WASHINGTON – Denunciations of sexual assault in the U.S. Armed Forces shot up 11 percent in 2014 over the previous year to 6,131, due to policies encouraging those in uniform to report such offenses, the Pentagon said Friday.
The Defense Department’s Annual Report on Sexual Assault in the Military shows a 70-percent increase in the number of accusations last year over 2012, something military authorities see as a positive step forward.
Since President Barack Obama entered the White House, the Pentagon has launched policies to prevent sexual assaults in the Armed Forces and to end the stigma that keeps soldiers from reporting them.
The document presented Friday estimates that 4.3 percent of women in the military and 0.9 percent of men have suffered some kind of “unwanted sexual contact.”
These estimates, which are statistical projections due to the fact that most cases of sexual abuse are never reported, signify a 27-percent drop compared with 2012 and a 50-percent drop from 2006.
The Pentagon also said that once the accusations are made, military authorities have sufficient proof to discipline the guilty parties in three out of every four cases.
The Pentagon considers that a low denunciation index creates a feeling of impunity and in the long run will encourage more cases of sexual abuse.
The director of the Pentagon’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office, Dr. Nathan Galbreath, acknowledged that soldiers believe they will face reprisals if they report sexual aggression, particularly among men.
Defense Secretary Ash Carter presented a press conference with another new series of initiatives to combat sexual abuse.
“We’re known as a learning organization. We strive to understand and correct our flaws. And, as we have spent more time and resources to better understand sexual assault in the ranks, we have learned many lessons,” Carter said.