A new Pentagon report says 26,000 service members were sexually assaulted in 2012. For context, we have rounded up some of the best journalism on sexual assault in the US armed forces
The Pentagon announced this week that a sergeant working in the military’s sexual assault prevention office had been charged with — you guessed it — sexual assault. This news came just a week after the officer in charge of the Air Force’s rape prevention program was arrested for sexual battery.
An estimated 26,000 service members were sexually assaulted in 2012, according to the latest government report. That’s up from 19,000 in 2010, despite recent claims that the military has been focusing more on prevention efforts.
Amid the growing controversy, Congress is hurrying to draft new legislation and Obama has called for stricter punishment for sexual offenders. All officers in the sexual assault prevention office will be re-screened and re-trained, the Pentagon announced. As lawmakers and military officials debate what to do next, we have rounded up some of the best journalism on sexual assault in the military.
Did we miss any? Let us know in the comments below, or tweet them to us with the hashtag #muckreads.
The Invisible War, documentary, June 2012
The academy-award nominated documentary has helped bring the military’s rape crisis to national attention. Filmmakers interviewed victims and military personnel to reveal the overwhelming obstacles to prosecuting military rape, and how inadequate efforts have been so far to curbing sexual assault.
Trauma Sets Female Veterans Adrift Back Home, New York Times, February 2013
According to the Pentagon report, 48,100 women reported military sexual trauma last year, which studies say makes them nine times more likely to suffer from PTSD. This two-part New York Times series documents the struggles facing women veterans who’ve suffered from sexual assault, including homelessness and unemployment.
The Rape of Petty Officer Blumer, Rolling Stone, February 2013
The story of one naval officer’s rape details the consequences victims face for coming forward — consequences that keep most victims from reporting sexual attacks. After telling her superiors she had been raped, Rebecca Blumer was accused of lying, sexually harassed, denied promotions and ultimately discharged.
Rape victims say military labels them 'crazy', CNN, April 2012
A CNN investigation found another way the military handles rape accusations: labeling victims as emotionally unstable. After reporting a sexual assault, multiple service members were diagnosed with a personality disorder and discharged. Their abuse allegations were ignored.
The Enemy Within, National Journal, September 2012
What is it about the military that makes sexual assault so pervasive? The National Journal digs into the policies behind the statistics, and the legal loopholes exploited by sexual predators.
Pentagon grapples with sex crimes by military recruiters, Washington Post, May 2013
Active service members aren’t the only ones vulnerable to sexual assault. A recent series of scandals across the country exposed military recruiters accused of sexually abusing young people looking to enlist.
Betrayal in the Ranks, The Denver Post, 2004
The Denver Post spoke with more than 60 victims about their battle for justice, and the psychological trauma that lasted long after their assault. Many felt the military blamed them for their rape, while shielding their attackers from punishment.
Promoters of Richa Industries are trying to take advantage of its low share price by making a preferential allotment to certain chosen entities. This will leave minority shareholders of the textile company in the lurch. Will the market regulator act?
Richa Industries has decided to issue preferential shares—nearly half its share capital—to select entities, at a lower share price. The result would be simple dilution of shareholding and lower earnings per share. However, this would also leave minority shareholders, estimated to be 2,449 in number, in the lurch. In addition, since the stock is now classified as ‘illiquid’ (thanks to SEBI’s new regulation), it would be much harder to determine its price as the company is actually doing well.
Furthermore, the entities that will be allotted shares may take advantage of the low share price. Currently, the share price of Richa Industries is Rs18 per share, way below its 2006 initial public offering (IPO) price of Rs30 per share.
According to a filing with the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE), Richa Industries has come up with a plan to issue as many as 70.99 lakh preferential equity shares. This is about 41.95% of the shares outstanding of the company and it would be allotted to 27 entities, mostly non-promoters except for Garima Gupta and Akash Gupta. Garima Gupta currently holds 45,000 shares and is proposed to hold 6.32 lakh shares, or 2.631% of the shares outstanding post preferential allotment, while Akash Gupta will hold 2.444% stake.
What does this mean for minority shareholders?
Simply put, more shares issued will lead to lower earnings per share (EPS) vis-a-vis dilution, especially when some minority shareholders may have bought it at higher share prices. EPS is nothing but the net profit divided by number of shares outstanding. It is the denominator aspect that will increase instantly.
If the preferential allotment is approved by the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), then the promoters’ holdings will come down to 53.55% from 69.07% while the stake of non-promoters, including public, will go up to 46.45% from 30.95% of the shares outstanding. At present, minority shareholders own around 18.72% of the shares outstanding.
The company’s fundamentals are sound, reporting steady increase in revenues and if somewhat inconsistent net profit. Its gross sales has increased to over Rs300 crore as of 2012 from Rs97 crore in the year after its IPO, a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 25%. Yet, at a price of Rs21, its price earnings ratio is 5.83 while book value stood is an impressive Rs51.30 per share. The fact that the book value is so much higher than the share price means the market is severely undervaluing the stock.
The prevailing low stock price is a perfect opportunity for the management to take advantage and allot shares to select persons, while leaving out minority shareholders.
Promoters, chosen entities would end up with 80% stake?
