US military reports 13% increase in sexual assault complaints, may hit hiring: Report

WashingtonEdited By: Vyomica BerryUpdated: Sep 01, 2022, 11:55 AM IST
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This file photo shows the Pentagon building in Washington, DC Photograph:(Reuters)

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In a confidential survey, 36,000 service members disclosed that they had experienced unwanted sexual contact

Reports of sexual assault in the US military have jumped by 13%, with a big rise in complaints from the Army and Navy last year, reports The Associated Press.

As bases began to move out of pandemic restrictions and public venues reopened, the increase was driven by significant rise in the Army and the Navy.

In a confidential survey, 36,000 service members disclosed that they had experienced unwanted sexual contact.

According to US defence and military officials, it is a dramatic increase over the roughly 20,000 who said that in a similar survey held in 2018.

Marking the largest increase since 2013, the latest numbers are certain to anger lawmakers on Capitol Hill who have been critical of the Pentagon’s efforts to get a handle on sexual crimes and misconduct.

While the overall increase is largely fueled by a nearly 26 per cent jump in reports involving Army soldiers, the Navy and the Air Force reported a 9 per cent and 2 per cent rise each.

Experts had predicted that the US will miss its target for recruitment by at least 10,000 at the end of September.

If parents believe their youth are at risk of assaults, they certainly could have an impact on recruitment.

But an increase in assaults nearly every year since 2006 is a demotivating factor, especially, when the Pentagon and the military services have long struggled to come up with programmes to prevent them.

After two years of relatively small increases in reports filed by or involving service members, the double-digit overall increase will impact recruiting by anywhere from 18 per cent to 25 per cent.

A woman’s chance of being sexually assaulted in the military was about the same as a woman in the general population, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

(With inputs from agencies)

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