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Reports Of Sexual Assault Increase Across U.S. Military Academies

Reported sexual assaults at U.S. military academies shot up during the 2021-22 school year, and one in five female students told an anonymous survey that they had experienced unwanted sexual contact, reports the Associated Press. A Pentagon report on reported assaults at the Army, Navy and Air Force academies shows an overall 18% jump in assaults reported by students compared with the previous year. The increase was driven largely by the Navy, which had nearly double the number of reported assaults in 2022, compared with 2021. The increases have triggered outrage on Capitol Hill and a steady stream of proposed legislation. The changes have not appeared to make a dent in the problem, although officials argue that improved treatment programs have encouraged more victims to report crimes. Some 155 students reported assaults during the school year, compared with 131 the previous year. Of those, students at the U.S. Naval Academy reported 61 — nearly double the school’s total for the previous year. Cadets at the Air Force Academy in Colorado reported 52, the same as the previous year, and those at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in New York reported 42, a slight decrease from last year’s 46.

Another 35 cases involved civilians, active-duty service members and prep school students who allegedly were assaulted by someone who was a student. All together, the total number of reported assaults with any connection to a student was 206 — about 28% higher than last year’s total of 161. According to the latest survey of academy students, 21.4% of women said they experienced unwanted sexual contact in the 2022 school year, compared with about 16% in 2018, the last year the survey was done, due to COVID-19 restrictions. For men, the rate went from 2.6% in 2018 to 4.4% in 2022. Based on the survey, attacks against women were most often by a male who was usually in the same class year and more than half the time knew them from school or other activities. Attacks on men were more often, 55% of the time, by a female who was in the same class year and knew them. Alcohol use was involved in well more than half of the cases reported in the survey, with a high of 65% at the Naval Academy.


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