2022 Sexual Assault Reports Hit 'Record Levels' at U.S. Military Academies

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U.S. Military Sexual Assault Reports Hit All-Time Highs for 2022

U.S. Military Sexual Assault Reports Hit All-Time Highs for 2022

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.

2022 Sexual Assault Reports Hit ‘Record Levels’ at U.S. Military Academies

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:

  • 63% of academy women at the three academies experienced some form of sexual harassment in the prior academic year.
  • 20% of academy men at the three academies experienced some form of sexual harassment in the prior academic year.

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:

  • In the 2018 school year, there were 732 sexual assault reports lodged.
  • In the 2022 school year, there were 1,136 sexual assault reports lodged.

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.”

U.S. Military Sexual Assaults Increase for Second Straight Year

U.S. Military Sexual Assaults Increase for Second Straight Year

In 2021, the U.S. military confirmed the following sexual assault statistics:

  • In the Army, reports of sexual assault increased 25.6% from fiscal year 2020 to fiscal year 2021.
  • The Navy saw an increase of 9.2% in reports of sexual assault.
  • The Air Force and the Marines each saw an increase of approximately 2%.

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:

  • Reports of sexual assault by service members during their military service
  • Reports by service members before their military service
  • Reports made by civilians or foreign nationals against service members

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:

  • Handling of sexual assault cases were to be officially removed from the military chain of command by Congress via the 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).
  • Military commanders were instructed to forward complaints of sexual harassment to independent investigators.

California Law Removes Restrictions on Military Sexual Assault Charges

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.

How to File a Military Sexual Assault Lawsuit

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.

Our Sexual Assault Justice Experts are here to help survivors secure justice. Contact our top-rated attorneys online or by phone for a free consultation today.

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.

Go See Sam