Female Marines on the BattlefieldDenver, CO– A comprehensive study of women in the military found that women who are deployed and involved in combat situations in Iraq and Afghanistan were more likely to report sexual harassment a new comprehensive study shows.

Women account for 200,000 of the 1.4 million active-duty military personnel. Since 9/11, 280,000 have been deployed to combat areas and with Department of Defense’s recent decision to lift their ban on women in combat even more women will find themselves in combat situations. With the increasing issue of sexual harassment and assault in the military a new study aimed to determine the connection between combat situations and sexual stressors which include harassment and assault, Stars and Stripes reported.

A new study which appeared in the August edition of Women’s Health Issues tracked 13,000 service women, including the Reserve and National Guard, beginning in 2001. The study participants answered a “baseline” questionnaire and repeated the Defense Department survey every 3 years.

The comprehensive study found that women who were involved in “combat-like” situations in which they witnessed a death, physical assault, dead soldiers and maimed civilians or soldiers, reported 20 percent rate of sexual harassment and four percent rate of sexual assault report assault, the Stars and Stripes explained.

Also, the study found that women born after 1980 were more likely to be sexually harassed or assaulted than their older counterparts.

Each branch of service had varying rates of sexual harassment and assault. Study participants reported the lowest rate of harassment and assault, 5.8 percent, in the Air Force and the Navy. The Army had 10.3 percent rate with the Marines having the highest rate of sexual harassment and assault at 13.3 percent.

Authors of the study offered and explanation as to why women on combat-like situations were more likely to encounter sexual misconduct.

“Women who experience combat while deployed are not only in more stressful and dangerous circumstances but they may also find themselves in more traditionally male-dominated environments compared with other deployed women,” the study said.

The study explained that in combat situations, perpetrators are less likely to be concerned about the consequences of sexual harassment or assault and are less likely to be disciplined.

The study’s authors said their findings were an important tool to help develop sexual harassment and assault prevention programs for the military.

While women in traditional non-military workplace feel more embolden to report sexual harassment, it is still a prevalent problem. Although, reporting policies in the workplace are much easier to navigate than in the military, women still have a reasonable fear that their allegations will not be taken seriously or they will be retaliated against, just like women in the military.

Workers in Denver workplaces who are being sexually harassed don’t have to put up with the misconduct. If they have reported the harassment and no action was taken against the harasser or they have been somehow punished for speaking out, a Denver sexual harassment attorney can assist them with a formal lawsuit and end the hostile behavior.