Sexual Assaults Within US Military Rise Again

Both the number of reported cases and estimates on total assaults

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted May 7, 2013 5:37 PM CDT

(Newser) – The number of sexual assaults reported by members of the US military rose 6% to 3,374 last year, which is bad but apparently not even close to real scope of the problem. A Pentagon survey in which recipients could remain anonymous puts the real figure closer to 26,000, up from 19,000 in a similar survey the previous year, reports AP. The figures illustrate twin problems: The number of assaults are rising, and victims are still afraid to step forward. Asked about the problem today, an angry-sounding President Obama said he's fed up.

"I have no tolerance for this,” he said. “If we find out somebody’s engaging in this stuff, they’ve got to be held accountable, prosecuted, stripped of their positions, court-martialed, fired, dishonorably discharged—period.” Also today, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand "nearly yelled" at Air Force Secretary Michael B. Donley over the Pentagon's response to the problem, reports the New York Times. Donley had the misfortune to appear soon after news broke that the man in charge of his own unit's efforts to stem sexual assaults was himself arrested on charges of sexual assault. Gilibrand and other senators brought it up more than once.

The Senate Armed Services Committee hears from Air Force chief Michael B. Donley, right. He was grilled on the Pentagon's response to sexual assaults.
The Senate Armed Services Committee hears from Air Force chief Michael B. Donley, right. He was grilled on the Pentagon's response to sexual assaults.   (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
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