Sexual assault reporting rates within national military academies are low and have significantly dropped, according to the Department of Defense (DOD). The DOD released results from the Academic Program Year 2007-2008 Service Academy Gender Relations Survey in December. The survey indicates that at military academies, approximately 90 percent of sexual assaults are unreported.
DOD spokeswoman Cynthia Smith commented on the survey results: “We recognize that unwanted sexual conduct is the most under-reported crime. We want these numbers to go up. We want to create environments in which cadets and mids can come forward to get the care they need,” according to the Baltimore Sun. Navy Commander Joe Carpenter of the US Naval Academy also told the Baltimore Sun that “certainly it is a challenge to eliminate sexual harassment, but we have been pretty clear that one incident is too many,” he said. At its core, the emphasis is to set “a command climate of dignity and respect.”