Survey respondents want USFK to get tougher with sexual-abuse offenders
Stars and Stripes December 23, 2004
Harsher punishment for sex-assault offenders and separate barracks for male and female troops were two recommendations U.S. Forces Korea received from an online sexual assault survey it conducted earlier this year.
The survey, posted on the military’s Intranet system in June, sought data on the number of incidents, perceived causes and possible prevention measures of sexual assault.
“This survey was conducted for USFK by the 8th Army Inspector General’s office,” read a command response to a Stars and Stripes request for the full survey and its results. The command refused to release the full results of the survey, but said the information collected “continues to be a source of valuable information in ongoing command attention” to the subject.
Army regulations state “fact-finding documents such as surveys are not released without approval from the U.S. Army Inspector General. The restriction is to protect the privacy and confidentiality of those providing information.”
Stars and Stripes has submitted a request to the Army Inspector General at the Pentagon for a release of the full report.
Instead, USFK provided a “snapshot” of the results.
More than half of those surveyed recommended separate barracks for male and female servicemembers, USFK said. The majority of responses said punishment “needs to be harsher, applied quicker, equal no matter of rank, and publicized,” USFK said.
In short, “the system needs to be more effective.”
The majority of servicemembers also “want their leaders to regularly check barracks and check areas soldiers frequent, both on and off post, and be more visible/available to soldiers,” USFK said.
Without releasing the number of survey responses, USFK said the responses were 75 percent male and 25 percent female. More than half of the respondents were under the age of 31.
Soldiers completed 52 percent of the responses; Air Force personnel 44 percent; and Navy and Marines four percent. The ranks split almost evenly into thirds for categories between E-1 and E-4, E-5 and E-6, and E-7 to O-6, USFK said.
Survey respondents asked for extended hours for services such as gyms, base exchanges, movie theaters, community activities centers and buses.
USFK also said the survey results didn’t influence a Dec. 1 decision to raise the legal drinking age for USFK personnel from 20 to 21.
“Leadership was already considering that measure, based on trend analysis,” the USFK statement read. “The survey recommendation does support the decision.”
Earlier this month on his radio call-in show, USFK Command Sgt. Major Troy Welch said the drinking age was raised in part because alcohol was involved in most sexual assault cases; in many instances, Welch said, victims were afraid to report incidents because they were underage and drinking at the time.
USFK said it was considering another survey as part of their future efforts to prevent sexual assaults.
“We plan to use a variety of methods, including surveys, interviews, sensing sessions and document reviews in the months ahead to continue studying this issue as the work of various leadership groups continues to focus on this important area,” the statement read.
“Continued leader emphasis and training will have the greatest impact towards increasing awareness, knowledge, and prevention.”