Ending the Epidemic of Military Sexual Assault

Guest blogger Veronika Walker writes about the disturbing connection between military sexual assault and the growing population of homeless female veterans.

Many of us have heard about the epidemic of sexual assault in the United States military. You may have seen the documentary The Invisible War, or perhaps you read the recent news regarding Jeffrey Krusinski, an Air Force officer in charge of sexual assault prevention who was arrested for sexual assault. Misconceptions regarding sexual assault in the military become disturbingly apparent when people like Donald Trump take to social media and say things like “What do you expect when you put men and women together?” However, this isn’t just a question of men assaulting women, since a large number of men in the military have been sexually assaulted as well.

Yet, while many people have heard about both these alarming rates and inaccurate responses, fewer have learned about the possible long-term effects of this issue. In the coming weeks, PBS will be airing a documentary called War Zone/Comfort Zone, a film about homeless women veterans attempting to open the first transitional housing for women veterans in Connecticut. With the increasing number of female soldiers joining the military ranks, female veterans have become the fastest growing homeless population in the US. Though a variety of reasons contribute to this, a recent study has found that over half of homeless female veterans have experienced sexual assault in the military. This is a disturbing trend, and it needs to be taken seriously.

Sexual assault affects everyone, including our troops. As we honor their service, we must educate ourselves and others about sexual violence. By challenging the socio-cultural structures that allow sexual assault to occur at such tremendous rates, we can work to prevent sexual assault in the military and eventually end this epidemic.

​Veronika Walker is a Women's and Gender Studies major at the University of South Carolina. She volunteers with Sexual Trauma Services of the Midlands, has interned at SC Equalityand is currently a full-time youth activist with the South Carolina Contraceptive Access Campaign. She loves to read and hang out with her one-year-old Rottweiler named Baloo.