Experiencing retaliation after reporting a sexual assault can be as traumatic as the assault itself. It takes courage to make a sexual assault report and to share what happened to you with others. No one deserves to experience retaliation for reporting a heinous crime, and there are legal measures in place to support and protect you if this has occurred or is still occurring.

What is Retaliation?
The term retaliation can cover a wide range of behaviors. To establish a common understanding DoD-wide, the Department of Defense developed a standardized definition of retaliation to describe the full spectrum of retaliation-related behaviors involving sexual assault and harassment in its Retaliation Prevention and Response Strategy.

It is important to remember that even if you are not sure whether what you have experienced is retaliation, help and support are still available. Sexual Assault Response Coordinators (SARCs), Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Victim Advocates (SAPR VAs), and Special Victims’ Counsel/ Victims’ Legal Counsel (SVC/VLCs) can provide you with information and education materials to familiarize you with retaliation processes and reporting procedures.

Who can formally report retaliation?
DoD’s Retaliation Prevention and Response Strategy provides guidance on retaliation related to the reporting of a sexual assault by Service members, victims and their family members, bystanders who intervened, witnesses, SARCs and SAPR VAs, and first responders.

How can I report retaliation?
There are a number of ways you can report concerns about retaliation. In addition, the recent Independent Review Commission on Sexual Assault in the Military recommended in their final report a “No Wrong Door” approach to sexual harassment, sexual assault, and domestic abuse across the Services and NGB. This ensures that service members that need assistance can get the help they need no matter where they ask for it. Although a retaliation report (DD Form 2910-2) can only be completed by a SARC or SAPR VA, all the resources listed below can provide additional assistance and support throughout the process. In addition, if you feel comfortable, you can also always connect directly with a Commander in your chain of command or outside your chain of command to discuss concerns about retaliation.

Additional resources: Service members may also refer to DoD Directive 7050.06 - Military Whistleblower Protection.

What if I feel I am in an unsafe situation?
If you feel unsafe, you can report this immediately to your SARC or SAPR VA, who will conduct a safety assessment, help you put together a safety plan, and get you immediate help. If you are in immediate danger, contact law enforcement right away.

In addition, if you are a victim of sexual assault and have filed an Unrestricted Report, you can request an Expedited Transfer to assist in your recovery and remove you from the situation, as appropriate. A SARC or SAPR VA will help you file the Expedited Transfer request with your commander.