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Pentagon: Reports Of Military Sexual Assaults Up 50 Percent

DVIDS

Female Marine in Afghanistan, 2011.

Reports of sexual assault in the U.S. military spiked 50 percent, according to a Pentagon survey released Thursday.

Maj. Gen. Jeffrey Snow, director of the Pentagon’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office, told The Associated Press he attributes the increase to the Defense Department's campaign urging victims to come forward:

“There is no indication that this increase in reporting constitutes an increase in crime. We assess that this unprecedented increase is consistent with a growing confidence in the response systems.”

However, USA Today reports many of the women surveyed who said they were assaulted were afraid to press charges:

Half the women who reported being assaulted in the 2013 survey said they declined to step forward out of fear that everyone would find out. Nearly half said they thought they would be labeled a troublemaker. Another 43% did not expect to be believed. At least one in five who did seek prosecution later regretted doing so.

Congresswoman Niki Tsongas, co-chair of the Military Sexual Assault Prevention Caucus, released a statement on the report that read, in part:

“We must continue to fight this battle on all fronts, from prevention to prosecution to fostering an environment where men and women can come forward without fear of retaliation or repercussion."

Pentagon officials were clear in their disappointment that more men are not coming forward after surviving a sexual assault. Numbers crunched by The Associated Press show "just 14 percent of reports filed last year involved male victims."

Nate Galbreath, the senior executive adviser for the Pentagon’s sexual assault prevention office, responded:

“There is still a misperception that this is a women’s issue and women’s crime. It’s disheartening that we have such a differential between the genders and how they are choosing to report.”

Click here to view the entire report.

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