While the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements have burst into the forefront of America’s consciousness, the issue of sexual assault in the armed services has flown (relatively) under the radar. According to a new report by the Associated Press, however, that might be changing soon.
Per the AP’s report, the number of sexual assaults reported at the United States Military Academy at West Point doubled during the previous school year:
It’s the fourth year in a row that sexual assault reports increased at the school in West Point, New York. There were 50 cases in the school year that ended last summer, compared with 26 made during the 2015-2016 school year. By comparison, the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, and the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado, saw only slight increases.
Both West Point and Defense Department officials claimed the increase in the number of reported cases meant that victims were now more encouraged to come forward. Even so, the AP notes the numbers might actually reflect an increase in the actual number of assaults — especially since the Naval Academy and the Air Force Academy each saw notable increases in reported cases.
An anonymous survey released in 2017 found that 12 percent of women, and close to 2 percent of men, enrolled in one of the three service academies had experienced “unwanted sexual contact.” The sexual assault reporting center at West Point responded by relocating and installing a private entrance, as it was previously housed in a public building where students facing discipline were sent. The Pentagon now believes this may have lead to more reports.
(Via Associated Press)