Claims of sexual assault increased at military academies, but reporting remains low

by Caitlin Kenney
Stars and Stripes

WASHINGTON — Claims of sexual assaults at U.S. military service academies have increased by nearly 50 percent since 2016, according to a survey on sexual harassment and violence released Thursday. However, the rate of cadets and midshipmen reporting the incidents has stayed the same since last year.

“I would tell you that there’s not been the change that we needed to see over time, and that’s why we’re so concerned. This is the second year where we’ve had no movement in the metrics in a way that we think is helpful for the population,” said Dr. Nate Galbreath, deputy director for the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office at the Department of Defense. He spoke to reporters Thursday at the Pentagon before the release of the report.

This year’s annual report on sexual harassment and assault at the military academies includes an anonymous scientific survey done every other year, the Service Academy Gender Relations Survey, that looks at “unwanted sexual contact and sexual harassment, factors that affect reporting and aspects of command climate.” The last one was in 2016.

Unwanted sexual contact is a “proxy term for the behaviors that constitute sexual assault under the Uniformed Code of Military Justice,” such as penetrating crimes including rape or contact crimes like aggravated sexual contact, Galbreath said.

Read more at: https://www.stripes.com/1.566773

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