A substantial majority of Americans (81%) view sexual assault in the military as an extremely or very important issue. But the public does not believe the problem of sexual assault is a bigger problem in the military than outside it.

A majority (54%) say instances of sexual assaults in the military represent individual acts of misconduct, while 40% believe they result from underlying problems in the military’s culture.

Just 11% say the problem of sexual assaults is more of a problem inside the military than in society overall. About a quarter (23%) say the assaults are more of a problem outside the military, while 63% say it is about the same in the military and society at large.

The public is evenly divided over whether the better way to handle the problem of sexual assault in the military is for Congress to make changes in military laws (45%) or to let military leaders to address the problem internally (44%).

About half of Americans (52%) have a great deal or fair amount of confidence that military leaders will make the right decisions when it comes to the problem of sexual assault in the military. Read more

Bruce Drake  is a former senior editor at Pew Research Center.