A report from the Pentagon for 2008 showed that sexual assault reports rose over 25% last year. While this rise seems shocking, Defense Department officials state that the increase is likely due to a growth in victim reports and not in sexual assaults themselves. The increase shows that the Defense Department’s policy of encouraging victims to come forward with instances of sexual assault is working and helping to remove some of the stigma attached to reporting sexual assault in the military.
However, of the 2,763 investigations last year on cases of sexual assault, only 832 resulted in punishments for the perpetrators. We hope that the increase in reports marks a new level of awareness and concern for instances of sexual assault in the military, and the Defense Department continues to encourage victims to come forward.