Eight Percent Increase in Reported Sexual Assaults in the U.S. Military in 2008
Tuesday, March 24, 2009 3:30 PM

An annual report by the Department of Defense showed an eight percent increase in the number of sexual assaults reported in the U.S. military in 2008.  The report is required by Congress and tracks sexual assaults within various categories: service members against service members, service members against civilians, and civilians against service members. 

Reported incidents range from wrongful sexual contact to rape.  According to the report, in the year ending in September 2008, over 2,900 reports of sexual assault across the 1.4 million active military members were recorded, and over half of those cases involved rape.  The Report indicated a 25 percent increase in reports within combat zones, including 22 cases in Afghanistan and 143 in Iraq

It is unclear if the findings of this Report mean that sex crimes in the U.S. Military are increasing or just being reported more frequently.  There was an eight percent increase in 2008 from 2007 in military commanders referring 38 percent of cases to trial.  However, the Department of Defense’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office acknowledges that the majority of the victims are women and many are reluctant to report sexual misconduct.  Officials recognize that rape is one of the most undocumented crimes in the military with at least 80 percent of rapes going unreported.   

The full Department of Defense FY08 Report on Sexual Assault in the Military can be viewed at:


Compiled from:  Voice of America, VOA News.com, “Reports of Sexual Assaults in U.S. Military Increased in 2008”, March 19, 2009United States Department of Defense Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office; and The Women’s Media Center.