Nearly half the women feared retribution and being labeled a "troublemaker" if they reported their incidents. It's a wonder, considering those available to help are some of the instigators causing the problems. USA TODAY interviewed lawmakers, social scientists and people who have worked on the sexual assault issues inside the military to determine why the Pentagon hasn't been able to stem this predatory tide. All information pointed to two factors; one a new plague, the other as old as the military itself. The plague is the proliferation of violence toward women in films and video games which recruits are bringing in with them. The other, a military justice system with origins dating to the Revolutionary War that gives commanders of accused troops ultimate power over legal proceedings. American military justice evolved during the past century to closely resemble proceedings in a federal courtroom, with prosecution, penitentiary standards, witness testimony and trial by jury before a trained judge. There is one glaring exception. The decision on whether charges should be brought, who sits on the jury and whether a conviction or punishment can stand is controlled buy a high-ranking officer who is the defendant's superior. The officer is neither a lawyer or a judge, although he or she receives written advice from a military attorney. Britain, Canada and other countries have moved away from this principle of the commanding officer's authority, but it lives on in the American military's Uniform Code of Military Justice created by Congress. The military has proven that it is incapable of doing the job. Commanders reduce as many as a third of sexual abuse punishments. A commander's authority is not entirely misplaced, but it can be abused. What commander wants his record to reflect this type of abuse on his watch? Having the greatest military in the world, asking everything of them to include dying for their country, the military shouldn't be asked to subject itself to sexual assault and rape. If we allow the military to report outside the chain of command, allow that decision-making to be made by a prosecutor, not the commanding officer, justice will prevail more often. Sadly, the sexual abuse of military women is at an alarming rate. Something needs to be done now, not later. Saturday, Nov. 2, a book will be released, WOMEN UNDER FIRE: Abuse in the Military, authored by Sarah L. Blum, a decorated Vietnam surgical nurse who served with the 25th Infantry Division in 1967 at the height of the war, saving lives at the 12th Evacuation Hospital located in Cu Chi, South Vietnam. She is an advocate for military women's rights and is a practicing psychotherapist with over 28 years experience working with PTSD and trauma resolution. Go to womenunderfire.net/aboutsarah, then link onto About Sarah/ Women Underfire. Starting on Veteran's Day, Monday, Nov. 11, active duty or retired military members can walk into any U.S. Great Clips and get a free haircut or pick up a free haircut card that can be redeemed through the end of 2013. The Great Clips promotion is called "Thank a Veteran."