According to a new report released earlier this month, the Navy's efforts to combat the prevalence of sexual assault among its ranks have been moderately successful. The fiscal 2014 Annual Report on Sexual Assault in the Military revealed that while reporting on the crimes has gotten better, no progress has been made in curtailing incidents of retaliation against men who speak up.
According to the Navy Times , the head of the 21st Century Sailor Office confirmed the report, which used the 2012 and 2014 Rand military workplace studies to compare numbers. As the Navy Times details, several points were evident in the resulting statistics:
- Reporting of sex crimes has gone up 10%
- 50% of those who reported unwanted sexual contact were men
- Only 8% of servicemen were assaulted reported the crime
- Roughly 33% of servicewomen who were assaulted reported the crime
While the servicewomen reporting rate is a significant improvement from years past, another statistic is troubling to officials: 62% of servicemen who reported an assault also reported suffering retaliation. That number hasn't moved since the 2012 Rand report. "I am concerned that a high percentage of victims perceive that negative things happen to them [after reporting an assault]," Rear Adm. Rick Snyder told the press following the report's release. "We're worried about that number."
A BROADER DEFINITION OF "SEXUAL ASSAULT"
Another focus of the Navy's efforts following the report is to help servicemen redefine when an offense has occurred. Hazing is prevalent in Navy and many of the men reporting an assault noted that, often, the assault happened multiple times, with multiple perpetrators, and that alcohol was frequently involved. "The victims need to understand that what they're experiencing, although they may consider it hazing or initiation, we need to look at more broadly," Rear Adm. Rick Snyder said. "It's sexual assault if it involves sex parts."
Still, Snyder remained positive that progress was being made-- and that more efforts are being made to curtail both assault and retaliation for reporting assault. "Action is underway with getting more info about what the victims are actually experiencing," he told reporters.
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