The 27 ‘chosen’ entities will get control of nearly 30% of the Richa Industries. Two of the entities from this list, Vedika Finance Pvt Ltd and Narayani Nivesh Nigam Pvt Ltd, had same signatories Vinodkumar Chaturvedi and Manoj Murarilal Pathak. For intents and purposes, if you combine promoter holdings and these 27 entities chosen by the management, the total control comes to over 80%. Thus, the minority shareholders are effectively being shunted out.
The price at which the preferential allotment will take place is not mentioned yet but, according to the company’s filing with BSE, is defined as “Rs two only higher than the per equity share ‘price arrived’ to promoter group at Re one higher than per equity share ‘price arrived’ to persons other than promoter group”. In other words, the company has submitted its price to SEBI for approval but it is not known what the price is. According to the company, the “price arrived” refers to “price calculated on the basis of valuation report carried out on relevant date i.e. 14 May 2013, as per Chapter VII of SEBI (ICDR) Regulations, 2011”. The closing price on 14 May 2013 was Rs21.5, which is lower than the IPO price of Rs30 in 2006. It is not known if this is the price at which the 27 entities will have to pay for.
According to the company’s filing with BSE, the reason for the preferential allotment is to “further strengthen the debt-equity ratio and augment the financial resources of the company”. The debt equity ratio of the company, as at 2012, stood at 2.54.
The result is not just that select people are getting a good deal, but the minority shareholders will see their returns diluted vis-a-vis lower earnings per share, especially those who had bought it earlier on the day of the IPO.
Will SEBI pay attention to this case in the interests of the minority shareholders?
The PIO sent a compliance report to the CIC, however, full information was not made available as per the obligation under Section 4 of the RTI Act. This is the 94th in a series of important judgements given by former Central Information Commissioner Shailesh Gandhi that can be used or quoted in an RTI application
The Central Information Commission (CIC), while allowing an appeal, warned the Public Information Officer (PIO) of the Directorate of Education in the Government of National Capital Territory of Delhi (GNCTD) to make available full information about students from economically weaker sections (EWS) in Delhi.
While giving this judgement on 29 April 2011, Shailesh Gandhi, the then Central Information Commissioner said, “The Commission hereby warns the PIO that in case any appeals or complaints come to it about non availability of the information, it would consider awarding compensation to the such applicants/complainants for the harassment and the loss and detriment suffered by them.”
Delhi resident Ritu Mehra, on 4 March 2010 sought information about students from economically weaker sections (EWS), from the PIO of Directorate of Education in the GNCTD under the Right to Information (RTI) Act. Here is the information she sought...
1. How many students have been admitted in public schools under EWS quota in the district, since 2005- 2009?
2. Please provide me the following information related to this:
3. According to Section 40(6), (xii) all the public authorities are mandate to publish this information on the website of the department, but there is no such information available on your website, therefore kindly provide me the following information in context to this:
i) Which officer was responsible to publish all the information on the website?
ii) This information has not been published on the website therefore what action the department is going to take against the responsible officer?
iii) By when this information would be published on the website?
Here is the reply given by the PIO...
Reply to Q1 & 2: The requisite information in respect of 20 schools of this district running into 20 CDs is available in the office of undersigned, which you may obtain on any working day during office hours by paying Rs50 per CD i.e. a total amount of Rs1,000
Reply to Q3: The information has already uploaded by the HQ on the website of the department.
Earlier also Ms Mehra had filed an RTI seeking the same info, on which the Commission on 21 December 2009 had directed the director of education department at GNCTD to ensure that all information mentioned above will be displayed in the schools in Hindi and English and also on the website of the Department before 25 January 2010.
Therefore claiming harassment, Ms Mehra filed a complaint before the Commission. In her complaint, she stated, “The PIO has not mentioned anywhere that for how many schools the information is yet to be provided. We had talked to the PIO and he himself informed us that he has compiled the information before forwarding to the headquarters, but he is providing us 20 CDs and the rest of the information for left out schools is still awaited. This shows that PIO is harassing us.”
“He (the PIO) has also informed that the information would be available on website but he himself is not sure that information is positively available on website or not,” said Ms Mehra.
She added, “I want to inform you that the ADE (Act) has informed the Commission dated 12 August 2009 that the Commission’s order has been compiled with and all the required information is available on website which is completely wrong and misleading information, because this information is not available till date on the website.”
Earlier on 2 July 2009, the Commission had passed an order directing, KS Yadav, DDE to display on the department’s website, the names and father's names of students from the EWS category for past three years for all schools, on or before 15 August 2009. The Commission, said, it received a letter from Mr Yadav stating that the Commission's order had been complied with and the required information had been uploaded on the website of the department.
During the hearing, Mr Gandhi, the then CIC, discussed the issue with the PIO the letter received on 12 August 2008 and found that the information was not uploaded fully on the education department’s website despite receiving a letter of compliance from the ADE (Act).
Mr Gandhi, then warned the PIO to provide complete information sought by RTI applicants and if the Commission finds out that about non-availability of this information, then it may consider awarding a compensation to such applicant or complainant for the harassment and the loss and detriment suffered by the applicant.
CENTRAL INFORMATION COMMISSION
Decision No. CIC/SG/C/2010/000317/12207
Complaint No. CIC/SG/C/2010/000317
Complainant : Ritu Mehra
Delhi - 110095
Respondent : JB Singh
Public Information Officer & Dy. Director
Govt. of NCT of Delhi,
Directorate of Education,
South West-B, School Campus,