BBC Article: Women at war face sexual violence

Well, the prosecution rate is clearly embarassing, I’m more of wondering if rape is more common among comparable civilians than it is in the military. That would seem to reflect on the “idealists and thugs” angle; personally I’d guess they’re actually less likely due to the structure of military society, the military just does jack about it.

This article seems to support that contention Jason:

However this article (incidently by the same author as the OP’s original article) seems to suggest the opposite:

Rape in civilian life is already unacceptably common. One in six women is raped or sexually assaulted in her lifetime, according to the National Institute of Justice, a number so high it should be considered an epidemic.

In the military, however, the situation is even worse. Rape is almost twice as frequent as it is among civilians, especially in wartime. Soldiers are taught to regard one another as family, so military rape resembles incest. And most of the soldiers who rape are older and of higher rank than their victims, so are taking advantage of their authority to attack the very people they are supposed to protect.

Department of Defense reports show that nearly 90 percent of rape victims in the Army are junior-ranking women, whose average age is 21, while most of the assailants are non-commissioned officers or junior men, whose average age is 28.

This sexual violence persists in spite of strict laws against rape in the military and a concerted Pentagon effort in 2005 to reform procedures for reporting the crime. Unfortunately, neither the press nor the many teams of psychologists and sociologists who study veterans ever seem to ask why.

The answer appears to lie in a confluence of military culture, the psychology of the assailants and the nature of war.

Also, relevently from the same article:

Misogyny has always been at the root of sexual violence in the military, but two other factors contribute to it, as well: the type of man who chooses to enter the all-volunteer force and the nature of the Iraq War.

The economic reasons behind enlistment are well understood. The military is the primary path out of poverty and dead-end jobs for many of the poor in America. What is less discussed is that many soldiers enlist as teenagers to escape troubled or violent homes.

Two studies of Army and Marine recruits, one conducted in 1996 by psychologists L.N. Rosen and L. Martin, and the other in 2005 by Jessica Wolfe and her colleagues of the Boston Veterans Affairs Health Center, both of which were published in the journal Military Medicine, found that half the male enlistees had been physically abused in childhood, one-sixth had been sexually abused, and 11 percent had experienced both. This is significant because, as psychologists have long known, childhood abuse often turns men into abusers.

Perhaps the difference is that the first article deals exclusively with peace time rape rates whilst the second deals with rape rates overall (thereby including war-time rape cases).

Certainly, the military culture in the US and elsewhere was definitely not very sympathetic to rape victims for years. See this article on the Canadian military for a discussion of how bad things used to be and how it that kind of culture has improved but is nowhere near stamped out:

Yeah, doesn’t look like they’re controlling for income either.