Feb 15, 2019

Congress is keeping watch and the military has introduced prevention programs. Yet sexual assaults at military service academies keep rising. The leaders of those academies got an earful when they testified before a House Armed Services subcommittee on Wednesday.

“After a decade-plus of concerted efforts to address sexual harassment and assault, the problem has only gotten worse,” said Jackie Speier, the California Democrat who led the hearing of the Military Personnel subcommittee. “This isn’t a blip, a ‘me too’ bump, or some accident. It’s a clear illustration of a destructive trend and systemic problem.”

Cadets and midshipmen at the Army, Navy and Air Force academies formally reported 117 sexual assaults in the 2017-18 school year, up slightly from 112 a year earlier. The number has mostly been trending upward over the past decade.

But what really grabbed attention was a separate, anonymous survey the Pentagon has been conducting every two years at the academies.

A total of 747 students said they received unwanted sexual contact, up from 507 just two years earlier. That’s a nearly 50 percent jump, and it also indicated that many victims are choosing not to make reports.