U.S. Female Veterans Quietly Struggle With Sexual Harassment, Suicide
December 14, 2018: A work environment tolerant of sexual assault and harassment is believed to be one of the causes of high suicide rates among female veterans, which soared more than 45 percent between 2001 and 2015, according to data from the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs (VA).
The rate among female veterans is lower than that of male veterans, but not compared to their civilian counterparts. Female veterans are almost twice as likely to kill themselves as civilian women.
Sexual misconduct complaints are often handled by the alleged victim’s supervisor, who may have close ties to the accused. As the Convening Authority (CA), they have the power to act as judge in the case and appoint a jury, as well as decide if the charges should be referred to a court-martial.
Critics say this puts pressure on commanding officers to suppress allegations for the sake of their own reputations. Victims tend to face pressure to stay quiet, as well.
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