Mar 13, 2023
Reports of sexual assault at three of the nation’s military academies reached the highest level on record in 2022, according to a press release from the Pentagon. The number of sexual assault complaints through the last school year represents a dubious record since the Defense Department began tracking the issue in 2006, a report from The Hill confirmed.
“Sexual assault allegations at the Navy, Air Force and Military academies for the 2021-2022 school year jumped to 206 reports, an increase of 45 reports from the 2020-2021 academic year, which had been the highest prior to this year’s report,” The Hill said.
The following 2022 U.S. military sexual assault statistics were confirmed via an anonymous survey:
The report further found increases in all types of unwanted sexual contact at the three various schools, including touching and rape.
In total, the three academies enroll more than 12,000 students.
“It cites alcohol as a key factor,” local KTLA said, with 60% of all unwanted sexual contact incidents estimated to be driven by alcohol use. Moreover, the report labeled drinking as “a potential area of concern across the Academies.”
According to The Hill, those figures are up considerably from the 2017-2018 school year when 50% of academy women and 16% of academy men reportedly experienced unwanted sexual contact:
During a Friday press conference, Beth Foster, executive director of the Defense Force Resiliency Office, said the increase was “extremely disappointing” and a sign that sexual assault and harassment was getting worse, The Hill reported.
“There’s really no other way to see it,” Foster said. “Our cadets and midshipmen are future military leaders and should be able to learn and grow in an environment free of sexual assault and harassment.”
“The increase was driven largely by the Navy, which had nearly double the number of reported assaults in 2022, compared with 2021. It’s unclear whether the phasing out of COVID-19-related restrictions contributed to the increase, including at the U.S. Naval Academy, which is directly adjacent to bars in downtown Annapolis, Maryland,” KTLA reported.
“The results are, simply put, extremely disappointing,” Vice Admiral Sean Buck, superintendent of the Naval Academy, said. “The current situation is unacceptable and we must improve our culture.”
KTLA also noted that “military services and the academies have struggled for years to combat sexual assault and harassment, with myriad prevention, education and treatment programs.”
“But despite reams of research, and expanded programs, the numbers continue to grow.”
Overall, the military received 8,866 reports of sexual assault in fiscal year 2021, according to data from the annual report. The previous year, the military received 7,916 reports of sexual assault.
The total number includes:
The fiscal year covered in the report was from October 1, 2020 to September 30, 2021, and the rates of increase are comparing fiscal year 2020 statistics to fiscal year 2021 statistics.
Following the release of the 2021 report, Department of Defense Office of Force Resiliency Executive Director Elizabeth Foster called combating sexual assault is a “top priority.”
“The results are a tragic reminder of the challenges we face and the absolute need for continued leadership engagement, historic reforms that remain underway, and a focus on the latest in prevention so we can achieve the foundational change we need,” Foster said.
At the time, the Defense Department suggested specific changes to be implemented in an effort to reduce the number of sexual assault incidents within the military:
California Senate Bill 352 (SB 352) was passed in September 2021, effectively making sexual harassment a crime for the first time under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. SB 352 removes limitations on sexual assault or harassment charges while serving in the military under California law.
Prior to the passage of SB 352, sexual assault or harassment could not be prosecuted – either criminally or civilly – within the U.S. Military.
However, under SB 352, sexual assault and harassment are now considered stand-alone offenses. SB 352 effectively removes any question over whether sexual assault or harassment are punishable within California’s military ranks.
Survivors of military sexual assault who wish to report a crime or file a civil claim may contact a member of Dordulian Law Group’s (DLG) Sex Crimes Division today at 866-GO-SEE-SAM for a free, confidential, and no obligation consultation.
DLG was founded by former sex crimes prosecutor and Deputy District Attorney for Los Angeles County, Sam Dordulian. Dordulian also serves on the National Leadership Council of RAINN (the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) and has assembled a dedicated team to of professionals help survivors of sexual assault obtain justice.
When you’re ready to report a military sex crime on your own terms, we’re here to listen, to believe you, and to fight for maximum financial compensation on your behalf.
Our law firm in Glendale, CA advocates for victims of sexual assault, injury, employment disputes, and personal injury concerns.