DOD Evaluates Sexual Harassment and Prevention Response Efforts at the Military Service Academies
The Department of Defense (DoD) today released key findings from the Academic Program Year (APY) 2009-2010 “Annual Report on Sexual Harassment and Violence at the United States Military Service Academies.” The report also contains the results from the “2010 Service Academy Gender Relations Survey.”
The academies saw an overall increase in the number of sexual assault reports made to authorities in APY 2009-2010. During the evaluation period, a total of 41 reports of sexual assault involved cadets and midshipmen compared to a total of 25 reports in the prior APY. This may not indicate an increase in instances of sexual assault occurring, as it could also be a result of training and education and victims’ confidence in the department’s ability to respond. All who reported a sexual assault were able to access support services through their sexual assault response coordinators.
“Sexual harassment and assault are incompatible with our core values, degrade mission readiness and reflect poorly on military culture, said Clifford L. Stanley, under secretary of defense for personnel and readiness. “The department is committed to establishing a culture free of sexual harassment and assault at the academies, and for the force in general.”
According to the survey results, the department estimates fewer than 10 percent of incidents are actually reported at the academies. Some of the common reasons cited by cadets and midshipmen for not reporting the incidents included dealing with the incident themselves, fearing gossip, feeling the incident was not important enough to report, and feeling uncomfortable making a report.
Cadets and midshipmen participated in the voluntary survey at increased rates compared to prior years. According to the survey, more than 89 percent of cadets and midshipmen understood key training concepts on how to make a report of sexual harassment or sexual assault.
As part of this year’s review, the superintendents of the U.S. Military Academy, U.S. Naval Academy and the U.S. Air Force Academy assessed their academy’s policies, training and procedures for effectiveness of prevention and response to sexual harassment and violence.
The department found that the academies have applied considerable resources to design and implement policies, programs and services to prevent and respond to sexual harassment and sexual assault.
“These programs extend well beyond activities that heighten awareness of the problem,” said Kaye Whitley, director, Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office. “Not only do the academies have a well-organized response structure, they also incorporate sexual harassment and sexual assault prevention objectives into leadership and academic curricula.”
Many of the nation’s leading experts have helped academy leadership construct their programs. This year, the department’s primary recommendation was for each academy to establish evaluative processes and metrics to assess the progress of sexual harassment and assault program initiatives.
The department’s “Annual Report on Sexual Harassment and Violence at the United States Military Academies” was mandated in the 2007 National Defense Authorization Act. The act directed DoD to evaluate the effectiveness of the sexual harassment and sexual violence related policies, trainings and procedures at the military service academies on an annual basis, as well as conduct the “Gender Relations Survey” on a bi-annual basis.
The complete report is available at http://www.sapr.mil. For academy specific information, contact the individual military services at 703-697-2564 for Army, 703-697-5342 for Navy, and 703-695-0640 for Air Force.