Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

PolitiFact.com | Tampa Bay Times
Sorting out the truth in politics

Sen. Gillibrand is accurate about rates of sexual misconduct in military

The statement

"One in five" women in the military "are receiving unwanted sexual contact," as are "3.3 percent of men."

U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, D-N.Y., in an interview with MSNBC

The ruling

In an interview with MSNBC, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand offered a striking statistic about sexual misconduct in the military.

"We've had sexual assaults in the military forever," Gillibrand said, but "a new report the DOD published found is that one in five … women are receiving unwanted sexual contact, but also 3.3 percent of men."

The report Gillibrand mentioned is the Health-Related Behaviors Survey of Active Duty Military Personnel from the U.S. Defense Department. (Gillibrand shorthands the agency as the DOD). The study, which samples tens of thousands of members of the military anonymously, is undertaken every three years. The just-released report covers 2011, addressing such issues as alcohol and tobacco use, mental health and other issues.

The study found that 21.7 percent of women had experienced "unwanted sexual contact … since joining the military, by someone in the military." (It found that 5.8 percent had experienced unwanted sexual contact by a civilian since joining.)

The comparable percentage for men experiencing unwanted sexual contact was 3.3 percent (by a member of the military) and 2.4 percent (by a civilian).

So Gillibrand has accurately reported the percentages. The only element of her claim that's slightly misleading is that she referred to service members who "are receiving unwanted sexual contact." That makes it sound like they are currently having unwanted contact or had it in the recent past.

In fact, the statistics refer to unwanted contact "since joining the military," which, for some survey respondents with long tenures in the military, may have been years ago.

It's worth noting that the percentages have risen since the 2008 survey. That year, 12.4 percent of women and 2.2 percent of men had experienced unwanted contact. (The 2008 survey did not distinguish between contact by members of the military and civilians.)

The report is unclear about whether the increase from 2008 to 2011 stems from a rise in the number of incidents or fuller reporting of the incidents. Whatever the reason, the report did say that "reported rates of unwanted sexual contact, particularly among female service members, warrant attention and action."

We rate this claim Mostly True.

Edited for print. Read the full version at PolitiFact.com.

Sen. Gillibrand is accurate about rates of sexual misconduct in military 04/29/13 [Last modified: Monday, April 29, 2013 9:02pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Woman killed in overnight Temple Terrace apartment fire, city says

    Fire

    TEMPLE TERRACE — A woman died early Sunday as a result of a fire at an apartment complex, city officials said.

  2. Video: Indianapolis 500 drivers in fiery crash somehow walk away uninjured

    Auto racing

    Scott Dixon and Jay Howard avoided injury in a spectacular crash - or what Dixon labeled "a wild ride" afterward - during the Indianapolis 500 on Sunday.

  3. Homeland security chief defends Kushner's alleged proposal for 'back channel' to the Russians as 'a good thing"

    National

    Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, the lone administration official to speak out publicly about reports that Jared Kushner sought a back channel to communicate with the Russian government, defended the move, saying it was a "good thing" for the U.S. government.

    Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump's senior adviser and son-in-law, listens during a meeting with small business leaders at the White House on Jan. 30. [Washington Post photo by Jabin Botsford]
  4. After hard charging on health care in 2016, Marco Rubio is slow, careful

    Blogs

    As a presidential candidate, Marco Rubio pitched an Obamacare replacement and tore into Donald Trump for not having one. "What is your plan? What is your plan on health care? You don't have a plan," the Florida senator aggressively challenged in a February 2016 debate.

  5. Report: Florida counties part of liver disease cluster

    Research

    STUART — Four counties along Florida's Treasure Coast make up a cluster with high rates of both deaths from liver disease and algae blooms.