NEW YORK (AP) — Sexual assault occurs in many settings, and the perpetrators come from every part of U.S. society.
Yet as recent incidents and reports make clear, it's a particularly intractable problem in the military, with its enduring macho culture and unique legal system.
Advocates for change say one significant factor is the perception by many victims in the military that they lack the recourses available in the civilian world to bring assailants to justice.
The military insists it takes the problem seriously and has implemented numerous policies and programs to reduce the assaults.
But the problem persists.
A recent Pentagon report estimates that 26,000 service members were sexually assaulted last year, up from 19,000 in 2011. Victims reported 3,374 incidents in 2012, and there were convictions in 238 of those cases.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill returned to Missouri to push for tougher punishments of military sexual assaults.
The Democratic senator and former Jackson County prosecutor met Wednesday with top officials from the Missouri National Guard at the Guard's Jefferson City headquarters.
Her appearance came one month after senior military leaders were chastised at a Senate hearing because an Air Force commander dismissed the conviction of a lieutenant colonel for sexually assaulting a civilian employee at Aviana Air Force Base in Italy.
McCaskill has introduced legislation to revise the Uniform Code of Military Justice to prohibit commanders from overturning jury verdicts in military tribunals. Those leaders would also have to explain in writing any decisions to reduce sentences after guilty verdicts in court martials.