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Think Out Loud

Soldiers, Veterans, and Abuse

Pete Springer/OPB

A new Pentagon report surveying statistics from the U.S. Army contained some stunning news about increases in rates of violent sex crimes, domestic abuse and child abuse. According to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, nearly 3,200 sexual assaults were reported in 2011, but the military’s actual estimate was closer to 19,000 because it is such an under-reported crime. Looking at it another way, the report says that last year a U.S soldier committed a violent sex crime every six hours and 40 minutes. Most of these occurred on U.S. soil. Violent sex crime was up 64 percent between 2006 and 2011. Domestic violence increased 33 percent, and child abuse 43 percent, both also between 2006 and 2011.

These numbers led military leaders to vow that there would be change. They say they’ll increase surveillance in barracks and crack down on drug and alcohol abuse. The Pentagon is also going to create a database to track offenders and give greater funding to sex crime investigators.

Are you a veteran? Do you belong to a military family? Have you struggled with issues of domestic violence or child abuse?

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