Sexual assault in the U.S. military has garnered a lot of media attention in the past years, and rightfully so. Sexual harassment and assault within a military bureaucracy can make it more difficult and tedious for victims to come forward — a DOD survey found that 52% of those who came forward were retaliated against by their own chain of command. Various studies have been conducted, all coming back with various numbers and statistics as what constitutes “sexual harassment” and “sexual assault” might vary from survey to survey. Still, either way it is described, it remains a problem that permeates the United States military on a daily basis.

Militaries around the world have problems with sexual assault, and they all handle it differently.


A French army female soldier watches the rehearsal of the famous Bastille Day parade at the suburban Paris Villacoublay French Air Force base on Thursday July 10, 1997. | AP Photo/Remy de la Mauviniere

In recently days, the French military has found its way into the spotlight, examining its own policies toward sexual harassment. A report by a newspaper called Libération outlined several problems their military has with the issue. The Special Military School of Saint-Cyr, a military academy preparing young students for the upper echelons of the French military, was accused by several former female students of a pervasive culture of misogyny and sexism, prompting many of them to give up on their military dreams. Their complaints ultimately come to a head when the chain of command seems to remain apathetic toward the matter.

The newspaper itself is a very left-leaning one, but the story has made waves throughout the country. Florence Parly, the Minister of the Armed Forces in France, told RTL Radio that, “It is unacceptable in the 21st century that young women should be subjected to such discrimination.”