Reports of Military Sex Assault Surge, But...

...male victims still aren't speaking up, Pentagon data finds
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted May 1, 2014 3:57 AM CDT
In this Jan. 29, 2014, file photo, parts of more than 1,000 summaries of sex-crime cases involving US military personnel stationed in Japan are seen.   (AP Photo/Shizuo Kambayashi)

(Newser) – The encouraging news: After a concerted effort to get more victims to come forward and report instances of sex assault, Pentagon data shows such reports by members of the military increased 50% in the last fiscal year to 5,061. And one official says there's "no indication" that the rise is due to an increase in crime, but rather represents a "growing confidence in the response systems." But there's one data point officials aren't pleased with, reports the AP—the number of male victims who are speaking up.

Per the figures obtained by the AP yesterday and due to be released today, only 14% of reports filed last year involved a male victim. The Pentagon intends to alter its approach in the coming months to focus on this more silent half, but acknowledged yesterday that the task would not be an easy one. "There is still a misperception that this is a women's issue and women's crime," said a top adviser for the Pentagon's sexual assault prevention office. But according to a 2012 survey, that's far from the case: Some 6.8% of women and 1.2% of men surveyed reported an assault; when those percentages are applied to the actual military population, they represent 12,000 women—and almost 14,000 men, making males roughly 53% of all victims. (Read more US military stories.)

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