead to better reporting & prosecution of sexual assaults? Why should sexual assaults in the military not be prosecuted in criminal court?