Yesterday the Department of Defense issued an annual report that showed that sexual assault in the military rose by 35% from 2010 to 2012.
The report found that 26,000 members of the military experienced “unwanted sexual contact” in 2012 when answering an anonymous survey – a rate of approximately 70 assaults a day. That number is almost 7,000 instances higher than in 2010. In addition the report found only 3,374 reports of sexual assault were filed, according to the Pentagon. Of those cases filed, fewer than one in 10 ended with a court-martial conviction of sexual assault. In the majority of cases, the alleged attacker faced small administrative punishments or the case was dismissed.
The report has garnered outrage from many political leaders. President Obama told reporters, “The bottom line is, I have no tolerance for this… If we find out somebody’s engaging in this stuff, they’ve got to be held accountable, prosecuted, stripped of their positions, court-martialed, fired, dishonorably discharged – period.” Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO), a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said in a statement “If we needed any more evidence that the military justice system needs to change to hold sexual predators accountable and protect survivors of assault, this report has provided it. These crimes are a dark stain on our armed forces that poison morale and readiness, and that must be confronted.” Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) told the Huffington Post “When our best and our brightest put on a uniform and join the United States Armed Forces, they do so with the understanding that they will sacrifice much in the name of defending our country and its people… However, it’s unconscionable to think that entertaining unwanted sexual contact from within the ranks is now part of that equation.”
The Department of Defense report comes one day after news broke that the chief of the Air Force’s branch on sexual assault prevention and response was arrested on charges of sexual battery over the weekend. According to the Arlington Police Department, Lieutenant Colonel Jeffery Krusinski groped a woman in a parking lot early Sunday morning. She fought him off when he attempted to grab her again and immediately alerted the police. An anonymous spokesperson for the Air Force confirmed that Krusinski had been dismissed from his post in response to the allegations.