Sexual assault still problem at academies
Americans like to think that those who are selected to attend our nation's military academies — with the eventual intention of being leaders in the military services — are the among the best and brightest.
So it is disappointing to learn that sexual assaults reported at the Army, Navy and Air Force academies have increased by 23 percent this year. The number of assaults has been increasing each year — there 41 reported in 2010, 65 in 2011 and 80 this year.
It is a disgraceful state of affairs, but it may be a worse situation than even the reported assaults, since it is believed some go unreported. An anonymous survey of academy students found that 12 percent of the women said they had experienced “unwanted sexual contact” while 2 percent of males said they had the same experience.
Even higher numbers were reported for sexual harassment: 51 percent for women and 10 percent for men.
The academies are doing the yearly reports and biannual anonymous surveys as part of a more aggressive effort to crack down on those who are involved in sexual misconduct. Academy students are encouraged to report incidents of assault and harassment so those responsible can be held accountable.
Despite that encouragement, about half of those who were assaulted sought the allowed confidential medical or other care and did not file an official complaint. The unwillingness to file a complaint likely is related to a desire of the victims to avoid harm to the military careers they want, but the reality is that it allows the perpetrators to get away with the crimes and improper conduct.
It is a great disappointment that this kind of misconduct seems to flourish at the academies. A way needs to be found to get to the root of this problem and rid the academies of these people. There cannot be tolerance of sexual misconduct.