MOSCOW, November 1 (RIA Novosti) — About 560,000 American military members including the National Guard and Reserve were offered to complete a new sexual assault questionnaire, which has already been qualified as "intrusive" and "invasive," by US servicemen and women.
"The survey is conducted every two years. But this year's version, developed by the Rand Corp., is unusually detailed, including graphically personal questions on sexual acts," the Associated Press reported.
Speaking on conditions of anonymity, US military members have complained that they were offended and surprised by the questions, some even "felt re-victimized" by the explicit questions and blunt language of the survey, the media outlet emphasized.
According to the Pentagon, the "explicit" and "detailed" questionnaire was developed in order to conduct a thorough survey aimed at reducing the number of sexual assaults as well as "encouraging victims to come forward to get help."
Although the Pentagon has confirmed it received complaints from the military personnel, some US Army officials believe the "tough questions" are necessary. Nate Galbreath, the top executive adviser for the Defense Department's sexual-assault prevention office deems that a more detailed survey provides the office with a more accurate analysis of the issue.
"Research has told us, if I ask someone, 'Have you ever been raped?' they will say, 'No.' If I ask that same person, 'Have you ever been forced to engage in sexual activity against your will?' they might say 'Yes.' It's because of the loaded terms like rape and sexual assault, that it's not very clear to a lot of people what we may be asking about," he said, as quoted by the Associated Press.
It is worth mentioning that the 2012 survey indicated that the overall number of sexual assault episodes in the US Army was increasing steadily: while about 19,000 incidents had been reported in 2010, in 2012 the number reached 26,000. According to the latest research, the number of sexual assaults had risen by 50 percent last year.
Congress members are blaming the Defense Department for not doing enough to prevent the crimes, the International Business Times points out. Although some serious measures such as abolishing commanders' abilities to overturn verdicts have been already carried out, other changes, for instance keeping defendants' chiefs completely out of the legal process have not yet become a law, the media outlet reports.