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Pentagon survey: More than 70 military sexual assaults occur per day

By Stephen C. Webster
Tuesday, May 7, 2013 11:08 EDT
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Photo Credit: David Kamm, NSRDEC Photographer, US Army
 
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Survey data to be released this Tuesday by the Pentagon will explain that every day, more than 70 sexual assaults are carried out against members of the U.S. military, with more than 26,000 in 2012 alone.

Word of the report’s shocking details came by way of Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI), who broke the news during a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Monday, according to The Associated Press. The report also comes a day after the sexual assault prevention officer for the U.S. Air Force was arrested for allegedly sexually assaulting a complete stranger amid a drunken stupor.

Additional data from the 2012 survey, sent in advance to USA Today, adds that only 3,374 members of the military actually reported assaults, while just 3,000 pressed charges.

The 2012 Sexual Assault Prevention and Response survey represents a dramatic increase over 2010′s survey results, when just 3,230 sexual assault claims were filed and 19,300 said they believed they were victimized. The 2010 survey (PDF) also found that 71 percent of women and 85 percent of men did not report incidents of sexual assault the year prior, meaning the massive jump seen in 2012 could be due to increased reporting instead of an increase in sexual assaults.

However, it’s also possible that there were far more than 70 sexual assaults per day in 2012. The Pentagon estimated in 2011 that about 86 percent of sexual assaults went unreported.

“The Pentagon is responsible for failing to effectively govern its personnel,” advocacy group Protect Our Defenders said in an advisory. “The problems are so long standing and pervasive that, at a minimum, it constitutes gross negligence on the part of the leadership and actually reflects, albeit informal, countenancing of a culture of violent abuse. The reporting, investigation and adjudication of sexual assault must be taken out of the chain of command.”

Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
 
 
 
 
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