Reported Rapes in the Military on the Rise, Prosecutions Still Low

Check out community poster ArmyVetJen’s take (who beat us to the punch) on the new statistics just released by the Pentagon showing that there has been a 9% increase in the reports of sexual assault in the military over the past year. AP reports:

The Pentagon said it received 2,923 reports of sexual assault across the military in the 12 months ending Sept. 30 2008. That’s about a 9 percent increase over the totals reported the year before, but only a fraction of the crimes presumably being committed.
Among the cases reported, only a small number went to military courts, officials acknowledged.
The Pentagon office that collects the data estimates that only 10 percent to 20 percent of sexual assaults among members of the active duty military are reported — a figure similar to estimates of reported cases in the civilian sphere.
The military statistics, required by Congress, cover rape and other assaults across the approximately 1.4 million people in uniform.

The director of the Pentagon’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response Office says that the increase in reports is likely due to more women feeling confident enough to come forward rather than attributing it to an actual increase in sexual violence. While that would be great, as Cara says, there hasn’t been any reported increase in awareness around sexual assault by the Pentagon so I’m not inclined to immediately buy that contention. (Also considering prosecutions are still low as ever.)
Reports in Iraq and Afghanistan have rose by about a quarter. You can find the report here. Feministe also has more.

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