The US Department of Defense released a report on sexual misconduct on three military academies’ campuses, showing that one female student in seven reported being sexually assaulted last spring. In addition, half of the women attending the Navy, Air Force and Army academies reported being sexually harassed on campus, according to the Washington Post.
The Department of Defense is instituting a new policy that will begin in June to allow victims of sexual assault to report their attacks confidentially as a way to ensure privacy and to encourage victims to come forward and seek help. The new policy also requires that academy coordinators be informed of the assaults within 24 hours of the report and request for medical care or counseling, reports the New York Times. The undersecretary of defense, David S.C. Chu, said that “this policy change will encourage more victims of sexual assault to come forward and seek help, providing commanders with a better understanding of what’s actually happening in their commands,” reports the Washington Post.
The Defense Department conducted a survey in March and April of 2004 of 1,906 women and a sample of the 3,107 men who attend the three academies. The survey found that 262 students reported 302 incidents of sexual assault, including 94 cases of rape. It also found that only a third of those cases were reported to authorities. 176 cases of inappropriate touching and fondling were also reported.