#MilitaryMeToo in the News Again – 12/1/2020

Lindsey Knapp

What really happened with this victim advocate who had worked at Ft Bragg in NC? CBS aired Lindsey Knapp’s story and others in November 2020  on the CBS Evening News with Nora O’Donnell. Stories of victims of multiple sexual assaults who killed themselves. And stories of “Pentagon whistleblowers say they were fired or suspended for reporting sexual assault cover-ups: “People are afraid”” at cbsn.ws/2HpwN1k. Better link at https://www.cbsnews.com/video/norah-odonnell-reports-sexual-assault-in-the-military/. CBS did a four part series on problems in the military. This particular CBS show aired interviews of three women hired to work for the military’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) Program.  All three had been fired. 

Lindsey Knapp
Lindsey Knapp

SAPR was established by the Pentagon 15 years ago to provide support and resources to survivors of sexual assault and rape. All three women are “alleging improper investigations and retaliation firings despite the Pentagon spending tens of millions of dollars on prevention and pledging to tackle the systemic issue. ” 

In the story, Knapp said there has been an increase in assault reports, but a decrease in convictions. She said that more and more service members are reporting that they’re being retaliated against.

The Pentagon estimates that about 20,500 service members across the military branches — about 13,000 women and 7,500 men — were sexually assaulted in the 2018 fiscal year, based on data from an anonymous survey that’s compiled by the Department of Defense every two years.

Knapp was interviewed for another story on ABC-11 on 8/6/19 on problems helping survivors who want to report sex crimes at “New tool military members can use to report rape does little for retaliation, advocates say.” 

“This CATCH program may make an impact with some victims. But we feel Fort Bragg can make a much more overwhelming impact if they address the more pressing issues we see. The command climate, victims facing retaliation and victims not feeling safe at work – things of that nature,” said Lindsey Knapp of the Rape Crisis Center of Cumberland County (in 2019).

Interesting that the military is acknowledging this fact, because in practice they are not addressing it well. “The DOD said this will help them identify repeat offenders across the military as studies show that offenders develop patterns and turn serial.” 

The article continues to explain, “Within the DOD system, survivors already have two reporting options: an unrestricted report which triggers a criminal investigation and alerts their command as well as a restricted report which basically is a private report for research purposes only, essentially what the CATCH system will provide.”

This is continuing coverage of the #MilitaryMetoo problems NC NOW has been covering via articles and discussion panels. Our first panel was part of the opening night of the NC NOW State Conference on Oct 9. Knapp wasn’t able to attend as a third panelist for that event, but we hope she can participate in our next #MilitaryMeToo panel which should be the first week of January, January 5 or 7.

Look for more information on the upcoming panel to be announced in December. The event will be via Zoom.

Shortlink: https://wp.me/p22b2e-32l

Sources:

“DOD Annual Report on Sexual Assault In The Military, Fiscal Year 2018,” generated on 4/9/2019, at https://int.nyt.com/data/documenthelper/800-dod-annual-report-on-sexual-as/d659d6d0126ad2b19c18/optimized/full.pdf#page=1

“Military sexual assaults jump by 37%, anonymous survey shows,” 5/2/2019, The Guardian, https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/may/02/unreported-military-sexual-assaults-jump-by-37-anonymous-survey-shows.

“The Military Failed Vanessa Guillen and Others. It Must Do Better.” 8/1/20, Ms Magazine, https://msmagazine.com/2020/08/01/the-military-failed-vanessa-guillen-and-others-it-must-do-better/

“Media Advisory: Voting Our Future NOW Conference on Oct 9-10, 2020,” 10/4/20, NC NOW Website, https://northcarolinanow.wordpress.com/2020/10/04/media-advisory-voting-our-future-now-conference-on-oct-9-10-2020/

Pentagon whistleblowers say they were fired or suspended for reporting sexual assault cover-ups: “People are afraid”,” 11/19/20, CBS News,  https://www.cbsnews.com/news/pentagon-military-whistleblowers-fired-for-reporting-sexual-assault-coverup/

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