Sexual Assaults on the Rise in the Military

The instances of sexual assault reported in the U.S. military rose 11 percent over the past year, according to the Department of Defense. Over 3,000 sexual-assault reports were filed involving military personnel as either the assailants or the victims over the last year. A Pentagon official said more than half of the assaults were by service members on other service members: Most cases (87 percent) were male on female and 7 percent were male on male. Combat areas, mainly Iraq and Afghanistan, saw an even higher increase of 16 percent, according to the report. The Pentagon attributed the rise to the increased tendency to report such incidents, but offered no evidence to support their claim. Since 2004, however, the Department of Defense has altered the way it deals with sexual abuse and has encouraged victims to come forward, which could explain previous increases from 2007 to 2008, for example.