Reports of sexual assault at U.S. military academies rose nearly 50 percent during the last school year, according to an annual report from the Defense Department.
An anonymous survey conducted by the Pentagon found 747 incidents of unwanted sexual contact across three academies during the 2017-2018 school year. That's a 47 percent increase over the 507 reported in 2015-16 school year. By the DOD's definition, unwanted sexual contact can range from unwanted touching to rape.
Of the 12,900 students enrolled, an estimated 50 percent of women and 16 percent of men had experienced sexual harassment in the past year. The deputy director of the DOD's Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office told USA Today about 16 percent of women and 2 percent of men reported being sexually assaulted.
Unfortunately, despite the rise in sexual assaults, the rate of filing formal complaints remained the same from the year prior.
The U.S. Army said in a statement it was troubled and disappointed by the report's findings, adding that this "affects our ability to prepare to fight and win our Nation's wars as much as it is an issue of values." It also said that those who don't try to stop sexual misconduct or assault "violate the Nation's trust and the trust of their peers." In response, the Army says it "directed the West Point leadership to report back with an updated action plan in the coming weeks."