Rape and sexual assault have been "staples" of military culture for as long as there have been armies. This does not and should not excuse it, but should contextualize it.
The military is necessarily (in terms of the self-survival of the participants) harsh, murderous, remorseless. The defeated enemy's women have always figured in as among the most desirable "spoils of war." But warfare has, until fairly recently, been pretty much an exclusively male domain. Oomen have been warriors in innumerable insurrections but, until Israel, in the modern era, they were not sought by or admitted as soldiers.
Since women have joined the overwhelmingly still male ranks, they have fallen prey to attacks from their comrads. There has lately been a veritable flood of revelations and accusations about sexual assault and rape in the USer military services, mainly--though not exclusively--from women who have been assaulted, subject to harassment, even raped by their cohorts and comrads (and often superiors) in arms--and commanded either explicitly or by the weight of the institution to remain silent about it.
Congress is now holding hearings about the matter. Congresscrit Louise Slaughter has been a leading voice in the inquiry. In a piece on HuffPo on Friday she further lamented the state of the Military brass' reply to the problem, which has been--at BEST--disingenuous. As described in the article, "command" is advising victims to submit rather than risk injury. No word about reporting the assailant, however.
Because the Senior Brass has NOT THE SLIGHTEST INTENTION of bestowing on lower ranks the power to embarrass them "on a whim." So "reforms" have been partial, and glacial.
(Former Sgt.) Woody (USAF, 64-68) can tellya what'll work to impede and reduce sexual assaults in the military.
What's gonna work is prosecuting, convicting and sending to jail a
WHOLE BUNCH of rapist and predatory NCOs and Officers. Make some
examples. What do you think Bradley Manning's ordeal has been about?
This will have an additional, positive effect, in that it may make some vacancies in upper ranks, which women could
then fill, to pursue matters further.
The military is a brutal culture.
It will respond only to lessons in kind.