BBC report: almost half of survey participants recorded abuse and violence

WASHINGTON (AP) – More than half of the Air Force and Space Force personnel who responded to the survey said they have experienced some type of psychological or physical abuse in the past two years, ranging from bullying and bullying in the workplace to rape or murder. to the report published on Tuesday,

Of the approximately 68,000 military personnel, reservists and civilians who participated in the survey, nearly two-thirds of women and 48% of men described incidents that the Air Force called “interpersonal violence.” Most said they never reported it to commanders or law enforcement, and many of those who did it believed there was nothing to be done about it.

This report is the latest in a series of defense and services reviews that highlight the issue of violence and harassment in the military. While it is difficult to compare rates among the military to civilian violence in the country, senior military leaders say the troops are under increased scrutiny.

Only about 10% of all Air Force military and civilian personnel responded to the survey, so the totals do not reflect the actual amount of violence. Since dependents were not surveyed, this type of domestic violence will not be included.

Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall said the percentage of those who report violence can be highly skewed because people who survived the incident were more likely to complete the questionnaire.

But, he added, “even if that’s all, it’s too much,” and this is a problem for the Air Force to solve.

“The numbers are big enough so we need to take this incredibly seriously and act accordingly,” he said.

Members of Congress have consistently complained about the military’s failure to adequately address the prevention and prosecution of violence, especially sexual assault. The Air Force survey was launched last year after several violent deaths, including the assassination of army special forces. Vanessa Guillen, who went missing in Fort Hood, Texas, about two months before her remains were discovered at the end of June last year.

BBC officials told reporters that they had identified 81 harmful behaviors, ranging from obscene jokes and humiliation to espionage, stalking and more violent physical attacks. And they said workplace bullying was the most common complaint.

Brig. General April Vogel stated that cases that could be considered less violent, emotional abuse were included because “it has been proven that when inappropriate lower-level behavior can flourish, it creates an environment in which worse, more egregious behaviors can occur. … … “

The report also noted that while most victims were not satisfied with the support or assistance they received, the commanders believed they had the resources and training to respond to any incidents. According to BBC leaders, this gap suggests a core leadership problem in which leaders do not see and understand the problems that need to be addressed.

The Interpersonal Violence Task Force, established in 2020, concluded that support for victims in their home bases should be better coordinated and less confusing. And recommended ways to make it easier for victims to seek support and encourage more frequent reporting of incidents.

The survey also says staff want more accountability, more accessible leadership, and better training and education. The Air Force has also launched a pilot program to expand legal services for victims.

The Air Force also released additional findings on Tuesday from its surveys of gender and racial inequality, which concluded that black women and women from other minorities are significantly underrepresented in leadership and officer positions, especially at the highest levels, and are less likely to be promoted.

The survey found that while women generally did well in the service and were well represented in some career categories, white women were more likely to participate. In particular, it stated that black female officers are promoted less frequently than others, including less frequently than officers with less command experience.

For example, minority women make up less than 1% of active duty pilots. The report also found that minority women officers are the most negative about racism and prejudice and do not believe that their commanders will react to demeaning behavior or comments.

The BBC’s findings are the latest in a series of reports on gender and racial bias in the service.

The first report, released last December, looked at the differences between black military personnel. He concluded that black military personnel were much more likely to be investigated, arrested, disciplined and fired for misconduct.

The second report included women, Asian, American Indian / Alaska Native, Hawaiian / Pacific Islander Native, and Hispanic / Latino on active duty in the National Guard, Wildlife Refugees, and the civilian state. It has been found that about a third of female military personnel in the Air Force and Space Forces say they have been sexually harassed, and many can describe cases of sexism and stigmatization associated with pregnancy and maternity leave.

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