Few approve of military's sex assault record

August 20, 2013, 6:53 PM GMT+0

Nearly half of Americans disapprove of how military commanders have handled the military's sex assault problem, with similar numbers saying the problem is very serious.

Sexual assault in the US military has become a controversial issue in Washington, as lawmakers - and many servicemembers - have spoken out against longstanding issues within the military about sexual assault. The top leaders of the military have promised to address the issue and have supported some reforms, but have firmly opposed a Senate proposal to take away authority over prosecutions for serious crimes - such as rape - from commanding officers and instead handing it to the army's uniformed prosecution service.

The latest YouGov research shows that few Americans approve of how military commanders handle the sexual assault issue. 46% of men and 52% of women say that they disapprove of the way it has been handled, while 27% of men and only 13% of women say that they approve of how it is being handled. Overall, 20% of Americans approve of how military commanders are handling the issue while 49% disapprove. Despite this, 67% of Americans have a 'great deal' or 'quite a lot' of trust in the military.

When asked how serious a problem sexual assault is in the military, 43% of Americans said that it is 'very serious'. 32% said that it is a 'somewhat serious' problem, and only 13% said that is either a 'minor problem' or not a problem at all.

There is a significant age gap on the issue of how serious a problem sexual assault is in the US as a whole. Older Americans are far more likely to regard sexual assault as a serious problem than younger Americans. An outright majority of Americans over the age of 65 say that it is a 'very serious' problem, compared to 29% of people aged 18 to 29. Perceptions of the severity of sexual assault in the military and in broader society are largely similar.

Full results can be found here.

Image: Getty.

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