Aug 2, 2021
In 2021, RAND Arroyo Center was asked to help the U.S. Army better understand the characteristics of sexual harassment and sexual assault experiences among active-duty soldiers, with a focus on identifying differences across several demographic and military characteristics. The research team used data from the Department of Defense's (DoD's) 2016 and 2018 Workplace and Gender Relations Survey of Active Duty Members (WGRA) to produce descriptions of the circumstances surrounding women's and men's self-reported most serious experiences of sexual harassment, gender discrimination, and sexual assault over the year prior to survey administration.
For sexual harassment and gender discrimination, the research team focused on differences between men and women and across high- and non–high-risk installations, defined according to an installation's overall risk for sexual harassment. For sexual assault, the team focused on differences between men and women, by sexual orientation, and across high- and non–high-risk installations, defined according to an installation's overall risk for sexual assault.
For both men and women, experiences occurred during required military activity, at a military installation, at work during duty hours.
For both men and women, there are few differences in respondents' experiences between high-risk and non–high-risk installations or between only high-risk installations, where risk is above the average for the Army overall.
Women are more likely than men to
Men are more likely than women to
There are few significant and substantively meaningful differences between high-risk and non–high-risk installations, where risk is above the average for the Army overall for either men or women.
Heterosexual women are most likely to
LGBO women are most likely to
Women who do not report their sexual orientation (PNA/NR) are most likely to
Heterosexual men are more likely than LGBO and PNA/NR men to
LGBO and PNA/NR men are more likely than heterosexual men to
For women, there are enough cases of sexual assault in the data to create three groups. Men, however, could be sorted into only two groups: heterosexual versus all others (i.e., LGBO + PNA/NR).
It is important to keep in mind that the actual sexual orientations within the PNA/NR group are unknown, and some of the NR group is simply respondents dropping off the survey before completion.
Prevention efforts should emphasize the most common behaviors and scenarios experienced by soldiers.
Limits on data collection about sexual orientation are intended to protect privacy—but may limit the Army's ability to prevent sexual assault. Pursuing opportunities to change DoD policies would allow detailed data collection on sexual minority soldiers' experiences with assault, harassment, and discrimination to inform prevention efforts.
This infographic describes work done in RAND Arroyo Center and documented in Sexual Harassment and Gender Discrimination in the Active-Component Army: Variation in Most Serious Event Characteristics by Gender and Installation Risk, by Avery Calkins, Matthew Cefalu, Terry L. Schell, Linda Cottrell, Sarah O. Meadows, and Rebecca Collins, Santa Monica, Calif.: RAND Corporation, RR-A1385-1, 2021 (available at www.rand.org/t/RRA1385-1), and Sexual Assault Experiences in the Active-Component Army: Variation by Year, Gender, Sexual Orientation, and Installation Risk Level, by Avery Calkins, Matthew Cefalu, Terry L. Schell, Linda Cottrell, Sarah O. Meadows, and Rebecca Collins, Santa Monica, Calif.: RAND Corporation, RR-A1385-2, 2022 (available at www.rand.org/t/RRA1385-2). The RAND Corporation is a research organization that develops solutions to public policy challenges to help make communities throughout the world safer and more secure, healthier and more prosperous. RAND is nonprofit, nonpartisan, and committed to the public interest. RAND's publications do not necessarily reflect the opinions of its research clients and sponsors. RAND® is a registered trademark. © 2022 RAND Corporation.
Design: Rick Penn-Kraus. Illustrations: female soldier: fennywiryani/Adobe Stock; male soldier: RobinOlimb/Getty Images; female sitting: Hibrida13/iStock/Getty Images Plus; male sitting: Flatman vector 24/Adobe Stock
To view this infographic online, visit www.rand.org/t/IGA1385-1.