Cases of Sexual Assault in US military Drop for First Time in Almost 10 Years

Fri May 17 2024
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WASHINGTON, United States: Reports of sexual assaults in US military have dropped for first time in nearly a decade, the US military reported on Thursday.

The drop in cases of sexual assault in US military ranks, a first in almost 10 years, comes on the heels of Pentagon reforms.

Occurrence fell five percent in fiscal year 2023 compared to the previous year, from 8,924 to 8,515 cases reported to the US Defence Department, which employs or supervises around 3.4 million military personnel and civilians.

The figure has been on the rise almost constantly since 2011, with only one slight decrease in 2015.

Notably, the estimated prevalence is also decreasing: 6.8 percent of soldiers and 1.3 percent of men said they had experienced “unwanted sexual contact” in the previous year, compared with 8.4 percent and 1.5 percent two years ago.

The study, which produces the numbers, carried out every two years by the survey, helps to address the underreporting of cases of sexual violence: only 25 percent of cases are reported, compared to 20 percent two years ago.

Cases of Sexual Assault in US military Drop for First Time in Almost 10 Years 1

According to this report, cases of sexual harassment are also decreasing.

Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin said in a statement that the results show the department is making progress in preventing sexual assault and harassment in the military.

“These early findings are encouraging,” he added, stressing that much more work needs to be done.

Starting in 2023, sexual violence cases in the US military will be handled by special prosecutors independent of the military hierarchy, a reform initiated by President Joe Biden.

The Independent Commission of Inquiry estimated in 2021 that 20,000 soldiers are sexually assaulted each year, fewer than 8,000 report the assault and fewer than 5,000 request an investigation, and only a small number lead to military justice action.

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