The number of sexual assaults reported by cadets and midshipmen at the country’s military academies has risen sharply during the last school year after personal classes were allowed to resume.
During the 2020-2021 school year, the Department of Defense received 161 reports of sexual assault involving cadets and navigators identified as both victims and alleged perpetrators. According to reports, the total number of reports increased by 32 compared to the previous year The PentagonOffice of Sexual Harassment Prevention and Response.
While Department of Defense officials said the reasons for the increase in reporting were “unclear,” the COVID-19 pandemic forced leaders of West Point, the U.S. Navy and the U.S. Air Force to suspend personal training in mid-March 2020 for the rest of the semester and begin online distance learning.
“Academies must provide cadets and midshipmen with an educational experience free of sexual harassment and harassment and continue to develop future leaders who will provide a climate of dignity, respect and inclusion,” said Elizabeth Foster, Executive Director. The PentagonThis was announced on Thursday at a briefing on the annual assessment by the Office of Sustainability.
During the 2020-2021 school year, the number of complaints of sexual harassment also more than doubled – 30 reports compared to 12 in the previous year, according to authorities. Of the 161 attacks, Colorado Air Force Academy cadets reported 52 attacks, compared with 46 at West Point in New York and 33 at the U.S. Naval Academy in Maryland, according to the Associated Press.
The report notes that so-called “influencers” can have an insight into how their fellow cadets and midshipmen cope with sexual violence and harassment. Investigators noted that they help others on their campuses on a daily basis.
“But some are still reluctant to act and intervene,” said Nate Galbrith, acting director of the Office of Sexual Harassment and Response at the Department of Defense. “We need to do more to ensure that our future leaders have the resources and information to step up and take action for positive change.”
While cadets and midshipmen tend to support “norms aimed at countering sexist comments and preventing hostile language on social media, they are less likely to support healthier choices that involve alcohol or prosecuting other students by academy rules,” they said. representatives of the Ministry of Defense.
“Academies should provide students with the information and skills needed for these important but poorly supported expectations,” The Pentagon This is stated in a statement by officials.
Preventing sexual violence remains a top priority The Pentagonsaid Mrs. Foster.
“While we continue our efforts to stop such behavior in our academies, we urge survivors to speak out and make reports so we can link them to rehabilitation and relief efforts to bring offenders to justice.” she said.
The new figures come as Defense Minister Lloyd Austin and The Pentagon Leaders are fighting to curb sexual assault on all military personnel, amid escalating criticism from Capitol Hill that the military is not doing enough to prevent abuse or punish violators.