The Annual Report on Sexual Harassment and Violence at the United States Military Service Academies, issued by the Department of Defense late last week, revealed a 64 percent increase in sexual harassment and assaults at West Point, the Naval Academy, and the Air Force Academy in the past year. Department of Defense officials stated in a press release that the increase might be due, in part, to an increased rate of reporting, although the report reveals that only 20 percent of men and women in the armed forces who experienced unwanted sexual contact filed a report.
The Air Force Academy had an increase from eight incidents in 2008-2009 to 20 in 2009-10, a 150 percent increase. The Naval academy had an increase of three assaults this year, and West Point, an increase of one. According to the survey, 56 percent of women and 12 percent of men reported sexual harassment last year.
Dr. Kaye Whitley, Director of the Department of Defense's Sexual Assault Prevention Program, announced that a military-wide hotline will be established for victims that will enable them to seek expert advice and services.
In March 2009, the Department of Defense released a report that showed an 8 percent increase in the number of sexual assaults involving service members. Sixty-three percent of the 2,908 reported sexual assaults were rape or aggravated assault, but only eight percent of those investigated for sexual assault were referred to courts martial.
Media Resources: American Forces Press Service 12/15/10; Annual Report on Sexual Harassment and Violence at the United States Military Service Academies 12/10/10; NPR 12/15/10; Feminist Daily Newswire 3/19/09