Sexual Assault in the Ranks Up 4% Last Year

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The number of sexual assaults alleged by military personnel crept up slightly in 2011. The rise from 2,617 in 2010 to 2,723 represents a 4% increase. “One sexual assault in the military is one too many,” the Pentagon’s latest report on sexual assault in the ranks concludes. “While the Department has taken bold steps to prevent and respond to sexual assault, there is still much work to do.”

What bold steps? Well, perhaps the most surprising chart in the 734-page report (the report itself is 63 pages long, but there are a lot of appendices) is the one that shows how punishment for offenders is changing. It is shifting from wrist slaps – administrative actions and non-judicial punishments – to the toughest: courts-martial. Between 2007 and 2011, the number of sexual assaults rose by 22% while the number of courts martial triggered by sexual-assault cases jumped by 107%: