Given that the current chain of command has failed [to protect] men and women [from sexual assault], would you argue that [investigators outside the chain of command] is or isn't necessary for reasons beyond false reporting concerns?First, I'm not convinced that DoD military leadership has necessarily "failed" anyone wrt sexual assault within the ranks. Note that I'm not saying that it isn't a problem that demands to be taken seriously; rather that, in some ways, I find myself wondering if the recent focus on rape and sexual assault in the US military is not only blown out of proportion but is manufactured, the by-product of an extrapolation of estimated data based upon a self-selected survey of military members, a survey administered and published by the sexual assault prevention community within DoD. Needless to say, I don't consider the claim of 24,000 victims of sexual assault per year in the DoD to be reliable; doubly so given that the survey itself was written, administered, and analyzed by those whose well-paid government jobs depend on DoD having a huge sexual assault problem.
How do you think false reporting concerns can be addressing in a man that doesn't blame men and women that -have- been raped, as that's a problem in the military (and outside) currently?
Part of the narrative that has sprung out from the situation surrounding this self-licking ice cream cone of DoD sexual assault prevention is that the military justice system doesn't serve the needs of victims well, nor does it punish offenders with sufficient intensity. A proposed alternative, as seen in Sofia's question, is to outsource sexual-assault investigation and prosecution to civilian authorities. But, as I've pointed out previously, the data suggests doing so would not yield any more convictions per made accusation--the so-called "conversion rate"--and that the military justice system not only has a higher conversion rate but also is able to mete out punishments for "gray area" behavior, something that the civilian system cannot do very well. And if more alleged offenders aren't likely to be convicted, what is the point of transitioning to civilian prosecution of sexual assault?
For handling allegations of sexual assault, and dealing with the significant and thorny problem of FRAs, I advocate a number of steps, some a change from present practice, some not. First, that the language used in the discussion of sexual assault must be changed. "Victim" and "assailant" must be prefixed with "alleged", otherwise the entire process assumes facts not in evidence and the scales of justice are irrevocably slanted toward sexual assault accusers. Second, so-called "rape shield" laws be expanded to include those accused of sexual assault, not just the accusers. This will prevent accusations of sexual assault being used as a terror weapon. Third, alleged victims be given care and protected as if they were actual victims until shown to be otherwise, which is what I understand is present practice. Similarly, fourth, alleged assailants be treated as if they were actually innocent, which I understand is not present practice. Fifth, that sexual assault prevention efforts openly stipulate that FRAs are real and that the metadata converges around an FRA rate of 10-20% of all made accusations, and to focus more on sexual assault prevention. Sixth, FRAs should be punished, perhaps with punishments up to and including what the accused would have faced were the accusation real.
As to sex assault prevention, I would like to see a greater focus on risk mitigation, particularly in regard to the use of alcohol and extra-marital sexuality Rare is the sexual assault case in this day and age that doesn't involve the consent-diminishing use of alcohol and frankly, if men and women confined their sexual activities to within the bond of marriage, much of the sexual assault case load inside the military and out would instantly disappear.
Were these simple changes to be made, I think that allegations of sexual assault would not only drop precipitously, reflecting a drop in actual incidents, which is what I'd like to think everybody wants, but each individual allegation would be taken more seriously.