The US Defense Department underreports crimes against civilian women and spouses of service members living in the vicinity of military facilities, as per Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a US Senator who was vociferous in her criticism of Pentagon's refusal to provide exact information on the number of sexual assaults committed at major military bases.
Cases where women are subjected to sexual crimes are not reported because they are not counted when a count is conducted on the number of sexual assaults within the ranks.
In a comprehensive analysis of 107 cases related to sexual behavior, the senator found a majority of the accused got away with a lenient punishment. Moreover, the analysis revealed the statement given by the culprit was phrased in such a manner that its likelihood to be accepted as being true was more than the statement of the victim.
The analysis also revealed that many cases did not even turn up for a trial. Of the cases that did end up for trial, only a few ended up in conviction. Civilians living near military establishments were more susceptible to such crimes.
In a typical case involving an airman in sex crimes, the culprit was recommended to be court-martialed. If he is found guilty, he was surely to serve a long sentence in jail. But certain loopholes in the system were used to get the airman acquitted. The victims also were not too eager to press their charges against the airman. Speculations are rife of the victims being intimidated.
The problem with convicting military personnel remains that this remains the prerogative of military commanders. The Gillibrand bill which was supposed to curb the role of military commanders in taking prosecutorial decision failed to clear the US Senate in March 2014.