Department of Defense Report Indicates Sexual Assault in the Military is Sharply Rising
The Department of Defense released a report this week that shows an 8 percent increase of sexual assault involving service members from fiscal year 2007. Sixty-three percent of the 2,908 reported sexual assaults were rape or aggravated assault. The report (see PDF), also showed that 8 percent more cases were referred to trial from 2007.
The Department of Defense estimates that only about 20 percent of cases are reported. Dr. Kaye Whitley, director of the Pentagon Sexual Assault and Prevention Office, told the BBC that "Given the fear and stigma associated with the crime, sexual assault remains one of our nation's most under-reported crimes in both the military and civilian community." She also indicated that the rise in reporting could be because "The department has been aggressively pursuing efforts to increase reporting and convince more victims to seek care and support services."
Media Resources: BBC 3/18/09; US Department of Defense Report 3/17/09; US Department of Defense Press Release 3/17/09