by Pam Zubeck
Col. Reni Renner, vice commandant of cadets for culture and climate at the Air Force Academy, issued this statement about the Pentagon's sexual assault report at military academies:
"Any report of sexual assault or violence is one too many. This report
shows that cadets view our Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR)
services as a valued and trusted resource; and, we are encouraged that
they are increasingly willing to come forward and seek help. We feel
our cadets are getting the message that reporting is the right thing to
do, and the data shows that. Information from the report will be useful
as we continue to review and refine our training and prevention
After a sharp decrease in sexual assaults at the Air Force Academy between the 2007-08 and 2008-09 academic years, the latest report from the Department of Defense shows a big surge in reports during the 2009-2010 year.
Twenty sexual assaults were reported, more than twice the figure reported in the previous year.
Overall, the three service academies had a total of 41 reports of sexual violence, a 64 percent increase over the previous year's report. The latest survey covered the period from June 1, 2009, through May 31, 2010.
The Department of Defense Annual Report on Sexual Harassment and Violence at the U.S. Military Service Academies, released Wednesday, reports that in the 12 months prior to the survey, 12.9 percent of women and 1.9 percent of men at all three service academies indicated experiencing unwanted sexual contact, and 56 percent of women and 12 percent of men indicated experiencing sexual harassment.
Since the Pentagon began issuing the report in 2005, the three chief academies — West Point, the Naval Academy and the Air Force Academy — have seen numbers fluctuate for sexual assault reports, which include the offenses of rape, sodomy, indecent assault and attempts to do those crimes. But the first year's figure, 42, was nearly matched in the latest report, 41.
According to the report:
Sexual assault is one of the most underreported crimes in the United States. Estimates
suggest that only a small percentage of sexual assaults in a college environment are
ever reported to the police.16 This reporting behavior is mirrored at the MSA. According
to the 2010 SAGR Survey, only about 13% of cadets and midshipmen who experience
unwanted sexual contact report the matter to a military authority. As reporting is
frequently the first step in getting assistance, the Department enacted a new policy in
2005 to encourage more victims to come forward.
While one sexual assault is too many, the overall increase in reporting behavior is
encouraging. Increasing the number of reports made by military members, improves
the ability of the Department to provide resources to victims of sexual assault and hold
perpetrators accountable for their offenses. The Department expects that yearly
increases in reporting will be an indicator of improved cadet and midshipman
confidence in the DoD’s SAPR program’s ability to respond.
The academy didn't have an immediate comment on the report, but we'll update when we hear back from them.
The Air Force Academy's history:
The other service academies' numbers, by year:
U.S. MIlitary Academy:
U.S. Naval Academy: