Over 500 Reports of Sexual Assault among U.S. Troops in Iraq and Afghanistan

Over 500 cases of sexual assault have been reported among U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan since the summer of 2002, according to the executive director of the Miles Foundation, a nonprofit group that tracks sexual crimes in the military.

“The combat theater is illustrative of the hostility towards women in the U.S. Armed Forces,” according to Christine Hansen, the executive director of the foundation. Hansen is testifying this afternoon before the House Government Reform Committee.

Hansen notes that survivors of sexual assault in the combat theater point to many issues that contribute to the hostile environment there for women in the military, including “lack of privacy to perform daily routines; insufficient lighting in and around the tents; isolation; existence of a sexually charged atmosphere; presence of pornography; and availability of condoms for male troops.”

Hansen also points out that the wide availability of alcohol has not helped. Alcohol has been involved in 70 to 75 percent of the reported cases.

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