US Senator Kirsten Gillibrand claims that the Pentagon covers sexual assaults by underreporting cases involving civilian women living near bases and the non-military spouses of service members.
The senator is a frequent critic of the military's failure to adequately report and punish those who commit sexual assault. Gillibrand issued a report saying that the pentagon underreports on such cases, leaving out civilian spouses of military personnel and those who live near military bases.
Her staff examined sexual assaults in 2013 at the military's four largest bases: the Army's Fort Hood in Texas, Naval Station Norfolk in Virginia, the Marine Corps' Camp Pendleton in California, and Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio.
The findings showed that 32% of reports of sexual assault were submitted by civilian women, who were undercounted by the Pentagon. The percentage was based on 33 alleged assaults by service members on civilian women out of 107 total incidents during 2013. The report also says that 21% of reports were submitted by civilian military spouses, who also weren't sufficiently counted (22 alleged assaults by service members on their civilian spouses out of 107).
The total number of sexual assault survivors nationwide could more than double, from 20,000 to 42,000, Gillibrand's report says.