United States: Defense Department Report Finds Increase in Sexual Assault Reports in Military
Monday, March 22, 2010 1:10 PM
An annual report from the United States Department of Defense revealed that 3230 reports of sexual assaults were filed in the US military in 2009. The annual report includes incidents where service members were either victims or assailants in its statistics, including sexual assaults occurring between service members and civilians. The number of reported incidents increased 11 percent over the previous year, with a 16 percent increase in sexual assault reports in combat areas like Iraq and Afghanistan. 87 percent of the reported assaults were assaults by males against females.
The Defense Department explained the rise in sexual assault reports as an increase in reporting and not an increase in incidents of sexual assault. Since 2004, the Defense Department has changed its approach to sexual assault cases by encouraging victims to come forward, strengthening prosecution standards, and improving access to treatment. However, some sources have argued that increased tensions in war zones are responsible for the higher numbers of sexual assaults in recent years.
Compiled from: Elisabeth Bumiller, Sex Assault Reports Rise in Military, New York Times (16 March 2010).