DoD Releases Annual Report on Sexual Harassment and Violence at the Military Service Academies
Today, the Department of Defense released its Annual Report on Sexual Harassment and Violence at the Military Service Academies for Academic Program Year (APY) 2013 - 2014, and announced five directives to further strengthen the academies' and department's prevention and response programs.
This year's report includes an anonymous survey of cadets and midshipmen conducted every two years by the Defense Manpower Data Center, as well as self-assessments conducted by each academy.
The survey indicates that cadets and midshipmen at all three academies experienced fewer sexual assaults in APY 13-14 than in APY 11-12. In 2014, 8.2 percent of academy women and 1.1 percent of academy men indicated experiencing unwanted sexual contact in the year before being surveyed, down from 12.4 percent and 2.0 percent, respectively.
"These survey results suggest that there were 200 fewer sexual assault victims in 2014 than in 2012," said Major General Jeffrey J. Snow, the director of the DoD Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Program. "Although these rates are at the lowest they've been in the decade since the department began conducting the survey, we can and should do more. Every cadet and midshipman deserves a safe place to learn - free from sexual harassment and sexual assault."
Cadet and midshipmen victims made 53 reports of sexual assault in APY 13-14, the same number filed in APY 12-13. While the number of reports was unchanged, the rate of reporting increased: one in six cadets who experienced unwanted sexual contact filed reports in APY 13-14, up from one in 10 two years ago. In addition, a greater number of cadets and midshipmen this year chose to file unrestricted reports and participate in the military justice system.
The academy's self-assessments indicate that they are in compliance with the department's policies, and are taking action on the five initiatives directed by the secretary of defense in January 2014.
While signs of progress are encouraging, the mission is far from complete.
The department announced four new initiatives from the secretary, intended to further improve sexual assault prevention and response programs at the academies: (1) establishing a forum for strategic dialogue between academies, (2) developing targeted interventions for sophomores, who experience assaults at a higher rate than other class years, (3) developing an educational program available anonymously to those coping with a history of sexual victimization, and (4) improving sexual assault reporting. Hagel also issued a fifth initiative to the department as a whole to better address social and professional retaliation associated with sexual assault reporting, especially when such behavior occurs via social media.
Representatives from the department will conduct on-site assessments this spring and summer at each of the academies for the forthcoming APY 14-15 report.
The report is available online at http://sapr.mil/public/docs/reports/MSA/APY_13-14_MSA_Report.pdf.
Fact sheet on the report is available online at http://sapr.mil/public/docs/reports/MSA/APY_13-14_MSA_Report_Fact_Sheet.pdf.
The SECDEF initiatives are available online at http://sapr.mil/public/docs/reports/MSA/APY_13-14_MSA_Report_SecDef_Initiatives.pdf.
More information about the department's sexual assault prevention efforts can be found at www.sapr.mil.
Survivors are encouraged to contact the Safe Helpline at 877-995-5247 or visit http://www.safehelpline.org/ for confidential and anonymous crisis intervention services.