United States: Department of Defense Releases Service Academies' Self-Assessment on Sexual Harassment
Wednesday, February 2, 2011 9:55 PM

The United States Department of Defense has released its annual congressional report on Sexual Harassment and Violence at the U.S. Military Service Academies for the year 2009-2010. The self-assessment describes “institutionalized and evolving training programs for prevention and response to sexual harassment and assault” as well as reported incidents.

For the 2009-2010 academic year, there were 41 reports of sexual assault in US military academies including 19 unrestricted and 22 restricted reports. The 41 total reports represent a 64% increase in reports of sexual assault from the preceding academic year. The document attributes the increase to the Department’s increasing efforts to encourage victims to report assault cases.

According to the voluntary survey conducted in spring 2010, 12.9% of women and 1.9% of men indicated experiencing unwanted sexual contact, and 56% of women and 12% of men indicated experiencing sexual harassment. The official sexual harassment report notes that “these survey results suggest that the 41 reports of sexual assault at the military service academies accounted for fewer than 10% of the incidents of unwanted sexual contact that may have actually occurred.”

The report outlines Department of Defense goals to use prevention tools to reduce incidents of assault as well as to encourage victim reporting– in order to narrow the gap between survey-estimated incidents and filed reports. The Office of the Secretary of Defense Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office and the Office of Diversity Management and Equal Opportunity use the assessment to monitor the improvement of sexual harassment programs and the department’s prevention and response.

Compiled from: Women's United Nations Report Network, The Department of Defense Annual Report of Sexual Harassment and Violence at the Military Service Academies 2009-2010 (January 30, 2011).