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Pentagon Must Address Sexual Assaults Against Service Members - GAO

© Flickr / Andrés FelicianoThe Pentagon says it provided Sanaa with more than $400 million worth of military gear, including helicopters, night-vision gear, surveillance equipment, military radios and transport aircraft since 2006, as part of a counterterrorism strategy.
The Pentagon says it provided Sanaa with more than $400 million worth of military gear, including helicopters, night-vision gear, surveillance equipment, military radios and transport aircraft since 2006, as part of a counterterrorism strategy. - Sputnik International
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US Government Accountability Office says that the US military must undergo a culture change in order to combat sexual assaults taking place among male and female service members.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) — The US military must undergo a culture change in order to combat sexual assaults taking place among male and female service members, according to a US Government Accountability Office (GAO) study.

“DOD [US Department of Defense] has recognized that a cultural change is needed to address sexual assaults,” the study, issued on Thursday, said. “In reports and interviews, DOD has identified the military culture can pose challenges to effectively implementing a program to prevent sexual assault.”

The study showed that in 2008, the Defense Department identified it would need to address the “unofficial culture” — defined by exaggerated characteristics of stereotypical masculinity amongst other things — that allows rape to happen.

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The study found that 1,180 male and 4,104 female service members reported sexual assault in 2014.

The GAO recommends establishing and measuring of progress-based performance goals and employee training to correct any misnomers about sexual assault and rape, according to the study.

The GAO also said it hopes the Defense Department will creates a plan to use data to inform program development, develop goals and metrics as well as investigate whether male victims have gender-specific medical or mental needs, the study said.

The Defense Department has not taken any steps so far to further these changes nor has instituted any goals or metrics to solve sexual assault or rape-related issues for male service members, according to the study.

The GAO is an independent, nonpartisan agency that investigates how the US government spends taxpayer dollars.

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